Philip J Fisher
One of the first Primitive Methodist Chaplains to be appointed, Phil Fisher wrote a book, Khaki Vignettes, which was published by the Primitive Methodist pubishing house, Joseph Johnson, Holborn Hall, in 1917. It was subtitled: ‘Six Months Chaplain to the Troops in England and Fifteen Months in France’.
Sharing the life of the “boys”
It is a wry collection, delightlfully illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Fisher himself. It was written in the field in Flanders, some in the trenches, some in a tent or rough bivouac, some in a mess room, and ‘in a hut whose temperature rendered my fingers nearly insensible to the pen’. He wanted to provide glimpses of a padre’s experience, ‘one who has tried to share the life of the “boys” as fully as he might.’
Communion on the battlefield
He makes the war seem rather jolly at times, although in writing of sharing communion on the battlefield he reflects, ‘And now the Bread – “This is My Body which is broken for you” (but which of thes young bodies must be broken alse ere this holy rite be celebrated again?).’
Cheerfulness of the lads
His intention is to keep up the spirits of those at home whose sons are away fighting. ‘If you, my chance reader, can gather from it some lively impression of the joys, the toils, the deeds and sufferings, the heroism and the amazing cheerfulness of the British lads in khaki – the lads from our Churches and congregations – your own lads, maybe – then I shall feel that this book, imperfect as it is, was worth the making.’