- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Doreen Kerfoot
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 17 March 2004
This is one of the stories collected on the 25th October 2003 at the CSV's Make a Difference Day held at BBC Manchester. The story was typed and entered on to the site by a CSV volunteer with kind permission of Doreen Kerfoot.
Doreen Kerfoot-Book of Prayers
During the First World War my uncle, Tom Essex, was given a book of prayers inscribed ‘from Mum to keep you safe’. When he went to the Somme 23,000 of his comrades were killed, they lay dying all around him, but Uncle Tom came out unscathed. He always said it was because he had the book of prayers safely in his pocket and that god was looking after him.
My father, Edward Bate was in the marines in the Second World War and the book passed to him. When my father was on his first leave he found out that all his battalion had been sent abroad. On their way the ship was torpedoed and everyone in her was sent down.
After that he was given a job as an ambulance driver and working for the fire service, it was so harrowing that he was sent home again on leave. The commanding officer asked my father to take his pals green canvas case, which had been given to all the marines with their initials on the back, home to his family as he had been killed in action.
His pal’s family owned a public house. When my father walked into the pub dressed in a Marines uniform, of the same height and size as her son, carrying his case with his initials on, the mother fainted as she thought she’d seen a ghost of her son who had recently been killed. It upset my father terribly. Now the book has been passed on to my grandson Steven Kerfoot, who is also in the army.
He knows the history of the book and the power of faith and looks after it with pride.
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