Langholm Old Church Parish Magazine

N0.78                       Price 1/2 - with LIFE AND HOME - 6d LOCAL MAGAZINE ONLY                       OCTOBER 1967.

Minister: Revd. Tom Calvert, The Old Manse, Langholm. Tel. 256.

Session Clerk: Alexander Hutton, Savings Bank, Market Place, Langholm

Clerk to Board: Mr. E. C. Armstrong, Town Hall, Langholm , Tel. 255

Treasurer: Mr. Robert Black, 35 Eskdaill Street.

Organist: Mr. A. C. Mallinson, A.R.C.O., L.R.A.M., 72 Henry Street.

Church Officer: Mr. W Elliot, 3 Buccleuch Terrace.

Hall Caretaker: Mr Donaldson, 7 West Street.

Text for October: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”.

On Battle of Britain Remembrance Sunday, 17th September, I began my address by quoting these words, spoken by Winsiton Churchill to General lsmay as they drove back from Uxbridge to Chequers after witnessing the victory of the Battle on Sunday, 15th September, 1940.

Then I went on to tell the story of what happened after the fall of France in 1940. How Hitler prepared a campaign called “Sea Lion”, a military exercise designed to send his highly organised and equipped armies over the English Channel to our shores. The ports of Northern France and Belgium and Holland were crammed with shipping and landing craft of an amazing variety. But the first stage of the campaign was to render a crippling blow upon our air defences. For this the German High Command had over 3000 operational aircraft, while we had less than a third of that number owing to our lack or preparedness for war and our losses in the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force. At that time the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, broadcast to the nation saying, “The Battle of France is over and the Battle of Britain is about to begin; and upon this battle will depend the survival of Christian civilisation. Hitler knows he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe will again be free, and the world will move forward to the broad sunlit uplands. So let us brace ourselves so that if this nation should last another thousand years, men will still say this was their finest hour”.

The air attacks began on 10th July against the channel coast towns, channel shipping and South Coast airfields, and continued until the end of August, switching at one point to the Tyneside. Then at the end of August began an allout effort to destroy the R.A.F., bombing our airfields around London and aircraft factories whenever they could be located. Many of the airfields were rendered unusable for a long time to come. For the next two weeks this attack contained without pause and by 15th September our Fighter Command strength had been seriously drained. In the past two weeks we had lost 103 pilots killed, 128 seriously wounded and over 500 Hurricane and Spitfire fighter aircraft destroyed either in combat or upon the ground.

Winston Churchill in his book “Their Finest Hour”, tells how on Sunday, 15th September along with his Chief Lieutenant, General Ismay he motored down from Chequers to Uxbridge, Headquarters of Fighter Command, and was taken by Air Vice Marshall Park down into the underground operations room some fifty feet below ground. Almost immediately a warning was given of a massive attack beginning. German formations were traced coming in in flights of 40, 50, 60 and sometimes 80, bombers accompanied by fighters. Within minutes every available British aircraft was in the air, and in spite of the vast superiority of the enemy, inflicted tremendous damage upon the invaders. In the midst of the battle Mr. Churchill noticed that Air Vice Marshall Park was looking very anxious, and asked him, what reserves have we? and the reply was none. It was a grim moment. Our planes which had so far survived needed to land for recharging and refuelling but to land without air cover was to invite the enemy to destroy them on the ground. And then for some reason which will possibly never be known the German High Command called off the attack and their planes began to return home. And this was not because the Germans had no more planes to throw in but some act of God. This enabled our planes to land, refuel and recharge and for overstrained pilots to be replaced. And that very night our Bomber Command struck a shattering blow at the German invasion shipping in the harbours of Calais, Dunkirk and Antwerp, doing so much damage that Hitler decided to postpone the attack “Sea Lion” until the following year, and when 1941 came our R.A.F. was so much stronger that he decided to postpone “Sea Lion” another year, by which time he was engaged in an all out war with Russia and the invasion of Britain was forgotten.

People of our nation and of the free world need still to remember what the many owe to the few.

People living in this country during the last war knew very well that the Battle of Britain victory had warded off an invasion that would have been a final disaster for our nation and people. From German documents captured at the end of the war it became clearly known what would have happened under Nazi rule and domination. One thing was the transportation of our younger men between the ages of 17 and 45 as forced labour on the continent. And the children of our schools were to be indoctrinated as has happened in other occupied countries, so that the time would come when they would be young Nazi converts willing to spy upon and betray their own parents. Our industry was to be geared to support Hitler’s fighting forces in the advance of his rule East and West and South. And of course Britain at that time stood alone, was not even supported by the United States except in the sale of armaments which had to be paid for in dollars. Had we gone under then it is certain that France would have remained for a generation to come a German occupied country, and President De Gaulle who Was at that time our protected guest would not today be struttiing about the world hurling insults at Britain. The whole free world, including China which was ultimately to be delivered from Japanese rule, owes a debt to the men and women who fought in the Battle of Britain, and every year our people should commemorate that victory of 1940. Lord Ismay tells in his Memoirs how along with the Prime Minister he one day watched the battle in the air, and adds “It was impossible to look at these young men, who might within a matter of minutes be fighting and dying to save us, without mingled emotions of wonder, gratitude, and humility”. And then Lord Ismay goes on to tell how on the evening of 15th September, 1940. "As the evening closed in, and the fighting died down, we left by car for Chequers. Churchill’s first words were: “Don’t speak to me; I have never been so moved”. After about five minutes he leaned forward and said, “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few”.

And our debt is not only to the brave who fought that battle but to the over ruling hand of God who brought us through.

Recall the words of the Psalm 124 “If that the Lord had not our cause maintained, If that the Lord had not our right sustained, When cruel men against us furiously rose up in wrath to make of us their prey; Then certainly they had devoured us all”.

Something happened on 15th September, 1940 that. led the German High Command to call off the attack, something never explained which I like to call an act of God. Something like this has happened again and again in history when superior forces have been defeated not only by brave and few defenders but by unseen forces. This happened when Napoleon invaded Russia and suffered such a shattering defeat in his retreat. It was not Russian soldiers that inflicted his worst losses but a severe and early winter of blinding snow and bitter cold. Somehow in the end of the day God takes a hand in bringing down evil powers, like the destruction of the Spanish Armada in the 16th century, the mightiest fleet that ever sailed from the ports of Spain was destroyed. not so much by the exploits of Drake and Howard. but Nature. A terrible storm blew up and hurled the great ships, many of them to destruction upon the rocks. And so the victory was celebrated by striking a medal upon which was inscribed, “God blew with His winds and they were scattered”. There was an element of this in the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, weather conditions were perfect. And in the Battle of Britain some miscalculation on the part of the German High Command came to our aid.
And if we accept this point, that providence had a hand in saving our nation in 1940 and the subsequent war, it must follow that there is some good purpose for our narion yet to fulfil.

Accepting the reasoning of this point, it is easy to argue that God saved our nation in 1940, that it might become the instrument in His hands for the overthrow of an evil power that was threatening to bring back the dark ages to the world, which was even then suffocating millions of Iews in gas chambers, and which had plans to brainwash the youth of the world. All this Britain did, became an instrument in the hands of God for the deliverance of the world from the growing power of Nazi gangsters, and in time gathered around her strong allies including Russia for the fulfilment of God’s good purposes.

But this kind of reasoning raises another question, why was our country saved and used in this way? Or as Bishop Victor Pike of Sherborne once put it to me, when he was Deputy Chaplain General of Middle East Land Forces. In a conversation we once had in Benghazi he told of how he landed with many friends on the Anzio beachhead, and many of them had been killed and he remained. Why spared? he said. And he believed it was that there is still some work God has for him to fulfil. People often have their lives given back to them, whether through the skill of some surgeon or by the skill of some coach driver or pilot of a plane in which we have travelled, and we should realise we are living on borrowed time which we have no right to fritter away in wasteful or purposeless living. When we realise that our lives have been preserved it is a challenge to make them count for something.


Dear Fellow Member,

As one grows older we cannot avoid. feeling a sense of regret at the passing of another summer. On the other hand autumn presents itself in a district like ours as the loveliest of all the seasons. And after autumn we begin to look forward to Christmas. We live a wonderful life always having something to look forward to.

Harvest Festival

We have had to fix the harvest thanksgiving for Sunday, 8th October, much earlier than intended. The following Sunday is the Langholm holiday weekend when many of our Sunday School teachers and children will be away, and the following Sunday, 22nd is a weekend when the Minister and five Elders are booked to attend a two day course at Carberry Tower. And of course the last Sunday of the month is Communion Sunday. The weather outlook does not promise that the harvest will be gathered in by Sunday, 8th October, but it will be an opportunity to thank God for the yield of the soil and for all good gifts around us which are sent from heaven above. The Bible harvest thanksgiving was not when all was safely gathered in, but to offer the first fruits unto the Lord, as we read in Exodus 22. 29 and Deuteronomy 26. 2. The idea of harvest thanksgiving when the last sheaf had been housed was an English idea introduced by the publication of Dean Alford’s great hymn, “Come ye thankful people come, Raise the song of harvest home: All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin”. It is a happy day for the farmer in a climate like ours. I have been closely connected with farming all my life and from my memory I would say there have been few years when it was possible to sing “all is safely gathered in” whether the harvest thanksgiving was held early or late.

The Sunday School children will attend the Morning Harvest Thankgiving Service, and bring their gifts which will be received during the singing of the first hymn. The Lessons will be read by the children and a hymn will be sung by the Primary, and one by the whole Sunday School. The parents who have babies with names on the Cradle Roll are invited to attend at 11.45 a.m. and to enter by the Minister’s Vestry when the Cradle Roll ceremony will follow.

We invite gifts for the decoration of the church on this occasion, and the church will be open during Saturday morning to receive gifts. The gifts will be distributed among the aged, the sick and hospitals. As there are three weddings in the church on the Saturday afternoon, I am asking the Guild members to arrive from 3 p.m. onwards for the church decoration, which they always do so well.

The Evening Harvest Service will also be the Guild Dedication Service when the Erskine Guild will join with us.

Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and Admission of First Communicants

On Sunday, 29th October the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated at 11 a.m. and a second Table for those unable to attend the Morning Service at 3 p.m. First Communicants will confirm their baptism vows at the commencement of the Morning Service. There will be a Communion Thanksgiving Service at 6 p.m.

Classes for First Communicants are held in the Vestry immediately after the Evening Service every Sunday up to Communion, with the exception of Sunday, 22nd October when I am away. Young people are invited to come forward to Church membership, and any who cannot attend Sunday evening classes should let me know and I will arrange private instruction I will be glad to have names of newcomers to the parish who wish to join by transfer certificate.

The Kirk Session will meet on Friday 27th at 7.30 p.m. to receive duties at Communion and prepare the church, and again on Sunday, 29th at 10.30 a.m.

I am glad to visit homes where people are unable to attend the Communion Service in church and celebrate the Sacrament in their homes, and will do this during the week following Communion.

Visit of Hawick Citadel Corps Salvation Army

On Sunday evening, 22nd October the Service wili be conducted by the Hawick Salvation Army members with Band. Special music and song will be rendered and an address given by Capt. Albert Atkinson.I hope we will have a large attendance for what I am sure will be an inspiring Service.

Remembrance Day Service

On Sunday, 12th November the Langholm Branch or the British Legion will attend the annual Remembrance Day Service in our Church. The Provost and members of the Town Council, and uniformed organisations are being invited. This, as in previous years,lwill be a United Service of all the Langholm Churches. The Service will commence at 10.45 am, to enable us to observe the Two Minutes Silence in church, and will be preceded by a short wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial at 10.15 a.m.

Good Wishes to new Langholm Minister

Since my last newsletter the Rev. Dr. Harry Escott has been inducted minister of Langholm Congregational Church, and in the name of the Old Parish I express best wishes and prayers for a fruitful and happy ministry in Langholm, and in these good wishes I include the name of Mrs. Escott. Harry Escott is an old friend. We met in Edinburgh University many years ago in student days and I have happy memories of our friendship then. The Langholm Congregational Church is indeed fortunate in calling a minister with wide experience and sympathies.

Sympathy with the Bereaved

Robert Johnstone, Kernigal, Walter Street, passed away in the Cumberland Infirmary on 8th September at the age of 67. He was one of the most regular worshippers of our Old Parish congregation. We had missed him for the past two months of his illness when he was most of the time with relatives at Craigshaws and Logan Mains. On his retirement from Civil Service Mr. and Mrs. Johnstone came to Langholm, and showed a keen interest in the Church and the service of the community. Then the day after the October Communion in 1961, when both had been at Communion and looking in perfect health, Mrs. Elizabeth Mary Johnstone passed suddenly away. It was a hard blow for Robert as they were one of the most devoted couples I have met and were looking forward to happy days of retirement. Since then he has rarely been absent from his pew on a Sunday and always had an encouraging word for the minister. He appreciated and enjoyed listening to sermons. He has helped me more than I can say in the social work of Langholm. In my, interests on Old Poeple’s Welfare and the Earl Haig Fund Relief Committee, Robert Johnstone, has used his ifaragain and again helping me to get people to Hospitals and Limbless Homes as far away as Crieff and Erskine Hospital in Renfrewshire, and taking a regular turn in delivering Meals on Wheels. He was a man of delightful character and disposition and is sadly missed by his many friends. Our sincere sympathy with his brother and relatives.

Miss Helen Whitfield, 6 John Street, passed away suddenly on 16th September, so suddenly because she had been out watching the Mini Fete fancy dress parade in the afternoon of that day. She was 74 and passed away on her birthday. Our sympathy in bereavement with her sister and relatives.

With warm regards and greetings to all our people.

Yours sincerely,

TOM CALVERT, Minister.


Collections for September, 1967

F.W.O £85 15 9

Ordinary £21 9 3


The Guild Dedication Service is the Evening Service on Sunday, 8th October.

The Guild commences the new session on Tuesday, 10th October which takes the form of the annual business meeting, followed by a film, slides and entertainment by members of the Sunday School.

The Guild holds the second meeting on Tuesday, 24th October when we will hold a special collection of old spectacles for sending to missionary hospitals. Films on Orkney will be shown by Mr. Wood.

Guild syllabus for the new session available from Mrs. Wood, Guild Secretary.


The Boys‘ Brigade has commenced a new session, meeting on Friday evenings. Junior Brigade of boys 9 to 12 years at 6 pm. and B.B. Company 12 years upwards at 7.30 p.m.


Meetings: Wednesday, 4th October, 7.30 p.m.Talk by Dr, Smith;

Tuesday, 17th October, 7 p.m. Jumble Sale;

Wednesday, 1st November, 3 p.m. Floral Art, Mrs. Harkness.


October 8, Harvest Thanksgiving Services. 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Morning Service led by Sunday School. Evening Service attended by Guilds of Old Parish and Erskine for Dedication Service. Flowers, Miss Ina Irving, 20 Henry Street.

October 15, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. W. Smith, 28 Caroline Street.

October 22, 11a.m. and 6 p.m. Flowers, Mrs. A. F Smith, 44 High Street. Evening Service led by Hawick Salvation Army Band.

October 29, 11 a.m. Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and Admission of First Communicants. 3 p.m. Second Table. 6 p.m. Communion Thanksgiving. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. M. Morrison, 16 Henry Street.

November 5, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rev. Tom Calvert. Flowers, Mrs. A. Smith, Charles Street New.


September l7, Stuart, son of and Mrs. Allen McGinley, Caroline Street.

September 17, John Kerr, son of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Borthwick, Buccleuch Square.

September 17, Francis Ann, daughter of Police Constable and Mrs Bruce, Police Station, Langholm.


September 2, Richard Howe, 43 Hazeldene, Carlisle, to Margaret Irving, Hagg Old School, Canonbie.

September 5, Frank Thornton Steele, Glenesk, Canonbie, to Jean Janet Glover Little, 8 Galaside.

September 9, Stuart Smith, 10 Rosevale Street, to Doreen Victoria Hope Musialowski, 15 Holmwood Crescent.

September 30, Stewart Watson Ferguson, 44 Bongate, Jedburgh, to Annie Isabella Pattinson, 64 Henry Street.


September 8, Robert Johnstone, Kernigal, Walter Street. Age 67.

September 16, Helen Whitfield, 6 John Street. Age 74.

“Jesus said I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die". John 11. 25/26.


The Kirk Session will meet on Wednesday, 11th October at 7.30 p.m.

The Congregational Board will meet on Wednesday, 11th October at 8.30 p.m. in the church.

LOST in Church, four weeks ago, Black Walking Stick Umbrella. Anyone having taken it by mistake please inform Miss Brenda Morrison.