July & August 2018

“Don’t panic! Don’t panic!”

Dear Friends,

One of my all time favourite TV sitcoms is Dad’s Army, celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this summer, and is being honoured with a set of commemorative stamps from Royal Mail. Each one of the eight stamps features a key character, along with their famous catchphrase (such as the one above).

Dad’s Army was first aired on television on 31 July 1968, and the series ran until 1977. The series portrayed the lighter side of World War Two of a Home Guard platoon, which was formed in 1940 to defend Britain from Nazi invasion.

Many of the actors in Dad’s Army had actually seen active service. Take for example, Arnold Ridley who played Private Godfrey. He served in the Somerset Light Infantry in World War One, and was seriously injured on the Somme. When the Second World War broke out, he joined the British Expeditionary Force and saw action in France. So much for his character of a weak-bladdered English gent, with the catchphrase, “Do you think I might be excused?”

Likewise, Clive Dunn, who played Lance Corporal Jones, an ultra- keen war hardened veteran who had seen service in a number of military campaigns since 1884. In real life Dunn spent four years in a Prisoner of War Camp during World War Two, and never liked talking about his wartime experience.

At these uncertain times, as we ponder what the future holds . . . Brexit . . . plastic in our oceans . . . fuel prices . . . the state of English cricket . . . GDPR . . . examination results . . . what will we do when our Vicar leaves?.. . it’s nice to know that God gave us the gift of humour and laughter to see things through.

When all we hear is “We’re doomed. Doomed!”then all we can do is say our prayers, and – in the words of a wartime saying that appears on my red sermon prop bag in church – “Keep Calm and Carry On!”

Your fellow Dad’s Army fan,

Father Richard