The Padre was a Hooker by Stephen A Blakey

ARRSE Rating
5.00 star(s)
"Reflections on 40 years as an Army Chaplain"

I have read and reviewed many books from most departments of the army, all warry and in places bloody, but up until now never one from the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department. And this is a very good book at that.

The book takes us from Blakey, as a young man deciding that the live as a Church of Scotland Minister is one that he wanted to follow. On top of that he felt that the army was where he wanted to take his Calling. This starts him off on a career covering 40 years which saw him serve with all Scottish infantry Regiments and the Scots Guards, deploying with The Royal Scots to Op GRANBY, and finishing off with TA service then remaining, almost as a consultant, to the Chaplain General.

This time takes Blakey from UK to Germany, Hong Kong, N Ireland and many places on exercise.

Padre.jpg
The author also gives a good background into the workings and machinations of the Army Chaplains’ Department, the fights to get the Church of Scotland recognised as an established religion, the fights to get a CofS Minister to the rank of Chaplain General, previously the purview of the Anglican Church. How the ‘odds n sods’ (any religion not Anglican) were treated by the ‘established’ church. Some petty incidents are described such as when a Church of Scotland minister finally became Chaplain General, through merit, he was denied use of the house that went with it, which was retained for the senior Anglican!

But the main part of the book is how Blakey worked with the jocks and officers of the Battalions he was posted to. How the Padre worked and what their role was – no names – no pack drill! This bit is a thoroughly good part and explains the value of a good padre to a Bn CO and the men in his unit.

The title indicates that as well as a good sense of humour, rugby was Blakey’s sport and, while forbidden to command troops as a Padre, he did Captain 1 KOSB in their very successful rugby era, lifting some serious army silverware. Continuing the ‘not allowed to command troops’ he relates the time that he was made OC Train on the Berlin Express, a task he thoroughly enjoyed but was perhaps working as a bit of an outlier to his role!

Like many who have been called to the Ministry, he questioned his faith at points and whether he was doing the correct thing. To be fair, I think we all have had doubts about our profession/job at times, but it is good to read the honesty and how he dealt with this.

For those who doubt the value of Padres, then this is the book that may help you change, or at least revisiting, your opinion. I thoroughly enjoyed this and if you have any book tokens left over from Christmas, then this would be an excellent read to look forward to.


5/5 Mr MRHs from me.

Amazon product
 
"Reflections on 40 years as an Army Chaplain"

I have read and reviewed many books from most departments of the army, all warry and in places bloody, but up until now never one from the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department. And this is a very good book at that.

The book takes us from Blakey, as a young man deciding that the live as a Church of Scotland Minister is one that he wanted to follow. On top of that he felt that the army was where he wanted to take his Calling. This starts him off on a career covering 40 years which saw him serve with all Scottish infantry Regiments and the Scots Guards, deploying with The Royal Scots to Op GRANBY, and finishing off with TA service then remaining, almost as a consultant, to the Chaplain General.

This time takes Blakey from UK to Germany, Hong Kong, N Ireland and many places on exercise.

The author also gives a good background into the workings and machinations of the Army Chaplains’ Department, the fights to get the Church of Scotland recognised as an established religion, the fights to get a CofS Minister to the rank of Chaplain General, previously the purview of the Anglican Church. How the ‘odds n sods’ (any religion not Anglican) were treated by the ‘established’ church. Some petty incidents are described such as when a Church of Scotland minister finally became Chaplain General, through merit, he was denied use of the house that went with it, which was retained for the senior Anglican!

But the main part of the book is how Blakey worked with the jocks and officers of the Battalions he was posted to. How the Padre worked and what their role was – no names – no pack drill! This bit is a thoroughly good part and explains the value of a good padre to a Bn CO and the men in his unit.

The title indicates that as well as a good sense of humour, rugby was Blakey’s sport and, while forbidden to command troops as a Padre, he did Captain 1 KOSB in their very successful rugby era, lifting some serious army silverware. Continuing the ‘not allowed to command troops’ he relates the time that he was made OC Train on the Berlin Express, a task he thoroughly enjoyed but was perhaps working as a bit of an outlier to his role!

Like many who have been called to the Ministry, he questioned his faith at points and whether he was doing the correct thing. To be fair, I think we all have had doubts about our profession/job at times, but it is good to read the honesty and how he dealt with this.

For those who doubt the value of Padres, then this is the book that may help you change, or at least revisiting, your opinion. I thoroughly enjoyed this and if you have any book tokens left over from Christmas, then this would be an excellent read to look forward to.


5/5 Mr MRHs from me.

Amazon product
Very nice chap, he officiated at my daughter’s marriage at the last ceremony in Craigiehall Kirk
 
Stephen is an absolute gem of a human being, thoughtful, caring and immensely pro-active in helping others. A man whom I am proud to have met during my service.
 
He's a good bloke - I bought a copy, found it a worthwhile read, and wholeheartedly agree with the review :) (Admission: even as the Duty Atheist, he may have pinged me for vocals during one of his impromptu Xmas services - "You can sing, stand in the middle")...

It's also worth noting that he was Padre to a Warrior BG (1RS) during Op GRANBY, and his description of being a Padre at war was fascinating.
 

Boxy

GCM
I’m going to have to get a copy, definitely an old school Padre, he was the Padre to one of the units I was posted to, a throughly good egg and an amazing piss head
 
I’m going to have to get a copy, definitely an old school Padre, he was the Padre to one of the units I was posted to, a throughly good egg and an amazing piss head
‘If you want a good run ashore, always follow the married men and the Padre.’
‘We Joined the Navy’ - John Winton.
 

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