Rev George Jager - army chaplain 1948-9

After Elizabeth was born, our little house at Billesley was definitely unsuitable, and I, who was ? to "Save Europe Now" because of my German ancestry, decided to accept the challenge to go to be an army chaplain so that I could help our young forces to make the best of army service.

This was a bigger challenge for Margaret, as she had to give up my company for 18 months - that was the sugar in the pill and it was made possible by the welcome that my father and sisters gave her at Hoylake. My news was hard for the Bishop of Birmingham to accept for he could not accept that I was rejecting pacifism, but it had the strong support of Robin Woods for whose suggestion I was appointed to Birmingham. Robin had completed his war service by organising Schools of Christian Leadership in Italy. I went to Germany in his greatcoat.

The special offer was made under the misapprehension that the provision of chaplains was the answer to immorality among the troops. Long ? in an army of occupation without the comfort of their own families did lead to an ? that alarmed the authorities. So to replace the temporary chaplains who were returning home to their ?parishes? this special offer was made of 10 months service as Chaplain in Germany. I was one of the replacements but it was the return of the married families that made all the difference. ??? In particular it was the Colonel's wife who made the officers behave properly, and if the officers behaved properly so would the other ranks. Before I joined the army I thought that the sending of married families overseas to rejoin their husbands was an unnecessary extravagance. When I arrived there I could see that it made sense! ???

The first fortnight in the freezing ? of Bagshot Park was spent in getting to know the army, and in particular to distinguish one rank from another - who was senior to who. With the aid...