A Soldier’s Prayer

Soldier's PrayerIsn’t it sad that the things that people treasure most become meaningless after they die? Souvenirs and personal reminders that lose their potency without the person.

You come across them a lot at church thrift shops that ‘inherit’ them for sale when members of the congregation pass away. I have various items that I have ‘liberated’, including a whole collection of postcards from a European tour in the 1920s and a set of bowls (crown green, not ten-pin).

Usually, all you can do is speculate as to who the owners were and why the items meant something to them, but sometimes the web can cast some light on prior lives.

Mrs P came across two small books this week, one a service prayer and service book and a pocket New Testament to commemorate the coronation in June 1953.

On the inside cover of the former was pasted the prayer that I’ve scanned above, while the opposite page identified the owner, ‘LAC H Hartley, RAF Cosford 1943’.

And at the bottom of that page, in a child’s hand, it says: ‘This book belongs to Angela Hartley’.

The souvenir of the coronation was also presented to Angela by her Sunday school and also gave her address.

Mrs P shares my sadness when items like this turn up among the bric-a-brac and jumble and wondered whether we could find out more about the owners.

This we were able to do, thanks to the web and a little delving at the local studies library so that we have the skeleton of the lives of Angela and Harold, when and where they were born and died and who they married. I even have a newspaper cutting from Angela’s wedding.

But really what we would like to do is reunite them with someone that they might mean something to and I have tracked down someone who has the two in their family tree on Ancestry.com.

So I’ve left a message to see if they will be of interest. Hopefully they will.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

4 comments… Add yours
  • Roger Green 20th November 2011

    This is why I was attracted to that suitcase project, I suppose.

  • Yorkshire Pudding 21st November 2011

    I hope you haven’t literally interfered with the skeletons of the lives of Angela and Harold as such a crime is still considered sacrilege in this country!…. But I do know what you mean about such vestiges of lives no longer lived. It’s as if someone just walked out of the door and didn’t come back. Tragic.

  • Francisca 23rd November 2011

    An astute observation, about treasured belongings becoming meaningless. My mother left her father’s pocket watch to my youngest brother, and since he felt no connection to his grandfather (whom he’d never met), he sold it. I admit that rattled me.

  • Mary 6th September 2014

    A Soldiers Prayer is pasted inside a copy of The Soldier’s Bible given to my father by my grandfather in 1917. The inscription reads “From Dad, France Oct. 20th 1917” A prayer as relevant today as it was 100 years ago. To be used at a memorial service for all those who served in WW1 later this year.


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