Very much a âfront-lineâ priest, his descriptions provide an unusually objective view of army life, and of the job of the multitasked chaplain who was expected to undertake the roles of counselor, comforter, caterer, censor, entertainment officer and sports supreme to name but a few. The extracts selected from his letters are full of detail, humor, self deprecation and just sometimes when judged by todayâs standards, mild âpolitical incorrectnessâ! Known as âa veritable fighting parsonâ (because of his prowess in the boxing ring) he also played rugby for the RAF, was mentioned in dispatches, and was decorated for bravery.
90 years have passed before this opportunity arises to share his account of a life which the world remembers as âdreadful beyond beliefâ. Reading it demonstrates that despite the ghastliness, human qualities emerged with which we should all be proud. Pat Leonard was born in 1889 into a clergy family in Cumbria, MPG (Pat) Leonard went from being Head of School at Rossall to Oriel College, Oxford on a mathematics scholarship. After graduating and obtaining a TA Commission in the Kingâs Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, Leonard served as a curate in a Manchester parish before being accepted as Chaplain to the 8th Battalion, the Kingâs Own, from September 1915 in the battlefields of the Somme Awarded the DSO for bravery and mentioned in dispatches, he transferred to the RFC in early 1918.
After the war he was much involved in the development and growth of TocH throughout the world. Subsequently after a period as Rector of Hatfield and ten years in Glasgow as Provost of St. Maryâs Cathedral he was consecrated Bishop of Thetford in 1953.
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