A Wartime Memory

by Alan Vogt

I was a student at Birmingham  University during the war. If you have seen photos of the university, they usually feature the clock tower over the early buildings. This tower is nicknamed “Old Joe”, in memory of Joseph Chamberlain who was a great benefactor.

At 97, I must be one of the surviving students to go up in the lift to the top of the tower! I was a member of the Senior Training Corps which was required to guard the armoury. One evening, I had to go up the tower to see the Observation Post. It was a wonderful sight to see an aerial view of south Birmingham in the moonlight. A series of compasses recorded the positions of fires during air raids and the operator had to phone the nearest fire station. I was very thankful it was a quiet night — it must be terrifying to be up there during an air raid!

Bringing together the fire fighters and the burning building is an illustration of a principle — bringing together of a need and the source of supply to meet that need. We see it daily in our newspapers and on TV. Charities bring to our attention so many needs in our world — so much poverty, the need for clean water and so much more that pulls at our heart strings.

In the bible we have an example of this in the story of the Good Samaritan. A man has been attacked by robbers and left bleeding by the roadside. Some go by ignoring him but the Samaritan takes pity on him and heaves him onto his donkey — not an easy task and risky as the robbers may come back! He takes him to the inn and looks after him, a stranger! Jesus concludes the story saying “Go and do thou likewise!”

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