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news banner the Revd Stuart Turner CF with 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment in 2016The Revd Stuart Turner CF, Army Chaplain to the Defence School of Communications and Information Systems at Blandford Garrison, reflects on the centenary of the death of the Revd Theodore Bayley Hardy VC DSO MC, who died of wounds in France on 18 October 1918, less than a month before the armistice.

He says: ‘Although the Revd Theodore Bayley Hardy VC DSO MC became one of the most highly-decorated non-combatants of the Great War, this former school master was described by one of his pupils as, “the last person you would expect to win a VC”.  In 1914, Hardy was a quiet, unassuming 51-year-old vicar from the Cumbrian fells.  He applied to serve as a chaplain but was rejected several times due to his considerable age.  Hardy was eventually accepted into service after the war took its toll on the younger generation of chaplains, especially during the slaughter of the Battle of the Somme.  

Read more: Honouring a First World War army chaplain hero on Remembrance Sunday

news banner David and MartinEach remembering a grandfather­ who fought in, and survived, the 1916 battle of the Somme on opposing sides, friends the Revd David Pickering, Moderator of the United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland and Pfarrer Martin Henninger, Minister of the Lutherkirche in Frankenthal, travelled to the Somme together and then wrote jointly to a future generation:

‘To our grandchildren in Britain and Germany, and wherever they may live:

‘Five years ago, we discovered that both our grandfathers fought in the battle of the Somme. David’s grandfather had left him a box with name-tag, horseshoe and German war biscuits. Martin’s had left an account of his time as a soldier and a box of letters to his wife. Interestingly, these men had the same Christian names: Frederick and Friedrich.

Read more: Remembrance 100: A letter to our grandchildren