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Viewpoint from Rev Albert Cadmore 06/06/2014 


Revd Albert Cadmore

Parish Priest at Horsey and West Somerton

as published in the Yarmouth Mercury

D-Day 6th June 1944 is a day that many readers will have etched into their memory. I was born soon after the end of the Second World War and whilst, therefore, I have no personal memories, I have visited Normandy on several occasions and paid my respects to those who gave and risked their lives in the cause of freedom

As I write, I am preparing to return to Normandy for the 70th anniversary commemorations and so will be in Normandy when this article is published
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Over the years, on a few occasions I’ve stood on the D-Day beaches, and on the promenade at Arromanches looking out to the remains of the Mulberry Harbour, and beyond, imagining the flotilla of craft bringing the liberating troops in towards the shore. I’ve stood on Pegasus Bridge, reflecting on the exploits of the special glider force, the first allied troops to land in the very early hours of the morning. Five of the six gliders landed within yards of their targets, each with twenty eight men and equipment onboard, having been released at five thousand feet

I remain in awe of the feats of those men, who, for the most part, were ordinary men doing extraordinary deeds. Recently I’ve been investigating the involvement of Forces Chaplains, or Padres, and acknowledge that in a biblical sense there is indeed no precedent for their role or title. The Royal Army Chaplains Department “RAChD” officially came into being in 1796 under the Chaplain General, the Reverend John Gamble, and since then chaplains have served alongside armed forces in peace time and conflicts. Their pastoral and spiritual support, and their Christian presence alongside armed forces, always as non-combatants, has often been considered exemplary and has readily been appreciated and valued by the men with whom they’ve served
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People often pose the question, ‘How can a God of love allow the evils of war?’ The fact that, in asking that question, the concept of freewill as an integral aspect of man’s ‘God-given’ human nature, is conveniently ignored. When ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ shows itself in conflicts and wars, then God’s presence is to be found amidst the suffering, in the guise of chaplains, who see their role as taking God’s love, peace, comfort and compassion, to those at the heart of the battle who risk their lives in the cause of fighting for justice and freedom

No accurate figure for casualties on D-Day has been agreed, although it has been widely acknowledged that between ten and twelve thousand allied troops were killed, wounded or captured, with probably more than three thousand of them being killed. In the midst of it all, God’s ambassadors, the chaplains to the armed forces, served alongside their men, and in some cases gave their lives with them

Seventy years on, let us remember those who fought for freedom, and the chaplains who served alongside them
For our tomorrow, they gave their today; we will remember them