– PROVIDENCE AND T.W.MOUNTAIN – LEST WE FORGET
He has now finished his thesis for his 2nd masters degree in Theology, but Bob Creelman is more excited about running a men’s group at the Shalom Centre, the Aged Care Facility where I am the Chaplain. He has been in Israel recently and now my Geologist/Theologian friend was having lunch with me telling me about being in Beersheba and the history about Remembrance Day. Bob loves history, especially the history of war.
The discussion includes the Australian Light Horse Brigade who served at the Battle of Beersheba and how they made their famous cavalry charge on 31 October 1917, during the advance on Damascus. Bob told me he had found the gravestones of some of these brave men and had taken some photos. I said that I would be interested in displaying the photos as part of a PowerPoint presentation I was doing for the Remembrance Day Service (Shalom had the service on Friday 9th this year).
I notice that Douglas Mountain is sitting at the next table. I can see he is interested in our conversation when we spoke of Beersheba and the Light Horse, so I invite him over. I have already asked Douglas, a returned serviceman himself, to participate in the Remembrance Day service the next day.
Just yesterday I had a conversation with Douglas and I know Bob will be interested. Douglas is wearing an Australian Remembrance ring. When he bought it a few years ago he was encouraged to have it engraved with the name of a member of the family who had been to war. He engraved the name of his uncle, T.W.Mountain who was wounded in the charge of the Light Horse Brigade in Beersheba and died 3 days later way back in 1917. We are enthralled by the conversation.
Bob is even more excited when he rings me in the afternoon. Of the six photos he had taken when he had visited the gravestones in Beersheba, one of them included the name of T.W.Mountain, 1st Australian Light Horse, 3rd November, 1917, Age 27. It was Douglas Mountain’s uncle! How amazing is that!
At our Remembrance Day service, after Douglas Mountain reads a poem, I get him to stay at the microphone and ask him about the ring he wears, it’s inscription and the story of his uncle. He shows everyone the medals of his uncle which he is wearing alongside his own. He is completely surprised when Bob Creelman comes to the front and presents him with a beautiful remembrance booklet with the photo of his uncle’s grave and I display the picture of the gravestone on the screen. A moving moment.
Douglas comes to us after the service and tells how all through his life, he has rarely received any affirmation or encouragement for any of his achievements or the achievements of his family during times of war. Sometimes something special happens and he treasures such moments. This is one occasion he will treasure.
Just a chance conversation at a lunch table? Not at all. Bob told me later that on the day he took the photographs in Beersheba, he had a friendly debate with his Jewish friend about Providence. He will write to him about Remembrance Day and about a God moment where we had an opportunity to honour and remember a brave man who gave his life in a decisive battle during World War 1. Douglas Mountain’s gravestone reads “Greater is no man than he who lays down his life for his country.” These words echo the words of (NKJV) which says “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends.” This speaks ofwhat Christ has done for us when He died for our sins on the Cross and won the victory at another decisive battle.
- Remembrance Day to be marked across Australia (abc.net.au)
- The Lord’s Remembrance Day Prayer – Poem (pastorross1.wordpress.com)
- Remembrance Day: Who are you remembering? (cbc.ca)
F-0000000599&e=fa4951147c8be03849ebd2dc83972c77″ target=”_blank”>Remembrance Day: Who are you remembering? (cbc.ca)