“The house that love built”

Anyone studying the Great War will often ask how and why the men stood it and how they could possibly survive such an horrendous time and live in a shattered landscape.

The extract below is from the chapter “The house that love built” in “Plain tales from Flanders” by P. B. Clayton (Longman, Staff & Co., 1929). To be more accurate, The Reverend Philip Thomas Byard Clayton, usually known as ‘Tubby’. Serving as an army chaplain, Clayton was a driving force behind the establishment of the famous “Talbot House” everyman’s club in Poperinge in 1915 and its flowering into the worldwide Toc H charity. Tens of thousands of British soldiers visited Talbot House to rest, relax, read, or pray in its upper floor chapel.

I know of no greater single description of the motivations, morale and inclinations of the British soldier serving in Flanders. Certainly, they are seen through the lens of a man of faith who was not a front-line soldier himself, but Clayton met and indeed helped so many, I take his word for it.

I commend it to you for reading in detail.

“… it was love for you, and sheer doggedness … that made him hold on”.
“Do not, therefore, picture him as a grief-stricken and lonely figure …”


A soldier’s life

Long, Long Trail guide to Poperinge

Long, Long Trail guide ‘On the way to Wipers!”