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How chaplains find peace during wartime

afghan chaplain 1

A British military chaplain prepares a Remembrance Day ceremony at the British cemetery in Kabul November 11, 2009/Jerry Lampen

Dozens of chaplains from the Church of England are serving with British armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are there when soldiers seek redemption around the time of battle, and they there are, standing in the operating theatre, waiting until the surgeon can do no more.

They serve the needs of soldiers sent to war, and they also serve God.

While they adminster balm on the battlefield, their peers preach peace from the pulpit. Which is the more important for the CoE at a time of war?

A recruitment advert for the Royal Air Force in a Christian publication recently said it needed chaplains “to take the church to where it’s needed most” – moving with troops and air-crew, providing support on the front line and at the altar back at base.

Is Britain paying too high a price in Afghanistan?


The death toll among British troops in Afghanistan is rising fast.  The soldier who died on Tuesday was the seventh to die in the last week and the 176th since the war began.

Last Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe became the highest ranking British soldier to die in the conflict in Afghanistan when he was killed in Helmand. British commanders are quoted as saying things are going to get worse before they get better.

Is the government being unfair to Gurkhas?


Nepalese Gurkhas have a long and justifiably proud history of serving alongside Britain – Gurkha units fought with the East India Company in India as early as 1817. Over the years, the Gurkhas have developed a reputation for tenacity, bravery and dogged loyalty to their adopted army.

But when it comes to giving something back once they have finished their military service, Britain has something of a mixed track-record on the Gurkhas and has even been accused of disloyalty.

Women on the frontline


bag01dcrop.jpgShould women be allowed to fight on the frontline? Is it time for complete equality in the armed forces? Is society ready for the idea of female soldiers routinely fighting and dying in combat?

The death of Sergeant Sarah Bryant, the first female British soldier to be killed in Afghanistan, has reignited the long-running debate over women’s role in modern warfare.

Who’s worth more: a squaddie or a traffic warden?


dannatt.jpgGeneral Sir Richard Dannatt says men and women in the armed services deserve above- inflation pay rises.

He argues that at the moment an individual soldier gets paid less than a traffic warden, and a failure to address this state of affairs would affect motivation.

A special day for the armed forces?


rtx4zmo-soldier.jpgShould Britain follow the lead of other countries and hold an annual Armed Forces Day?

The recommendation comes in a report commissioned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Recruiting for the army in schools?


army1.jpgA motion at the National Union of Teachers annual conference wants a campaign to stop all military “recruitment” in schools. It says the Ministry of Defence is luring youngsters, often from deprived areas, into the armed forces.

Last year, Scotland’s biggest teaching union, the EIS, also voted to call for such a ban, claiming the military was trying to boost its falling numbers — caused by the unpopularity of the Iraq and Afghan campaigns — by targeting impressionable teenagers