A Prisoner of War’s Bible from World War II,
left behind when he escaped in 1943 has finally been returned to his family 70 years on.
British POW Albert Douglas fled Camp 59 in Italy while on a working party under armed guard. He left behind the few possessions he had, including his treasured Bible.
Inside were the words, ‘If anyone should ever find this book will they please return to L/CDL Douglas, Belfast, Ireland, as it means more than all the world to me and is of great sentimental value’.
Albert was a devout Christian. His faith helped him through the ordeal of war as he fled across the mountains into Switzerland and eventually home.
The tiny New Testament also held a photo of Albert and wife Ellen, who were married just two years before the war. Alongside this was a verse from Joshua, ‘Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid for the Lord thy God is with thee wheresoever thou go’ – a friend’s message of encouragement to Albert.
POW Sapper George Alan Boanas, a driver from 4th Field Squadron Royal Engineers, found the Bible. He carried it from camp to camp, finally taking it home in 1945 and vowing to return it to its owner. But life and time took over.
Seventy years on, George’s daughter Maggie re-discovered the Bible. But efforts to find Albert’s family drew a blank. The Belfast house where Albert had lived had long been demolished.
Maggie sought help from Rowland Clarke, a family tree researcher. His articles in the Royal British Legion magazine and a Belfast newspaper were spotted by Irish relatives of Albert and forwarded to his son, who now lives in Buckinghamshire.
Some 70 years since their fathers served their country, Maggie Boanas and Paddy Douglas recently met to share stories and pass on the much-loved Bible. With tears in their eyes, they hugged. ‘You don’t know how much this means to me,’ Paddy said.
Maggie told Bible Society, ‘It’s right that the Bible is back. My mother is absolutely delighted. It was her and Dad’s greatest wish for it to be returned.’
Presbyterians Give Final Approval for Same-Sex Marriage
After three decades of debate over its stance on homosexuality, members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Tuesday to change the definition of marriage in the church’s constitution to include same-sex marriage.
The final approval by a majority of the church’s 171 regional bodies, known as presbyteries, enshrines a change recommended last year by the church’s General Assembly. The vote amends the church’s constitution to broaden marriage from being between “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”