7th/9th (Highlanders) Battalion The Royal Scots
(The Royal Regiment)

Eve of  Battle:  November  1944

by the Rev. James S. Wood
Battalion Chaplain


       That night a group of lads, a score maybe,
       Came shyly to me with a strange request,
       Or was it strange?  Well acting for the rest
       “Padre” their spokesman said “Think you that we
       might of the sacrament partake tonight?”
       Could I refuse?  So there by candlelight
       In a darkened cellar – not an upper room –
       We shared communion in the shadowdy gloom
       The broken bread was passed from hand to hand
       The outpoured wine served in the common cup,
       Was drunk in silence by that little band.

       And when at last they each did eat and sup
       All silently and thoughtfully they went away
       Knowing full well within that very day
       The sacramental words that I had spoken
       And this red wine “My blood is shed for you”
       Might well be said of them.   Alas!  ’Twas true
       For ten of them their useful lives did give
       I owe to their dying that I live
       Those lads I knew and loved – I see them yet
       And long as life shall last I’ll ne’er forget
       The sacramental service with the men
       Who sacrificed their lives on Walcheren.


This unforgettable little service was held very close to the enemy lines, 
Flushing, November 2, 1944.





The Rev. Dr James S. Wood, MA, DD.  Born 1908, Banffshire, Scotland; University of Aberdeen; Christ’s College, Oxford; Chaplain 1st Battalion Glasgow Highlanders, 7th/9th Highlanders Battalion The Royal Scots; Minister Church of Scotland Newtonmore 1947-53, South (now St Mark’s) Aberdeen 1953-73; honorary degree Doctor of Divinity University of Aberdeen 1973.  Published: For Heaven’s Sake (1989), The Wind on the Hills (poems).




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