By 1940, World War II was raging, and one of the most prominent men in the UK was Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding - more widely known as, Lord Dowding. Dowding was the commander of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain and is generally credited with playing a crucial role in Britain’s air defence, which contributed to the defeat of Hitler’s plan to invade Great Britain.
What is less well known is, after the Battle of Britain Dowding devoted most of his life to exploring life after death, and what we now refer to as, psychical research. He authored four books on the subject, Many Mansions (1943), Lychgate (1945), The Dark Star (1951), and God’s Magic (1960).
After the war ended, Dowding was often contacted by mothers and loved ones of the airmen who died on his watch, and when he asked his local vicar how he should respond to their grieving, allegedly, the vicar replied, “Tell them they’re with God.” Not being content with the vicar’s answer, Dowding continued his own investigation, in an attempt to find the truth to the age-old question, “what happens after we die?”
He read everything he could on life after death, reincarnation, and spiritualism. He sat with mediums on countless occasions, and for many years in a home circle, and naturally he came to his own conclusions on the subject. In his book, Lychgate, he give’s an indication as to his leanings when he writes; to you I would say, “Read a little about Theosophy.” Now I want to make it quite clear that I am not a Theosophist, I am a Dowding-ist if I am any kind of an -ist at all. But I do believe that the Theosophists are nearer to the truth than any other Western creed or sect of which I have heard. I say this not so much because I trust my own power of judgment, but because the little doles of information from the other side which we get in our circle from time to time so often fit into the Theosophical picture, and into no other frame.
Dowding met many psychics and mediums during his investigations and it seems he was followed by a band of deceased airman who were drawn to him. In his books, the communications with the airmen are fascinating. Often funny, sometimes sad, but never dull, Dowding’s experiences are a must for anyone pondering the nature of existence and whether we survive physical death.
About the author
Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding GCB, GCVO, CMG (24 April 1882 – 15 February 1970) was a British officer in the Royal Air Force. He was the commander of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, and is generally credited with playing a crucial role in Britain’s defence, and hence, the defeat of Hitler’s plan to invade Britain.
DREAMS AND SLEEP
Now for a chapter on work during Sleep. You may remember that in the early part of Chapter VII Denis said to me, “If people knew what you do in sleep, they would indeed say you were crackers.” And now I must tell you, and submit to the soft impeachment.
The amazing thing is that I never have the slightest vestige of an idea of what has been happening. So far as I am aware I spend the time dreaming about entirely different things, confused and ridiculous things, things which are too silly even to raise a laugh at the breakfast table, things which cannot be twisted by my utmost ingenuity into any relation with what I may afterwards be told that I have been doing.
While, therefore, I feel that I know that the other recorded incidents in which I have participated are true, I have no such innate conviction as regards the sleep adventures which I am about to relate.
Nevertheless I firmly believe them to be true, or I should not risk my residual reputation for sanity by telling you about them.
This is from Clarice: —
You were with me last night. We took four little boys from the ‘sick bay’ of the hospital to the playroom in the children’s home. They were four little children who had left their parents behind, and they were a little afraid. We couldn’t seem to quieten one little boy.
“Then the Egyptian friend who has helped me so much said you might try. You stood there, oh, how I smiled, so shy and diffident, wondering what you could do. Then, to our surprise, you changed your etheric robe into an Air Force uniform. We none of us thought you could do that. You are full of surprises.
“As soon as the child saw your uniform he ran to you and said, ‘My daddy is in the Air Force, too.’ He was quite at ease after that and went with us quite happily. You left him with the other children, and he did not notice our going. That was a good job of work.
That was in early June 1943, when a number of children had been killed in a daylight raid on a South Coast church.
And now here is Z. in October 1943: —
“Last night was a night of activity on the lower planes. You are a restless person and always anxious to be with your flying steeds. Last night you and I went with a Formation, and you led the Invisible Brothers who intercept the explosions and save many an earth life. They are very foolhardy, these flying warriors, and often swoop low even when the air is reverberating with shock.
Often they would suffer from the repercussions, if their invisible brothers did not deflect the vibrations.
“I myself have watched them say, ‘Thought we should have felt that one,” flying so low!’ They did not realise that they would not have felt anything again if they had been left to themselves.
“What does this name mean which I see so often with them— WHOOPEE?” (I explain.) “It is always accompanied by an uplift of spirit. It is a word of power, and very often used. I wondered if it was some god they worshipped, because it brought with it no figure, only sound.
“That is what you were doing last night and then you went to Heartsease’s garden where we discussed what you should say, and where we decided to give more time to your young friend James.
James goes sometimes for refreshment to Heartsease’s home. She entertains many from the company of warriors, because she says that they are her boys, too!∗ “You will know henceforth, what you are doing with us. Every big formation which goes out automatically draws you the moment you leave the earth body.
“You may think it strange that we should need your help so much. Here is the reason.
“We are working in the Shadowland between the Earth and the lower heavens. There, hundreds of these young men are remaining voluntarily, that they may help their comrades still in the flesh.
To them we appear very often as remote personages, to be followed with a kind of religious zeal—leaders who are a little out of touch —though they are quite unaware of this attitude themselves.
“When they recognise one who is familiar and whom they trust, they surge forward with such a tremendous impetus that they carry all before them. They know that they have passed the first death, and the majority of them think that you have also. That does not matter. All that matters is that they can follow you.
“It is not only my love for you which makes me work with you, but the great love which binds us to Him, and the opportunity to forward His plan. Truly He sees all, and weaves a wondrous pattern.” On another occasion Clarice came and told me that on the previous night I had been working in Concentration Camps, bringing sleep to sufferers. Afterwards, she told me, she took me to the Animal Sphere. “Don’t you remember?” (No.) “Don’t you even remember the little fawn which followed you about?” Alas, no. I was busy having a horrible nightmare.
Clarice said, “I do wish you could remember. Each time you go back you say you are sure you will remember this time. But you never do.” Next I should like to tell you about the Star which the boys gave me. (This wasn’t in sleep, but it fits in.) A number of R.A.F. boys grouped together. Peter is acting as spokesman. He comes forward and places round my neck a deep mauve ribbon by which is suspended a lovely ‘medal,’ shining like crystal. It is more like a light above my heart.
“It is presented by the boys over here for all that you are doing to ease the sorrow of those whom they love. You see we are having an Honours List too.’’ (I thank him and them.) They are formed up in the shape of a star and are standing now behind Z. who has just turned towards us. There is a star of R.A.F. boys and wings of sailors and soldiers, rather in the shape of the R.A.F. badge.
Z. “Greetings to you my brother. It rejoices me to take part in this little celebration of which Love is the keynote. That star which has been presented to you is an emblem representing two things—First of all Him whom we all serve, and secondly (so those who have given it to you inform me) that to which they aspired; ’ towards the stars’’ (I explain the meaning of the Air Force motto, Per Aruba ad Astra. Through hardship towards the stars.) “How fitting! Knock off the last letter. Through hardship towards the Star. The Star which shines so clearly at this time.
Oh my brother, could we but inflame the hearts of men that they would go forward in zeal to clear away all the mists which lie between them and this Star. Could they but glimpse one sparkling point, and accept it and hold it, how much easier would be their load.
“Since last it shone forth in splendour, you have worked with us to bring a little of its light more clearly before men, and now as it shines forth again, we thank you in His Name. And, as those who love you have created for you a replica of His symbol, so we, who have watched them, bring from Him, and infuse into that star which shall forever glow upon your heart, His Love.
“And now may His Blessing rest upon you all; may you go forward strong in His work; may you be deemed worthy to feel His Presence and be glorified therein. And unto Him shall all men aspire, and unto Him shall be brought all who are weak, all who labour and all who sorrow, that He may take them in His arms and bring them peace. Amen.”
Clarice. “I was at the party! I made the ribbon which held the Star. This is a real ribbon, I made it out of real things, and when you come here it will be real to you. We wanted to mark a year of movement. James suggested that you deserved a medal, but he didn’t know what kind, so he asked Z. He said that the Star was the highest that could be given.
“The Star was made by the boys; not only of the Air Force but of all the Services, because it is not only your boys that you have helped. They fashioned the Star.
“For the ribbon we chose mauvy pink. Purple of royalty and pink of love, but Z. took the ribbon and Star to be blessed, only he could have done that: so you see we’ve all had a hand in it.
“That’s one thing that you will be able to bring with you when you come over here.” Now let’s talk about somebody else for a change. I want to tell you a very strange thing; which is that living people, in sleep, not only work alongside those who inhabit the Astral and higher Spheres, but they sometimes carry out the work of meeting those who are killed in action and helping them across the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Here follow three episodes of work over the sea, carried out by women living in England now. I have given them their next-life frames so as to avoid embarrassment. The stories are related by Amore. (I should explain that the group which is employed on this work is much larger than our own little circle, though we are all members of it.)
Amore. In the Pacific. Out over the sea. Very calm and lovely. Someone clinging to a piece of driftwood. A young boy; fair complexion. He lets go the driftwood and comes rushing up to meet me so gladly.
‘‘I always knew my angel would save me.’’ As I gather him into my arms, I am suddenly aware that I have great wings. He is content and quiet.
“Is this dying?”
“Yes, there’s your body down there.”
“I’m not sorry to leave it; it was pretty well smashed up. These filthy Japs—don’t—don’t drop me.”
“All right, but forget the Japs. I’m not strong in hate.”
“O.K. Gee, I’m glad I wasn’t too bad. Guess mum will be upset though. I’m her only son. Where are you taking me?”
“Somewhere to rest. You are tired.’’
“Not now I’m not. Axe all these angels carrying just-dead people like me?” (I was aware that all the band of workers looked like angels.) “Yes. Each has someone.”
“Gee, God is good.”
The great violet ray enfolded us as he spoke, and he slept. I left him in the Home of Rest. Koos asked me to go back to the sea.
“It’s rather a difficult task. If you need help send for me.” Over the sea again. A distress signal flashed. Down I went.
“You’re blinding me!” a voice cried in agony. I drew my cloak closely round me. Yora was battling with a man, a submarine officer. Her cloak had slipped and her light shone into his face.
I readjusted it for her, he couldn’t see me.
“Thanks Amore, he’s terribly afraid.”
“German?” “Yes and not too savoury.”
“Do you need help?”
“Link up with the Master of Love. He’s so afraid, poor fellow.”
We thought of the Great Ray and gradually he stopped struggling and grew quiet.
There’s my case—an airman tangled in a wrecked plane under the water. The water-people help me. He is asleep, but as I touch him he awakes.
“For God’s sake Babs, go away. I’ve told you I’m finished.
You should have taken care.’’
“I’m not Babs.”
“Oh! Muriel. Look dear, these things don’t last indefinitely.
Honestly I’m not worth a tear.’’
“I’m not Muriel.”
“Then who the hell are you? Gad, I should have stuck to wine. Phyllis, just one kiss. In these days a girl has to march with the times.’’
“I’m not Phyllis; you must come with me.’’
“Why? Oh-why did I chase that Jerry? I should have been back at Base by now instead of in this filthy water—water—water.
Hey you! Where are you? What d’you want to disappear for? Why am I able to breathe in the water?” “Because you are dead.”
“Dead! Pull another one. I wouldn’t be talking to you if I was dead.’’
“Neither would you be able to breathe under water.”
“God! If you’re right. Then these spiritualistic people who talk to spooks are right. You don’t die.”
“Only the body dies.”
“Then we can get away from here?”
“Certainly, take my hand.”
“Look here sister, no monkey business. I don’t carry money or anything of value on these trips. ”
“I don’t want money.”
“Then what the hell do you want?”
“To take you home.”
“Home! That’s a good joke. Do you know where my home is? Blown to blazes. My wife and kid too. He was just sixteen months old. God damn and blast every filthy swine of a Hun.’’ The wave of hate and darkness surged over me. I felt faint, but remembered to open my cloak so that he could see my light. As he cursed and swore I kept struggling with the darkness. He wouldn’t move. “I can’t see. I can’t see. “Oh God! What have I done to deserve this?”
“Can’t you see me? I’m still here.”
‘‘No. I can’t see anything. Christ help me!’’ A flash of light cast the darkness away as he cried the Blessed Name, and I knew suddenly what to do. I changed my features.
“Can you see me now?”
“Bubbles, Bubbles darling; they didn’t get you after all! Darling, darling, hold me, I’m falling.” As he lost consciousness I caught him and bore him to the Home of Rest. Koos met me. “You managed? Splendid! His wife is just ready to wake up. He’ll see her when he is rested. Go to the Garden now, you need rest.”
My next story is an account of my last Birthday Party. Clarice had said: —
“We’ll have a very special party the night before your birthday.” Next week I told her that, as usual, I hadn’t been able to remember anything about it.
Clarice. “It was a splendid party and very well organised.
All the best people were there. The party was held in the garden.
The children decorated the trees with flowers. Now the flowers here are different from yours—they are alight. You would have to put little lights in your flowers, ours are luminous in themselves.
“We had races. The children and the animals raced. And games—oh a lovely party! There were groups of children who have recently come over; little ones who have died from starvation. We made your party theirs and gave them everything they had ever dreamed of having, and it was all so real to them.
“Do you know what they called you? ‘Uncle Bright.’ They ‘re not quite used to the luminous quality in us yet. Then, after you had been away working and had come back, we had our orchestra play for you. One of our R.A.F. friends set to music words I had often seen in your heart, and the children sang them. That’s what we wanted you to bring back—that and the sound of the orchestra.
The words were ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want’.” James. “I just want to wish you many happy returns too, and also to tell you that a great number of boys are coming over to us and we don’t have to tell them anything. They’re quick in the uptake. Do you know why? Because they’ve read your book, and they want you to know that, while they admired you on earth, nothing but a deep love can ever repay what you’ve given to them in helping them to realise just what has happened.
“We think you ought to know about it. They’re coming over fast Sir, but they’re coming over knowing. Some got the book because you had written it and got the shock of their lives when they opened it. But it’s helped them. We only wish there were more of them about, because sometimes we know who is coming over, and we just shove it under their noses.” Talking of birthdays, I was speaking to Clarice on my father’s birthday and I said to her “give Dad a little kiss from me for his birthday.” She said “Give him one yourself. Here he is.” So I said tactlessly “Many happy returns Dad.” With deep feeling he replied “God forbid that I should return.’’
And now I will finish this chapter with a story from the jungle. Burma? Malaya? Indo-China? What do I know?
The date is February 1st, 1944. L.L. is speaking: —
‘‘Steamy jungle. Hordes of workers everywhere. Our band was moving swiftly towards a group of men working in the swamp.
They were piling bricks and rubbish on top of each other, layer after layer, between stakes. (Were they building a toad?) They were working slowly and wearily. A guard, a Jap, was walking up and down along a strip of solid ground, and every now and then he would take his bayonet and strike out at a worker. The workers were up to the waist in the swamp, and looked like animals with long matted beards and bleary eyes and matted hair falling down over their faces.
(Can these be white men?) “I hurried to a man who was gasping for breath as he struggled to carry a long pole towards the road. He fell on his face and staggered up again, still holding the pole. The guard leapt on him and beat him with the butt of his bayonet so that he fell in the mud again. As he rose, the Jap turned his bayonet and plunged it into the man’s back.
“I felt that thrust, and a swift surge of anger overcame me. I rushed at the Jap, but was helpless as he plunged the bayonet into the man.
“I felt mad with anger and impotence, but was unable to move, though I wanted to go to the man. Suddenly Hugh was beside me and he laid his arm round my shoulders. ‘Don’t think of it,’ he said, ‘this man needs you.’ “Immediately I felt calm again and went to the man whom Hugh was supporting. He gave him to me with a smile.
“I took the poor soul to Chang’s home of rest. Chang sent him off in charge of one of the workers and told me to follow him.
We went into a long spacious room. A man was working with some large coloured bulbs.
“I lay down on a low couch, and the man turned a lovely blue globe towards me. I was bathed in a glorious peace…
“Back in the swamps, I saw that the groups were working hard.
Hugh with a group of five which I joined was concentrating on the men who were working. The star on his breast was gleaming and expanding into a great light. It was as though all his own light and that of the others were concentrated in it. The beam turned out towards the men and enveloped them. The word we all held was Endurance.
“Another group was concentrating on the guards a soft rosy glow, the Love Ray. From time to time others reinforced this group.
“The whole atmosphere was foul and heavy. I felt weighted down by a terrible depression and agony. It was this vibration we were trying to dispel. All around in the undergrowth I was conscious that dark slimy creatures were lurking. A stench rose to my nostrils. I felt so terribly unclean, and only by concentrating on Hugh, who was calmly sending the beam from his star onto the labouring men, could I keep conscious.
“Later, in the Hall of Learning, the Teacher spoke earnestly on the great need for concerted effort in the direction of Love and Mercy. Only a small minority of the earth people understand and are consciously working for Unity and Love. That the few who try to stem the flood of darkness must be constantly on the alert, sparing no effort to bring the light.
“As we took our places for the blessing, I saw for the first time that below us there were rows and rows of people who did not look up as the Light shone out. I knew that these are the people we are pledged to help. The light encompasses them, but they are unaware, just as before I was unaware of their presence.”
The next instalment of the story came about a week later. Z is speaking: —
“Now I would remind you of the work we accomplished last night. With your little group you went into a condition on the earth where hatred was rife, where men have become even less than the animals, where passion and despair hold many in their grip. Some there were who were being tortured—helplessly held; others were forced to witness this, helpless to alleviate the pain. To each one of those crucified went one of the band and helped them to endure, taking to themselves the residue of pain which the poor mortal frame could not bear. You understand -that each one had to bear to the uttermost and those who helped could only shoulder a small part.
“When the spirits were free and those misguided—oh so sadly straying from the path—those wretched creatures turned to find others upon whom to work their will, then did the real battle begin. For with the strength of your own high purpose and unselfish love you did battle with the lusts and passions of these miserable creatures, and by a mighty concentration of will-power and love, so sickened their hearts within them that the desire to inflict pain passed from them. I wish, how I wish, I could say passed from them forever; but alas it is only a temporary respite and all of you must do battle again. That is the work in which we can only watch lovingly, the redemption of Mankind lies in Man.
‘‘Here is a special task which you have accepted and which I now bring to your consciousness.
‘‘You will night and morning, with all the power at your command with all the will of which you are capable, with all the love that you ever hope to experience, engage in personal conflict with these the Grey People, that their hearts shall sicken within them, and that feeble flicker—oh so feeble—of the Divine Light shall flare up. It is the only way. Love shall transmute Hate. Beauty shall replace ugliness, and men shall remember their true estate.
“Think not that, because physically you are unaware of the conflict, you are not taking part. Without your Star the little band would indeed work in darkness.’’
Three weeks later Chang told us that our work with the Grey People had had some effect, and James told me that the camp in the swamp had been moved. He said “The poor chaps aren’t much better off, but at least they are on dry land now.”
I pass now to another instalment of the Night Record on 5th of April.
“I became aware of the group already at work in the jungle. Two Japanese were drawing water from a well. Near them were standing two men holding buckets—tins with rope as handles.
“The soldiers were arguing. One was urging that the white men should be allowed to draw water too: the other that they should take it from a muddy stream near by. Hugh took three of us and we went and stood round the Jap who was urging clear water and thought hard to encourage him while Hugh turned his mind to the other. Gradually No. 2 moved away and No. 1 waved the two shaggy-bearded men to take water.
“The men took their tins and filled them and then bent down and drank. One even swilled his hands and face and the Jap turned his back.
“‘God, that’s good,’ the man turned and grinned at his companion, and they started to walk up a narrow path. Hugh followed and waved us on, Came to a camp. The water-carriers were hailed with jokes and laughter which turned to satisfaction as the water was passed round. There was not enough for all.
‘‘Two of us stood behind the men as they asked for more. Hugh kept closely linked with the Jap. Permission was granted and the men went off with two guards.
“The men in the camp were gaunt and bearded, but very cheerful. They were discussing the new guard. One man said ‘All we want is a good wash.’ ” ‘The age of miracles isn’t over’ remarked another, ‘witness two tins of clean drinking water.’
“Hugh moved off with two helpers. We others carried on, drawing the waves of laughter up and strengthening them and returning them to the men ... It was like taking fine threads of silver and weaving them into a thin gauze which the auras of the men absorbed.
“Presently the Jap came back and spoke to the men. They moved off a few at a time.
“Became aware of James. He was laughing. ‘Trust the Chief to get them their bath.’
‘‘Chang was smiling too, and told me it was time to return to the Hall of Learning. Hugh joined us, very cheerful and pleased with himself. ’ I even got them to produce some soap,’ he said.
“James told us that this is the camp we have been working at for some time.”
Well, that is the story. Call it a fairy story if you like, but I like to think that some fairy stories are true, and that this is one of them.
Perhaps one day, when the Boys come marching home, some released prisoner may recognise the incidents—who knows?
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published June 2014
Size: 229 x 152 mm