7. Vicar’s Letter – Rev. Collins


St. Luke’s, Ramsgate

This is the third vicar’s letter reprinted in 1936. This time the vicar of 1916, Rev. G. G. Collins recalls the terrible bombing raid that led to the deaths of children on the way to Sunday school:

“Twice again, within a month, we have had merciful protection for our Parish from the modern ‘terror by night’. It is not permitted to write any particulars, but here we all know at least to thank God for answers to prayer; enough, too, to add our local airmen to the list of those whom we remember nightly on our knees.

​”A very important matter is being settled as we write. St. Lawrence College is to be removed to Chester, the Junior School to Carmarthen, and the buildings are taken over by the Canadian Red Cross Society for their wounded. We are likely to have therefore 900 or 1,000 men within the Parish. The probability is there will be a Resident Chaplain, though, I have volunteered to take over the duties…. We must pray that this God-given opportunity of useful influence may be used by us all.”

​”There is no need to add another account of the many written of The Air Raid, on Sunday March 19th. We all remember enough of the terrors of that day. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the sorrowing hearts; and we feel deeply for th​e little ones lying in our Hospital. It is a great comfort to know that progress toward recovery is as satisfactory as can be expected. We give below a list of the little ones who were killed. We must never doubt the love and wisdom of God. He knows what is best and sometime will come

​’The promised time,
When sin shall be no more;
​Oppression, lust and crime,
​Shall flee his face before.’

Funeral of Sunday School Children

​”The funeral service, held on the Thursday following the raid, was most impressive. Not only was the Church crowded to capacity, but all the way from the Church to the Cemetery was lined with crowds of silent, sympathetic people. At the service, Canon Molineux spoke a few words of comfort, and we could not but feel how true were his words when he said: ‘Creation never groaned and travailed in pain’ so much as it does today. These little ones are indeed, as the Canon so beautifully put it, ‘Martyrs in deed, though not in will.’ At the funeral service and the memorial services on the Sunday following, Mrs. Mary Whiting’s beautiful and appropriate hymn, written for the occasion was sung.”

The names follow:
​Herbert James Gibbons, aged 9 years
James Saxby, aged 4 years
Gladys Evelyn Saxby, aged 6 years
​Francis Hardwick, aged 7 years
​Ernest Robert Philpott, aged 12 years
​Mrs. Gertrude Mary Bishop, aged 23 years.

Read on: 8. The First World War, 1914-1918