The Rev R Whincup, vicar of Windhill, has been awarded the Military Cross. The rev gentleman’s splendid work at the Front as chaplain to a Territorial Battalion, has earned for him unstinted praise from both officers and men, and in their letters home our gallant defenders have testified to his attractive personality.Mr Whincup’s letters to bereaved parents have all been marked by that strong sense of sympathy which is truly characteristic of the man.DistinctionMr Whincup is just that kind of clergyman who cannot fail to win the hearts of those amongst whom he labours and his distinction has been received with immense gratification by a host of admirers.Although one of the most zealous and hard-working of chaplains, the vicar of Windhill is just that modest kind of person who on being told of the honour which has been conferred upon him would observe: “I simply did my duty and if I could have done more I should only have been too pleased to do it.”Shipley Times & Express 5 January 1917Rev Richard Whincup, chaplain of the Bradford Territorials and Vicar of Windhill, was decorated by the King with the Military Cross at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.Shipley Times & Express 17 April 1917
Rev Richard Whincup awarded the Military Cross
In his monthly newsletter to his parishioners, the Rev Whincup included some thoughts on his award:We are having very seasonable weather here, very similar to that we got last year about this time.The countryside is beautiful, clothed in all its snowy whiteness. The frost is keen and though it is a trying time for many of our soldiers out here, yet the dry, crisp air and the hard ground are far more acceptable than the damp and the thick mud of last autumn.During the winter days the trenches seem to be a little quieter than usual. Extreme cold and deep snow are scarcely the best tonics for the fighting spirit either on one side or the other.Whizz-bangBut the old trench dangers are there all the same – the sudden, unexpected whizz-bang, the demoralising and destructive trench mortar, the whistling bullet
and the various other objectionable creations which have an awkward way of flying about the place in a most objectionable manner.The officers and men continue to be very cheerful though naturally there is a great desire that the whole terrible business may be finished as soon as possible, together with a glorious victory for Britain and her allies.It is very kind of so many of you to send me your congratulations on the honour which has been conferred upon me. Really at times I think that this Military Cross of mine seems to have caused far more pleasure to many other people than it has to myself.
Of course I am very glad to have got it and the news certainly came as a great surprise to me. I have felt somewhat reticent about putting up the ribbon in the face of so many officers and men who have gone through so much and who are no doubt more deserving of such a decoration than I am, and yet they have been so kind and generous in their congratulations.I consider that I am very fortunate indeed for there are so many who heartily deserve honours and yet somehow do not seem to come under the eye of the authorities.It is our opportunity to realise afresh that in this struggle spiritual forces must be brought into play.
Mr Asquith himself declared that this is not only a war between material forces but also between spiritual forces; and it is of the utmost importance that the nation’s grasp on the great spiritual verities should be well maintained at such a time as this.RevelationIt is no light duty which has fallen to the lot of the clergy at home during these critical days and for my own part, I thoroughly believe that the vast majority of our clergy in big parishes such as Windhill, working single-handed and under many difficulties, are doing war work sufficient without any further tax upon their energiesIt might be a revelation to some people to know the long hours that some of these men have to work with all sorts of parochial responsibilities resting upon their shoulders.Shipley Times & Express, 9 February 1917