15 MAY 1941, Page 5

A Canon of Westminster's experiences last Saturday, with an instructive

climax at Oxford, are worth recording. He began the night with his normal duties as air-raid warden. In the course of it he watched various historic buildings blazing, tried in vain to fight fire in his own house, and saw everything he possessed (except his car, which was elsewhere) reduced to ashes, saved Westminster Abbey by telephoning desperately to exalted quarters at 3 in the morning, when all other attempts to secure help had failed owing to the breakdown of com- munications, and subsequently went round his parish visiting the scenes of the worst disasters. At 8 o'clock, clad in a sports shirt and sodden flannel trousers, he took a celebration in the S.P.G. Chapel in Tufton Street ; still so clad he took the morn- ing service there at ii ; still so clad he set out in the afternoon by car for Reading to keep an engagement to preach near there, and fetched up before nightfall at a relative's house at Oxford. Next morning, in that prosperous and bombless city (still so clad) he set about obtaining a few necessities to start life with afresh. On going to one shop to buy a razor he was confronted by a young lady with painted nails behind the counter who, outraged apparently that anyone should suppose the unobtain- able obtainable, fixed the vagrant with a hostile eye and asked "Are you aware that there is a war on?" He had, in fact, begun to realise that dimly.

* *