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Decently habited, LXXVII

January 21, 2012

The British and American chaplains leading divine service aboard the HMS Prince of Wales in Placentia Bay on August 10, 1941, during the Atlantic Charter Conference.

On the quarterdeck.

What Churchill wrote of the morning:

On Sunday morning, August 10, Mr. Roosevelt came aboard H.M.S. Prince of Wales and, with his Staff officers and several hundred representatives of all ranks of the United States Navy and Marines, attended Divine Service on the quarterdeck.

This service was felt by us all to be a deeply moving expression of the unity of faith of our two peoples, and none who took part in it will forget the spectacle presented that sunlit morning on the crowded quarterdeck – the symbolism of the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes draped side by side on the pulpit; the American and British chaplains sharing in the reading of the prayers; the highest naval, military, and air officers of Britain and the United States grouped in one body behind the President and me; the close-packed ranks of British and American sailors, completely intermingled, sharing the same books and joining fervently together in the prayers and hymns familiar to both.

I chose the hymns myself – “For Those in Peril on the Sea” and “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” We ended with “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” which Macaulay reminds us the Ironsides had chanted as they bore John Hampden’s body to the grave.

Every word seemed to stir the heart. It was a great hour to live. Nearly half those who sang were soon to die.

The President with Churchill. Behind them stand (L-R): Admiral King, General Marshall, General Sir John Dill, Admiral Stark, Admiral Sir Dudley Pound.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 21, 2012 13:47

    Thanks for sharing and God bless you. Here is my latest post: http://scottsholar.com/2012/01/19/the-revelation-song/

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