Soldiers - Bible Society

Soldiers

Some 65 million men were mobilized across Europe during WW1. Nearly a third of them – 21 million – were wounded. Another 8.5 million were killed. And 7.7 million were taken as prisoners of war.

That means that over half of all soldiers that went to the war were killed, wounded or captured.

It was clearly vital that each man could read the Bible to search for comfort, understanding or simply a link with home. So every one of the 5.7 million British soldiers, sailors and airmen who joined up were given a copy of the New Testament with the rest of their kit. 

Soldiers' stories

Soldier’s life saved at the Somme by his Bible

Soldier’s life saved at the Somme by his Bible

The life of 21-year-old British soldier, Pte Frank Viner, was saved at the Somme by his Bible.

The man who saved others’ lives at Passchendaele

The man who saved others’ lives at Passchendaele

Cricket-loving Ronald Marchant was the youngest of four brothers from the village of Weald in Kent to sign up at the start of World War One.

Held as a prisoner of war for 4 years

Held as a prisoner of war for 4 years

Alfred Algar was a member of the Suffolk Regiment when war broke out. He was among the first to be sent to war, on 5 August 1914, the day after hostilities were announced.

German U-boat man faced questions of faith in battle

German U-boat man faced questions of faith in battle

Firing torpedoes at a French ship from his U-boat was a turning point for Christian German soldier, Martin Niemoller.

Hunger drove this boy to war

Hunger drove this boy to war

Poverty and hunger drove 16-year-old William Gooderham to war. He was one of eight children of a farm labourer in the village of Mellis in Suffolk.

Feeding the 5,000 at the front

Feeding the 5,000 at the front

It’s not surprising that Pte Wilf Kreibich’s tattered, khaki New Testament which he had with him during the whole of WW1 falls open at Matthew 14: the feeding of the 5,000.

The 15-year-old who ran away to sea

The 15-year-old who ran away to sea

Aged just 15 Edgar Ellis ran away to sea. His son, Major John Ellis (77) recalls, ‘He went down to the naval recruiting office and saw a sign saying that you had to be over 18.

‘Every day I learn more of God’s goodness’

‘Every day I learn more of God’s goodness’

On April 9 1918, 29-year-old Theo Chadburn, a miner from Sheffield, wrote to his wife Lily.

One man’s drive through the Holy Land

One man’s drive through the Holy Land

Shelton Frost, a farm labourer from Lincolnshire was ‘a visionary’ according to his granddaughters Sheila Richardson (52) and Joy Robinson (58).

WW1 Bible offers comfort after tragic death in Afghanistan

WW1 Bible offers comfort after tragic death in Afghanistan

When Pte Curtis Welsby’s friend Jamie died in Afghanistan just weeks before their battalion was to return to the UK, the 20-year-old from Manchester turned to the Bible.

Fast Facts

Soldier pictures

Bringing the Bible to life

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