D-DAY DEDICATION SERVICE Printed order for the Eve of Battle Dedication Service 1944 of the Second Army prior to D-Day, Second Army Headquarters, Portsmouth, 4 June 1944
Lot 200
D-DAY DEDICATION SERVICE
Printed order for the Eve of Battle Dedication Service 1944 of the Second Army prior to D-Day, Second Army Headquarters, Portsmouth, 4 June 1944
Sold for £500 (US$ 776) inc. premium

Lot Details
Papers of General Sir Miles Dempsey, GBE, KCB, DSO, MC
D-DAY DEDICATION SERVICE
Printed order for the Eve of Battle Dedication Service 1944 of the Second Army prior to D-Day, comprising the opening hymn, the 'Approach to Dedication', 'The Prayer of Sir Francis Drake', hymn, lesson, prayer, 'The Call' and response: 'Chaplain. "To Second Army there has been given a glorious part in a great task. To relieve the oppressed, to restore freedom in Europe, and to bring peace to the world... As we stand upon the threshold of the greatest adventure in our history, let us now offer to Almighty God all our powers, of body, mind and spirit, so that our great endeavour may be thoroughly finished./ To this end, will you undertake the heavy responsibility that such a task places upon each of you, and with God's help carry it through. giving of your best, until Victory is won and Peace is assured?"/ (Then shall all say in a clear and audible voice) "I will, the Lord being my helper."/ Then shall all kneel and silence shall be kept for a space while each makes his own personal dedication of service to God and to the high cause of liberation of mankind'; followed by the blessing ('Go forth then into action with a stout heart...') and National Anthem, the text seemingly cyclostyled and stapled within stiff paper wrappers, the upper cover printed in blue and displaying the cross-within-shield of the Second Army and the sword within printed in silver, a few traces of ink-staining on wrappers, 8vo, Second Army Headquarters, Portsmouth, 4 June 1944

Footnotes

  • 'THE HIGH CAUSE OF LIBERATION OF MANKIND' – THE KNIGHT'S VIGIL HELD ON THE EVE OF D-DAY: 'On the evening of 4 June 1944, the congregation at Christ Church, Portsdown, was unusually large... As [the officiating priests] entered the church, the congregation stood, led by the tall, imposing figure of their general in the front pew. Lieutenant General Miles Christopher Dempsey had arranged this service for the officers and men of Headquarters Second Army on the eve of the planned date for the largest combined military operation the world has ever seen – D-Day, the invasion of Europe... Now Dempsey, a devout Christian, called on his men, in the service known as "The Knight's Vigil", to dedicate to Almighty God the task which lay before them. Accompanied by his Chief of Staff and his Deputy, he led them in that evocative prayer which he had known thirty years before at Shrewsbury: "Teach us good Lord to serve Thee, as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to ask for rest; to labour and not ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do Thy will". With characteristic modesty, Dempsey asked that someone other than himself should read the lesson. His example during this voluntary act of dedication, before the great armada set off expressed many of the fundamentals of his personality: strong religious belief, selfless integrity, professional dedication and extraordinary humility' (Peter Rostron, The Life and Times of General Sir Miles Dempsey, 2010, p. [xi]).

    Included in the lot is the printed Order of Service for the dedication of two commemorative windows at Portsdown, unveiled by Dempsey (1948); a typescript, marked up for the printer, of an Order of Service for D-Day Remembrance; a proof of the same; and a typescript for another Remembrance Service held at Portsdown in 1966. In accordance with Dempsey's wish, a service of rededication and thanksgiving is still held at the church each year, with a special D-Day Parade Service celebrated on the Sunday nearest to 6 June. Dempsey was to die on 4 June 1969, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first Knight's Vigil.
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