On 29th October I heard the story of KENNETH WADD, as told by his son Martin. As a Conscientious Objector to military service, in 1939, he faced a tribunal in Leicester Castle. On the basis of his Christian faith he was given a conditional exemption, which meant him working for an electrical company on a reduced salary. His family in later war years invited German POWs for meals and even kept in touch with some after the war.
His story brought back my own memories of Remembrance Day.
In 1974 I became Vicar of St Peter’s Church Leicester, and was glad to discover a German Congregation in our Church on Sunday afternoons.
The majority of them were former POWs or members of their families who had chosen to remain in the UK.
In respect of this, we made Remembrance Sunday a joint event, with former British and German servicemen laying the wreath together.
Then, in 1997, I went to St Stephen’s Shepherds Bush, whose spire had to be removed after German bombing. There we initiated a twinning with Heiligensee parish in Berlin and had several very happy exchanges of members.
My last Sunday before retirement was on Remembrance Sunday 2004. As the service began, Pfarrer Ulf Zastrow of Heiligensee arrived unannounced. This joy was enhanced by the embodiment of reconciliation by a former child of atheist East Germany who became a Christian while Germany was reuniting.