Military award for MissionAssist member

5 July 2018

Volunteering is risky! You might get a job – and an award! Such was the experience of MissionAssist member Bill Newton after Squadron Leader Rev Dr Andrew Hill, Executive Director of the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association (SASRA), approached MissionAssist to ask for help with some publishing projects.

Their ambition was to have a trilogy of books about SASRA in the First World War, to be published in conjunction with the anniversary of the end of the war.

Army Scripture Reader (ASR) Bill Ransley went to France at the start of the Great War. He kept diaries of his time visiting sick and wounded soldiers in military hospitals near Boulogne. ASR Ransley took the Gospel to men who knew they were at death’s door. He did not focus on tales of courage or glory but explained how God worked in the human heart creating hope and faith.

These diaries were found in boxes of old materials at the SASRA HQ in Aldershot, Hampshire. MissionAssist member Bill Newton volunteered to worked through the diaries, producing Scripture Reading to the End, the third book of the trilogy, which relates Bill Ransley’s experiences in 1918. Another book in the trilogy tells of his work at the Somme in 1916.

During the week before Remembrance Sunday, Premier Radio featured readings from the diaries each morning. SASRA greatly appreciated MissionAssist’s help, particularly Bill Newton’s. The highest commendation they can give is from SASRA’s President, General The Lord Dannatt, who commented that “Mr Newton’s godly character, love of history, diligence and hard work have been valuable assets to SASRA”.

Read more about this story:

“SASRA in the Second World War – Eyewitness accounts from the archives” edited by Bill Newton, MissionAssist. (Published 22 January 2020)

“Operation Salvation – From Military Service to the Lord’s Service – ASR David Murray – the Autobiography” edited by Janet Baker, MissionAssist. (Published 30 April 2019)

“Scripture Reading to the End – Army Scripture Reader William F Ransley and his Gospel witness, France, 1918, edited by Bill Newton, MissionAssist. (Published 2 July 2018)

Evangelical Times articles by Bill Newton