‘The Half-Shilling Curate’ tells the story of the Reverend Herbert Butler Cowl and his experiences during the Great War, from the outbreak in 1914 all the way to the end of hostilities in 1919. It details the struggles that Cowl had to go through as not only a man of war but a man of God. The book also details his experiences in World War Two and the musings in the final years of his life.
A notable moment in the story of ‘The Half-Shilling Curate’ is the actions that lead him to be the first Wesleyan Army Chaplains to become a recipient of the Military Cross. Many stories like this often entail gestures of sheer bravery and selfless sacrifice and people like Sarah Reay are instrumental in preserving their memory.
For fans of the book or fans of military history, there is a chance to meet the author Sarah Reay at St. Mary’s Heritage Centre in Gateshead on Tuesday 13th March.
Reay, originally from Pembrokeshire, now lives in rural Northumberland with her husband and sons, making her an honourary northerner and a welcome addition to this magazine’s output.
Funnily enough, Reay isn’t a career novelist or writer but runs a facilities management company with her husband. The interesting thing about her link with the subject of the book is down to her familial ties with Reverand Herbert Butler Cowl, as he’s actually Sarah’s grandfather.
The press release for the event promises: “An engaging account of love, valour and faith”, which sounds promising to me.
Tickets to the event, costing a mere £3.00, are available by calling 0191 433 4699 or you can buy them online at gateshead.gov.uk/whatson where you can also find out more about the wide range of events taking place across Gateshead.