The Guardsman By Guardsman George Venables
Edited by Jamie Campbell
Publisher: DayOne (2019)
Note that the following book was supplied to the editor by SASRA for review.
The Guardsman is an autobiography of the active service of Guardsman George Venables, a Signaller in the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards between May 1915 and January 1919. Of what interest is that to you and me?
Well, ‘Venables’ (he always refers to himself in the third person) was a Christian who laboured, served, and fought through some of the worst of the horrors of what we now know as World War I. His story charts the impact that his faith had on his time in the trenches and on those around him and we see a fascinating picture of the life of faith surrounded by the chaos and violence of the most bloody conflict, from the glorious bond of Christian love with other serving brothers in the midst of terrible destruction and death to church services conducted as shells exploded only a few yards away.
Coming from a deeply religious home, attending the Plymouth Brethren meet- ing room, the Grammar School student who turned eighteen at the outbreak of war was thrown into the thick of the action following the example of his older brother. Wherever his orders took him, in training in England or in action in Northern France, through Belgium, and later in Germany, Venables’ consistent living Christian faith shines through the mud, fog, and smoke of the battlefields.
It is a challenging read, and I’ve no shame is saying that it brought a tear to my eye once or twice to read first hand of the sudden and violent death and destruction which surrounded these men. When we come to that moment of remembrance this year, I’ll remember George Venables and those like him, living examples of faith under fire.
Just read by Rob Childs