TocH’s Origin in Military Chaplaincy
In 1915, two Army (Anglican) Padres – Neville Talbot and Philip “Tubby” Clayton – opened a rest house for soldiers at Poperinge, Belgium. This house was called Talbot House in memory of Padre Talbot’s younger brother Gilbert who had died in battle at Ypres, aged 23. Throughout The Great War many soldiers rested at Talbot House and visited it’s chapel upstairs. After hostilities ceased, the TocH spirit was so strong that it became an international movement with Four Points of the TocH Compass set out.
- Friendship (“to love widely”)
- Service (“to build bravely”)
3 Fair-mindedness (“to think fairly”)
4 The Kingdom of God (“to witness humbly”)
In the 1920s, Christ Church Cathedral in Newcastle built a chapel as a memorial to the sons of this Diocese who were buried in foreign lands in Europe, the Warriors’ Chapel. Connections between our Diocese and TocH were so strong back then that Bp Neville Talbot was invited to become our Bishop, but he declined. There are many TocH military treasures in the Chapel including the silver Forster TocH lamp and a wooden rushlight that was made and used in Changi prisoner of war camp.
Our Cathedral is the Spiritual Home of TocH in Australia.
Every year a chain of services, known as the World Chain of Light, is held around the world honouring the work of TocH. In this centenary year, our Cathedral will be the venue for the Australian service at 7pm on Saturday 12th December in the Warriors’ Chapel and everyone is invited to this service. Afterwards refreshments will be served in the Meeting Room. TocH members are coming from interstate.
The Very Rev’d Stephen Williams
Dean of Newcastle