Our Soldier Boys

Published by The Garland Collection on

ABOVE: This photo illustrated the column penned by Canon Garland (transcribed below) which appeared in the 1 September 1915 issue of the Church of England (Anglican) monthly newspaper, “The Church Chronicle” (page 176). The caption read: “Marquee first erected at Enoggera Main Camp, now transferred to and re-erected at Fraser’s Paddock”.

For Church and Empire.

‘Nothing is too good
for our Soldiers.’

The last month has seen great developments.

We now have marquees erected at Fraser’s Paddock Camp, at the Rifle Range Camp, at Chermside Camp, and a large tent at the permanent Army Service Corps Camp.

This last being a small camp was completely overlooked by everybody as well as by ourselves. It is something that the Church of England was able to be the first to make provision for these men.

All these marquees and their furniture have been paid for, so we are not in debt. I am beginning, however, to get anxious about money, the last month showing a falling off in contributions.

I expected this would happen and as yet the position is perfectly solvent. Our staff has to be paid and the running expenses kept up.

The provision for lighting – the cost of carbide – is a heavy item in itself. Then there is the Prayer Book fund which makes a great demand.

During the last month our Prayer Book supply became exhausted, so great was the demand for the owing to men going away and new men coming into the camp. We now given them to men not only going away but we use them also at our services.

At Fraser’s Camp we have 1,000 men at Church parade, all using the Church of England Prayer Books. The same thing is happening at the other camps and consequently a great stock of these has to be kept in hand. 5,000 Prayer Books have now arrived and are being prepared for distribution to men going away.

Their cost is the only debt I have incurred and it has to be met. The rough cost will be about £230.

Church of England people should be glad to think that for their soldiers going away this provision is being made and should welcome the opportunity of contributing.

Returned soldiers who have spoken to me have been pathetic in their complaints that they had no Prayer Books given to them.

My word may be taken that the men appreciate them – I could write pages proving this – and use them, which is more than some of us do, from Monday to Saturday.

Now I come to what I want to say in great seriousness. The times are financially hard but nothing to what they are going to be. How are we going to meet claims upon us for such work?

These are claims which it is imperative shall be met unless the Church of England is to fail in her duty.

My opinion is that we should give up spending money on amusements. There are a number of Church of England women in Brisbane belonging to our Soldiers’ Help Society who have resolved to spend no money in entertainment or amusements, in order that they shall have something to give for our work.

The Cathedral teas on Sunday evenings, so much appreciated by our soldiers, are paid chiefly from that source.

Once a year the Church of England people for the six weeks of Lent abstain more or less from amusements. Should we not look on this War as God’s call to us to keep a long Lenten season in which we should pray more, deny ourselves more. The love of pleasure has eaten into our community, and we Church of England people are as guilty as others.

That love of pleasure undoubtedly is blinding us to the danger to the Empire.

Our first step in repentance should be its abandonment, at any rate until the War is over, but the money saved should not be used for our own benefit; it should be given to relieve the present distress, and no better way can be found than maintaining our work amongst our soldier boys.

I thin the time has come for us to set an example by giving up entirely social amusements for the raising of Church funds, and to rely on straight-out giving.

I have to be careful not to add to the burden of the Clergy by asking for Parochial Organisations to help our work, but there are individuals who could well undertake this duty of raising funds for us on the understanding it is not to divert funds from ordinary Church purposes.

Any who would be willing to take a collecting card will earn my gratitude if they ask me for one, but still more will they have the knowledge that they are helping men to turn to God and the Church as they have turned before.

This was shown by the response to the splendid Mission held by the Rev. S. Watkin in the old base Camp at Enoggera. One evening when he had been preaching for an hour, and said it was time he ceased, the men said, “We want more,” and that us typical of their attitude towards services as well as our social work.

We should cease to exist as a Church should we fail to give a response to this instinctive hungering for religion in men who know they are facing death.

We want a fourth marquee for a new camp which is now being opened; the military authorities are anxious we should have everything ready before the men arrive. Is there any one person who would send me £100 for this marquee to enable it to be erected and completely furnished at once?

Money and letters should be addressed to me at Box 47, Brisbane; but gifts in kind should be sent to me at St. Luke’s Mission, Charlotte Street, Brisbane.

David J. Garland
Lieutenant-Colonel, Resident Chaplain.