A First War British Pair to Reverend Leonard T. Strong
A First War British Pair to Reverend Leonard T. Strong - British War Medal (REV. L.T. STRONG.); and Victory Medal (REV. L.T. STRONG.). Naming is officially impressed. Court-mounted, original ribbons, silver tarnished on the BWM, fine. Accompanied by a Christian Chaplain's Cap Badge (brass, 29.2 mm x 41 mm) and a duotang folder containing a 95 mm x 142 mm photograph signed on the matting "Leonard T. Strong" and dated "1925", a letter dated "January 18, 1951" signed by Strong, three church anniversary brochures, extensive research papers and correspondence. Footnote: The Reverend Leonard Thomas Strong was born in June 1872 and was a very devout man. He attended Lichfield College from 1895 to 1897, ordained a Deacon of the Church of England in 1897 and a Priest in 1898. He was Curate of St. Paul at Burton Upon Trent from 1897 to 1900 and from 1901 to 1905, which was briefly interrupted by a stint in the same position at Worfield from 1900 to 1901. His ministries were remembered by a painting dedicated to him in his first church, Church of St. Paul at Burton Upon Trent, England. The painting was donated by Adelbert Anson, "Bishop", the Anson family being related to the Queen, of which the Earl of Lichfield is her cousin. Adelbert Anson used the title "Bishop" instead of "Bishop of ...." as he was divorced and retired from active ministry. Strong is also listed in the one hundredth anniversary brochure published by the church in 1974 confirming his posting there. He was with the Order of St. John the Evangelist at Cowley in Oxford from 1905 until he joined the Army during the Great War. His official designation with the Army was Temporary Chaplain to the Forces, 4th Class, Church of England, which he attained on May 17, 1918 and served as such until late 1919. St. Mary's the Virgin Church in Laira, Plymouth, where he was the Priest-in-Charge after the war, houses the actual crucifix that Strong used to bless the wounded and dying soldiers in Mesopotamia, 1918-1919. In sermons, he mentioned how he placed the crucifix in the hands of these soldiers, bringing them comfort when words could not be spoken. After the war, he is documented as a licensed Preacher in the Diocese of London from 1919 to 1922, followed by Curate of Egg Buckland (St. Edwards), Devon, in charge of St. Mary the Virgin, Laira from 1922 to 1932. It was while he was at Laira that he married Lillian Hayward in 1923 when he was 51 years old and they were to have no children. He was Priest-in-Charge of St. Mary the Virgin from 1932 to 1947 in the Diocese of Exeter. Lillian had died by the time Strong retired at the age of 75 in 1947. At this point, he returned to the Order of St. John the Evangelist at Cowley where he was re-instated and it was while he was at Cowley that he became well-known throughout England as a Missioner. He was either plagued by arthritis or rheumatism, then senility, later hospitalized and passing away at the age of 87, on November 5, 1959 at Warneford Hospital, Headington, Oxfordshire and buried there. He had a sister in Canada, who visited him in 1958, a year before he died, with the medals eventually ending up in her hands after his passing. When the sister passed on, it is suspected that the medals made their way into her grandchildren's hands "to play with" and were found in an abandoned barn in Southern Ontario. When the medals were found, it was suspected that they belonged to a CEF chaplain, but upon further research, their true original recipient was determined to be this British chaplain. He is mentioned in a 1923 edition of Crockford's Clerical Directory, a directory on English ministers, documenting his life to that point, the extract of which is on page one of the duotang. It is interesting to note that his nephew was Andrew C. Irvine, who with George Leigh Mallory, "climbed into the mists high on the mountains, never to be seen again." on the 1924 Everest Expedition, losing their lives in the process.