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L Cpl George William Conder, 6th West Yorks Regiment wrote to his sister Kathleen Mary Conder,  dated 29/8/15, about meeting Rev Whincup Yesterday morning (Sat) a clergyman came up our lines wished us all good morning whom I guessed rightly to be Rev Whincup; later it was announced that a communion service would be held at 11.30 in the Dressing Station on the Canal Bank so I went. It was a strange scene the first I have attended since coming here. Jayes fluid The Dressing Station was once an estaminet but now is devoid of furniture except a few chairs, stretchers and such like with a few mirrors. No glass in the windows and no doors. The general opinion was that the room, the service was held in, was cleaner than it had been since the civilians left it. It certainly smelt of Jayes fluid which had been freely spattered on the stone floor. A table at the far end had been covered with a white cloth and the
vessels were neatly arranged on it. About 50 were there including three officers. Rev W addressed a few words to us before the service saying how pleased he was to be with us etc and asking us to be sure to let him know if there was anything he could do for any of us. He also asked whether we preferred to have the service standing or kneeling as the floor was a bit sloppy in places and finally left it optional. I may say no one stood. We have knelt in worse places than a stone floor with disinfectant on (but he is new to this life). It was a quiet impressive service. Some of the Commandments could hardly be taken literally especially about Sundays and covetousness and other things but we all responded heartily. Rice paper wafers inscribed IHS were used rather to the embarrassment of one of the few
1st who had never seen the like and did not know if it were a keepsake or not until Rev W had to tell them they were intended to be eaten at once. This may sound jocular but isn’t intended to be a skit. I was serious enough at the time. After the service was over I stayed behind to try and get a word with Rev W and was pleased I did as he was very nice. When I told him my name, at once knew who I was. Said there was a facial resemblance to you and said both he and Mrs W thought very highly of your useful work in their parish and etc. I am afraid he will have many disappointments during his army career as a very small percentage can bring themselves to a state of mind necessary for Communion except RC of course who never
miss a chance of Mass! I told him my view on Compulsory Church parades when you are herded with men who ridicule the whole thing and make one’s blood boil. Have had to retire to the safety trench while the artillery of both sides have their usual Sunday morning hate. It’s funny how spiteful Sundays seem to be there is generally an (you will notice how low my stock of notepaper has got) attack or bombardment on Sundays.  L Cpl Conder was killed on 11 October 1915. This is an extract from his last letter to his mother, dated four days before Dear Mother “It is certainly not my turn yet. So your prayers are answered so far. We are quite callous now about death: one has to be.” “Have not seen the Rev. Mr. Whincup for a month, but hear he was in the trenches the other day. He always stops and has a word when we meet.”
“I am afraid he will have many disappointments during his army career as a very small percentage can bring themselves to a state of mind necessary for Communion except RC of course who never miss a chance of Mass!”
We have knelt in worse places than a stone floor
Researched and transcribed by Rev Cat Thatcher, Bradford Cathedral from Private Papers of G W Conder at Imperial War Museum