ONE of the most charismatic and influential Anglican Chaplains of the 20th century, The Rev P.B. ‘Tubby’ Clayton is set to be reappraised in the centenary year of Talbot House – the ‘Haven from Hell’ he created on the infamous Western Front.
A Fool for Thy Feast. The Life and Times of Tubby Clayton, 1885-1972 will be launched this week – shedding new light on the Padre whose experiences of the Great War inspired him to establish ‘Toc H’ – a peacetime international Christian movement which remains globally influential today.
Commissioned by Helion & Company Ltd, one of the world’s largest military history book publishers, the book is the perfect companion guide to any visit to Talbot House – now a ‘living museum’ in Poperinge, Ypres.
Helion owner Duncan Rogers says: “A Fool for Thy Feast is a modern assessment of a remarkable man, which has been compiled using his personal and family papers, as well as ‘Toc H’ and Church archives.
‘The ‘Toc H’ movement ‘Tubby’ founded took its name from the signallers’ abbreviation for Talbot House. This ‘Everyman’s Sanctuary’, founded by ‘Tubby’ and fellow Chaplain Neville Talbot, would become the British Army’s best-known soldiers’ club – a popular and necessary retreat from the horrors of frontline combat.
‘In peacetime, ‘Tubby’ would go on to redevelop and then rebuild All Hallows Church at Tower Hill, London – where he served as the incumbent – and to serve as a Chaplain in the Second World War. However, it was his passion for, and involvement with, ‘Toc H’ that endured until his death in 1972.”
Author Linda Parker’s own father was a Chaplain in the Territorial Army. She has been researching and writing about Great War Chaplains since 2009.
“I wrote a chapter on him for my second book, Shellshocked Prophets, but quickly realised his whole life story would make a fascinating read for anyone interested in the Great War or the general social-political and religious history of Britain in the 20th Century.
‘The book shows how one man, through his experiences in the Great War and fuelled by the strength of his conviction that a better life could be achieved for all, could go on to start a worldwide movement – ‘Toc H’.”