Remembrance Sunday 2019
A lovely and respectful Remembrance Day Service took place at St Michael and All Angels Church on Sunday 10th November 2019. This was my first Remembrance Sunday at St Michael’s. This is a reflection of my experience.
I had my own stories of loved ones who had been involved in the First and Second World Wars. I anticipated remembering war heroes including my Papa – William F Jessiman who was captured in France whilst defending the D-Day Landing in June 1940. He was a Prisoner of War for 5 long years in Poland. He survived the Death March whilst so many thousands of other soldiers didn’t.
I anticipated that I would gain some more information on how St Michael’s had been involved in the Wars. There were 91 knitted poppies around the altar which represented the 91 individuals who were part of St Michael’s congregation who lost their lives during the wars.
However, there was one individual’s story which I did not anticipate would have such a spiritual effect on me. As part of the service today we remembered Wilf Stevens by recalling this gentleman’s experience during The First World War.
Wilf went to Belgium with his regiment and a number of them were cut off behind enemy lines. Wilf found himself in a foxhole with bodies all around him and over him. Once the enemy had passed, he searched and found one other survivor. His name was Bert and he wanted to surrender because they were all alone.
“No” said Wilf, “we’re not alone, we’re never alone”. We must get back to our lines and he knelt in the mud and asked Jesus for help and guidance.
They started walking. They just walked. When their energy was flagging, Wilf started singing “No, never alone” and gradually Bert joined in. They came across another man called Fred who had been injured and lost his sight. The way was hard with limited food and frequently having to take cover to avoid enemy troops.
“We just walked” said Wilf, “and we sang”.
They got back after many days of walking. “A good job we were singing” said Wilf, “or we would have been shot by our own people”.
They were told that it was an incredible journey for three men to undertake, and one of them being blind. “Three?” said Fred. “I thought we were four!” (Written by Braithie)
At St Michael’s they have sung “No, Never Alone” each Remembrance Sunday since, in memory of Wilf Stevens – a quiet man – with a faith that could move mountains.
This is a wondrous example of how our faith can enable us to pass through our darkest moments in this life and that God ensures that we are truly “Never Alone”.
Lest We Forget……….