HC Deb 01 August 1962 vol 664 cc569-71
22. Mr. Driberg

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what religious service took place on the occasion of the commissioning at Lossiemouth of a naval aircraft designed for the delivery of hydrogen-bombs; to which denomination the chaplain who conducted this service belongs; if he will circulate in HANSARD the text of the form of service used; and by what authority this form of service was used on this occasion.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the commissioning ceremony of 801 Squadron at R.N. Air Station, Lossiemouth, which included a short religious service. The chaplains of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland took part, and no special authority was required. I am circulating the text of the service in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Driberg

While thanking the Civil Lord for that reply, may I ask him whether it occurred to any of those concerned that there was a certain incongruity about these proceedings?

Hon. Members: Why?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

No, I do not think that it did occur because I do not think there was any incongruity. As I said in my reply, this was in respect of the personnel of the squadron and I think that it is right to ask God's help for all those who play a gallant and dedicated part in deterring aggression and keeping the peace of this country.

Mr. Driberg

If this was confined to asking God's help for the personnel, most of us would agree, but if it was asking God's help for the ultimate object of projecting hydrogen bombs on a defenceless civil population, was there not a certain incongruity?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

As I made clear, this was directed to the personnel.

Following is the information:


After the playing of the National Anthem the Ship's Chaplain shall begin the Service with these words: —

BRETHEN, in the course of our duty we are set in the midst of many and great dangers, and we are gathered here today, at the beginning of this new enterprise to ask in all humility for the blessing of Almighty God upon this Squadron, and to seek His gracious and ready protection upon us who are called to serve in it. Let us therefore now join in asking far these things.


In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit we humbly ask to bless this Squadron here assembled. May He watch over your going out and coming in; may He keep you from all evil and mischief and preserve you throughout all dangers to body and soul, so that in the end through all the changes and chances of this mortal life, you may come through His love and mercy to His eternal and everlasting kingdom. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Church of Scotland and Free Church Chaplain shall then say the following prayers of Dedication: —

In the name of GOD who Creates, Redeems and Strengthens, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

We Dedicate this Squadron

To the service of the Queen in the fellowship of the Royal Navy;

To the protection of her Realm and Commonwealth;

To the preservation of Peace throughout the World.

Let us pray:

O LORD GOD, when Thou givest to Thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory, through Him that for the finishing of Thy work laid down His life, our Redeemer. Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our Father….

Here the Squadron Commanding Officer will read a short lesson.

Then shall be sung the hymn:


The Service will conclude with the Blessing said by the Chaplain.

Unto God's most gracious mercy and protection we commit you. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May He lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you peace, now and evermore. Amen.

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