Eyam - Roll of Honour, 1915

Rector's Address

Compiled and edited by Rosemary Lockie © Copyright 2004
with special thanks also to David Turner.

Christmas Day
1915

MY DEAR BROTHERS,

As I look at the portraits in this book, and read the names of those who are serving their Country from this Parish, I try to picture you all before me on Christmas Day, and myself conducting a short service of prayer and praise. Of course there would be an address, and this is what I should say:

Brothers! I am proud of you, for there is not a man here who hasn't shown that deep down in his heart there is the spirit of Him Who on this day "for us men and our salvation came down from heaven".

All that our Saviour endured, from the day He rested in the manger at Bethlehem to the day He laid down His head on the hard wood of the Cross at Calvary, was for others. There was no thought of self - His was the life of supreme self-sacrifice even unto death, and it was absolutely voluntary.

You, my brothers, are trying to follow in His steps to do the right thing and walk

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in the path of duty. You are enduring hardship and risking all, even your lives, because you feel it your duty to do so, and you are doing it voluntarily. As I think of this I feel myself unworthy to address you at all - for you are doing so much, and I seem to be doing so little; and yet I have a message for you which must be delivered.

Many of you I have presented for Confirmation, and at my hands you have received the Holy Communion.

May God help you in your many trials to be faithful to Him. That is the most important thing of all, for it embraces everything.

Courage, Endurance, Gentleness, Purity, Temperance, Goodness - these are some of the virtues which show your faithfulness to Him, and it is my earnest prayer that you may not only be known as good soldiers but as good Christian soldiers.

You will have few opportunities of Public Worship, but take my advice and begin and end every day with prayer. As often as you are conscious of sin, seek pardon through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. If in any difficulty, and not quite happy about your soul, go and speak to

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your Chaplain about it - that is what he is there for. The soul is of far greater value than the body, and it ought to require less courage to do this than to spend five minutes in the trenches; for be assured he will welcome your confidence, help you, and be a friend to you. Above all keep in close touch with God, commending yourself to Him and calling upon Him day by day. Say to yourself again and again in time of danger, "Yea! though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me"; and so go forth in His strength, and you will find at all times and in all places His "everlasting arms" supporting you.

These, my brothers, are my thoughts as I look from face to face and name to name.

God bless you and give you a Happy Christmas.

Ever your faithful friend,
FRANCIS L. SHAW.
EYAM RECTORY,
 NEAR SHEFFIELD.

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The above text, between the two short horizontal lines, is a transcription of pages 3-5 of ‘In Hoc Signo Vinces’ - Eyam Roll of Honour, 1915. See its Introduction for more details.

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