Today I was the celebrant and preacher at a Solemn Requiem Mass at St. Alban’s, Romford. It was the parade service for the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers. A full church gathered to remember with thanks those who paid the supreme sacrifice in two world wars and countless other conflicts including those have died more recently in Afghanistan. One of the Scouters read the Epistle and some of the Scouts and Cubs led the Intercessions. Father Hingley, the Vicar, was supporting the main civic service as Mayor’s Chaplain.
In my homily I related the story of Raimund Sanders Draper, a British born American who joined the RAF and was stationed at Hornchurch. On take of one day, he realised that his spitfire was going to crash and would hit the nearby school known as Suttons. He took immediate avoiding action which he knew would mean his own death but which would save the lives of the children in the school. In his honour, the school name was changed to Sanders Draper School. I reminded everybody that Jesus had said “Greater love has no man than this, that a person lays down his life for his friends” Those who had died in wars had done just that.
We kept the two minutes silence at 11.00 a.m. followed by the National Anthem. After the service I went to the hall to enjoy a very welcome cup of coffee.