War Victim: “Great Scot! You don’t mean I’m dead!”
Posted on 29 October 2018, 10:10
With the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I coming up on November 11, it seems like a good time to remember one of the victims of the “The Great War” – Second Lieutenant Claude Herschel Kelway-Bamber, whose plane was shot down by a German fighter pilot as they engaged in a dogfight near the Flanders region of Belgium. Claude was just 20 years old and attached to the Royal Flying Corps at the time of his death. Coincidentally, he was killed on November 11, 1915, exactly three years before Armistice Day, although there is conflicting information suggesting he was killed on November 15.
Claude is one of five WWI victims I wrote about in my last book, Dead Men Talking, the others being Second Lieutenant Raymond Lodge, Second Lieutenant Robert Boylan, Private Thomas Dowding, and Private Rolf Little. All five of them are said to have communicated after death. Claude’s more complete story was set forth in Claude’s Book, first published in 1918 by Methuen & Co., with a sequel, Claude’s Book II, published two years later. The “editor” of the two books is shown as L. Kelway-Bamber, his mother, who apparently preferred the name Liza to her given name, Eliza. Most of the messages came through the trance mediumship of Gladys Osborne Leonard, one of England’s most-tested mediums.
In the Introduction to the second book, Dr. Ellis T. Powell, a renowned British barrister and journalist, states that he believes that Claude (below) was being used as an intermediary by higher spiritual sources, and that he (Claude) was “not fully alive to the full purport of that which he was transmitting.” Such a theory is consistent with other teachings suggesting that advanced spirits find it more difficult to communicate with those on the earth plane than lower spirits because of the difference in vibration; therefore, they “employ” the spirits at a lower vibration to relay the information on to those in the earth frequency. This seems to tie into the “group soul” idea discussed at this blog on Sept. 30.
While Claude does provide some evidential information to let his mother know that it was indeed her son communicating (at least as part of the group soul), most of the two books deal with the way things work in the spirit world, as best as he or the group soul could explain them. He talks about the various realms in the afterlife, reincarnation, Christ, activities, time, clothing, communication, and other aspects of different dimensions of reality.
“I was rather depressed as I went out to my machine that last November morning,” Claude communicated to his mother. “I don’t know why. I certainly had no presentiment of evil; but, once started, my spirits rose as usual, and I felt quite cheery and singularly free from nervousness. Many men here have since told me this rather curious fact, that on the occasion of their last fight, whether in the air or in the trenches, nervousness left them. I don’t know whether the spirit instinctively knows its fate and braces itself to meet it, or if one’s spirit friends are able to make their presence and comfort felt at that supreme crisis, but probably it was the only occasion on which I was absolutely free of all fear.”
Claude went on to explain that when he and his accompanying observer were attacked by two enemy planes, his feeling was one of complete irritation as they were on their way back after finishing some work over the enemy lines. “I felt harassed, too, as I climbed and turned and dived here and there to attack. My observer said something and I remember getting the nose of the machine down to get below one of our opponents, when I felt a terrible blow on my head, a sensation of dizziness and falling, and then nothing more.”
The observer, later identified as Lieutenant J.E.P. Harvey, was quoted in the March 22, 1916 issue of the Calgary Daily Herald as saying that they were at about 10,000 feet when Claude was hit in the head and killed. They went into a “death plunge” for about 5,000 feet, during which time Harvey was able to maneuver onto Claude’s lap, take the controls, shut off the engine, and land safely, after which he was taken prisoner by the Germans.
“It may have been a fortnight or more later – we have no account of ‘time’ here, so I can not be sure – that I became conscious again,” Claude further communicated to his mother. “I felt dizzy and stupid but was not in pain, and on collecting my thoughts and looking round found myself in bed in an unknown room. Before thought took definite form I felt I had been passing through space. My body seemed to have become light. I wondered if I was in hospital, and if anyone had written to tell you I was wounded. Nurses moved about the room; if I attempted to talk or ask questions a doctor came to my side, and putting his hand on my head soothed me to silence again.”
What seemed like several days later, a doctor came to Claude’s bedside and explained to him that he had passed out of the physical body. With much confusion, Claude replied, “Great Scot! You don’t mean I’m dead!”
“We will use that term simply as it’s the only one you understand just now,’ the doctor responded. “You are alive and are starting the fuller and more beautiful life.”
Shortly thereafter, Claude was guided by two other spirits through the astral plane to earth and found himself standing at the foot of his mother’s bed. It was then that he realized that he was indeed “dead.” He observed his mother sitting up in bed in an agony of grief. “I bent forward and called as loudly as I could, ‘Mummy, I’m here; can’t you see or hear me?’ You made no reply. I went to your side and put my arms round you, and though you were not conscious of my presence I seemed to be able to soothe you, for you became calmer and lay down.”
As he began to lose consciousness in the earth realm, his two guides took him back to the hospital. “I felt, however, that your love was mine still,” he continued. “I could feel its power. I understood it and realized it better than ever before. It was a spiritual caress, and I felt it through every fibre of my body, and was full of thankfulness. I knew, too, that in all my life your love had never failed me, and that even now, you would find a way, if it were possible, to bridge the gulf between us – you would never let me ‘drop out.’ When I realized this, I knew the worst was over, and the bitterness of death had passed. Worn by my emotions, I slept and woke later in quite a different mood.”
As Claude adapted to his new environment, he was able to better communicate with his mother, although he pointed out several times that so much of what he was experiencing was beyond his ability to explain. “There is so much that is so difficult to put into words at all, especially to have to imprint on another person that which to us is a great shining light – the truth. We feel it, we move in it, we breathe it; but it’s too great and vast a thing to explain in an hour or so, for no sooner do I start to explain one phase, than I find it leads me to have to explain another, and then another, and so on. We are nearer the Infinite than you are, and are therefore more naturally conscious of the power of the Infinite, and do not require to have it manifested in detail or in finite form to the same extent as you do.” He added that the bias of the medium’s mind, impressions from the sitter’s subconscious self, and unconscious telepathy from other minds also distort the messages.
As his guides, including his deceased grandfather, escorted him around, Claude observed homes, gardens, fountains, and woods similar to those on earth. He asked his grandfather if it was a “thought-world” he was now in. “It is more real and permanent than the one you have left,” his grandfather replied. Claude added that he bent down and poked his finger in the soil and found that it left a hole, while the soil stuck under his nail.
Claude told his mother that he did not think of death very often when alive in the flesh, even though he faced it every day in combat, because it seemed so indefinite He considered the possibility that he would be killed and hoped he would find himself in heaven, but heaven did not sound very appealing to him as he did not think of it as anything more than sitting on a throne on a cloud in a white robe, while playing a harp. It sounded terribly boring to him. “I know now the whole mistake lies in looking upon death as the end of ‘activity,’ with a renewal at some indefinite date, whereas as a matter of fact it is an incident only, though a very important one, in a continuous life,” he explained. “Your feelings, your memory, your love, your interests and ambitions remain; all you have left behind, and even that which one cannot at first realize, is the physical body, which proves to be merely the covering of the spiritual to enable it to function in a material world. Man truly is a spirit and has a body, not vice versa.”
Initially, Claude was engaged in assisting other soldiers who had been killed on the battlefield. “We are united for the work, having ourselves endured the horrors of war. Spirits unused to it cannot bear the terrible sights and sounds. We bring them away so that they may return to consciousness far from their mutilated physical bodies, and oh, Mum, I feel quite tired sometimes of explaining to men that they are ‘dead’! They wake up feeling so much the same; some go about for days, and even months, believing they are dreaming. Death works no miracle, and you wake up here the same personality exactly that left the earth-plane. Your individuality is intact, and your ‘spirit body’ a replica of the one you have left, down to small details – even deformities remain, though, I am told they lessen and disappear in time.”
One of the more evidential facts related by Claude through Leonard was that his spirit body was initially just the same as his physical body “right down to the wart on my finger.” Mrs. Kelway-Bamber recalled suggesting to Claude that he see the doctor and have the wart removed.
“People with narrow, set, and orthodox beliefs are puzzled by the reality, the ‘ordinaryliness,’ if I may coin a word, of the spirit world,” Claude continued. “If it were described to them as ‘flashes of light,’ ‘mauve and sapphire clouds,’ ‘golden rivers,’ etc., it would more readily approximate with their preconceived ideas. They require ‘mystery’ about the future life. I often laugh when I hear them complain they can’t believe in ‘solid’ things like houses, and gardens in the spirit-world…”
Claude went on to say that he was doing less and less battlefield work as he was being trained to be a teacher. “I realize enough even in this short time, to know that the more one learns the more truly humble one becomes, because it is only then possible to know of the vast untouched fields of knowledge yet to be explored, and it is only very ignorant people in these days who say anything is ‘impossible,’ because it happens to be beyond their particular understanding.”
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
Next blog post: November 12
Thanks, Amos, for those additional comments. I might add what Professor James Hyslop had to say about the pictographic process:
“We do not know in detail all that goes on, but we can conceive that a mental picture in the mind of a communicator is transmitted, perhaps telepathically, to the psychic (medium) or to the control; even though we do not know how this occurs, we can understand why the message takes the form that it does in the mind of the psychic and why the whole process assumes the form of a description of visual, or a report of auditory images. The whole mass of facts is thus systematized as a single process, whose specific form of transmission is determined by the sense through which it is expressed. It is apparent that the pictographic process introduces into the communication various sources of mistake and confusion, and thus explains much that the ordinary man with his view of the messages cannot understand. Mental pictures have to be interpreted, either by the control or by the subconscious of the psychic, probably by both.”
Michael Tymn, Sun 4 Nov, 22:09
Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 3 Nov, 03:37
I have had a chance to skim “Claude’s Book” and see that Claude Kelway-Bamber addressed his mother in several letters to her before his passing and printed at the end of the book as “My darling mother” so—-maybe his use of “darling” when conversing with his mother in sessions with Mrs. Leonard was in fact his unique way of addressing her. Maybe “darling” was a common use term at that time when referring to one’s mother.- AOD
Gladys Osborne Leonard wrote an excellent book describing her development as a psychic medium titled “My Life In Two Worlds.” in which she also provided detailed textbook instructions how one might go about developing one’s own mediumistic skills. Writing about clairaudience she says that, ” There are two or more forms of clairaudience. Some people tell you that they hear a voice that appears to them to be an objective one, because they apparently hear it through the medium of the ear, like any ordinary physical sound. Others say they only hear ‘in the mind,’ and yet again you will meet people who tell you that they hear objectively at times, and at others mentally. I hear in both these ways myself.” “With the first kind, the voice is unmistakable. One is as certain of it as one would be of the voice of anybody in the earthly body who happened to speak to one.” “With the second kind, one may find it more difficult to be sure that one is hearing a voice psychically and not imagining it. “
Geraldine Cummins in “Swan on a Black Sea” discusses “lines of communication” which she uses when contacting the spirit world. Ms. Cummins enters a “stillness” which is “neither a passive, inert state, nor trance” allowing information to be transmitted ‘telepathically’ to her which she writes through ‘inner hearing’ by way of a kind of automatic writing. “I want to escape from everything and everyone around me into stillness, which if attained, provides me with the listening attitude necessary for my inner hearing. . . . When this is attained successfully, it appears to be on a higher level of energy and in complete control of my brain, able as a stenographer to take down the conversation of the communicator.
Cummins says, “During the writing of ‘The Scripts of Cleophas’, I had now and then a ‘sense of seeing’. Perhaps a moment before scenes and people were presented in the transmitted writing I saw them quite clearly in my mind’s eye. But it was as if I were a spectator in a cinema, looking at moving pictures. I had hardly any sense of the words describing them that were being rapidly written by my hand.”. . . [W]hen I recorded the Cleophas writings, concerned with people who were said to have lived eighteen hundred years ago, I sometimes saw moving pictures of them and their surroundings. Among them were scenes of mobs and uproar, trial scenes or a mystical vision. Very occasionally a foreign word or a foreign name, Hebrew, Greek or Roman, appeared in illuminated images of it. “
Compare Pearl Curran’s experience with that of Cummins. Pearl Curran wrote in ‘A Nut For Psychologists’. “The pictorial visions which accompany the coming of the words have acted as a sort of primer, . . .with representations of incidents and symbols. I am like a child with a magic picture book. Once I look upon it, all I have to do is to watch its pages open before me, and revel in their beauty and variety and novelty. Probably this is the most persistent phase of the phenomena, this series of panoramic and symbolic pictures which never fail to show with each expression of Patience [Worth] where there is any possibility of giving an ocular illustration of an expression. ”
“When the stories come, the scenes become panoramic, with the characters moving and acting their parts, even speaking in converse. The picture is not confined to the point narrated, but takes in everything else within the circle of vision at the time. For instance, if two people are seen talking on the street, I see not only them, but the neighboring part of the street, with the buildings, stones, dogs, people and all, just as they would be in a real scene.. . . If the people talk a foreign language, as in “The Sorry Tale”, I hear the talk, but over and above is the voice of Patience, either interpreting or giving me the part she wishes to use as story.”
“One very odd and interesting phase of the phenomena is the fact that during the time of transcribing the matter and watching the tiny panorama unfold before me, I have often seen myself, small as one of the characters, standing as an onlooker, or walking among the people in the play. . . . And the experience was immediately my property, as though it had been an actual experience; for it was as real to me as any personal experience, becoming physically mine, recorded by my sight, taste and smell as other experiences.”
Whew! That is a lot to think about! - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 2 Nov, 23:16
Mike, you mention Raymond Lodge who was killed in the First World War in your new book. I physically met him in 1983 as he was one of the six people who materialised at the Rita Goold experiment every time she gave a demonstration.
Raymond had been checked out before I met him. A recording of Raymond telling the life history of his family had been made. Rita found that one of Raymond’s sisters was still alive. Contact was made and the recording was played to Raymond’s sister. She listened very carefully to the tape and confirmed that without any doubt that this was her brother Raymond talking. She then said to Rita, “Where on Earth did you get this?”
When I met Raymond he showed me how he can override our laws of physics. He put on the physical rubber boots that were in the room. He then walked the physical boots straight through the physical table. I remember thinking at the time, thank goodness I am fighting on the side of this lot and not against them.
Everything now rests on this upcoming radio broadcast with Jeff Rense and Professor Peter Wadhams.
Michael Roll, Fri 2 Nov, 19:25
Thank you Michael,for giving a ‘shout out’ to Patience and Pearl. I think the beautiful language of that case is what provides the proof for spiritual existence. After becoming acquainted with many of the stories and reports suggesting evidence of an afterlife, the writing of Patience Worth is what I return to over and over again for reassurance, often in my darkest hours of doubt.
Pearl Curran was not unique however as there are several if not many people who claim to have transmitted creative writing from spirits in the ‘beyond’. It is the language in Pearl’s case that provides hard evidence however, not second or third-hand reports or sightings from other people. The writings of Patience Worth are straight from the ‘horse’s mouth’ so to speak; anyone can read them and determine for herself or himself how a minimally educated woman who was not a student of literature or history and who was not a world traveler, could write such high quality historical cultural gems. - AOD.
Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 2 Nov, 02:00
My last comment, offering the Patience Worth verbiage, might prompt one to ask why Pearl Curran could get through such odd words as “fetcheth,” while Gladys Osborne Leonard might have given her own words to what she was receiving, such as “darling” the term used by both Claude and Rolf in addressing their mothers.
I’m not sure I have the answer, other than that the pictographic type of mediumship does not seem to be the same type of mediumship involved in automatic writing and related phenomena. The deep trance mediums seem to rely more on a spirit “control” as an intermediary and there are various other differences, a subject in itself. There is so much about these forms of communication that have yet to be answered, but it is clear that there are many differences in the types or forms of mediumship and much depends on the power of the medium.
The clairvoyant type common today is certainly not the same as the trance mediumship of Mrs. Leonard, although Leonard is said to have been a clairvoyant and to have done automatic writing in addition to deep trance. It is my understanding that in the trance type, the medium’s personality vacates the body and the spirit control—sometimes the communicating spirit him- or herself—occupies the body and communicates independently of the medium’s personality, while in the more modern clairvoyant type, the medium’s personality leaves the body and gathers the information in another realm of existence.
It’s possible that Claude’s communication was mostly a product of her subconscious, possibly the mother’s subconscious telepathically received by Leonard, but there were evidential points, so it is difficult to discern. Clearly, the tests carried out by the SPR and its researchers attested to the genuineness of Leonard’s mediumship, as there was much evidential information coming through her, such as in the famous “book tests” and “newspaper test.” To what extent her subconscious might have colored or distorted the Claude communication is anybody’s guess. It is, however, consistent with what has come through other mediums and we can’t discount the idea that Mrs. Leonard’s subconscious was more than the product of her own ideas, memories and experiences.
Michael Tymn, Fri 2 Nov, 01:29
As Amos Oliver Doyle is probably the world’s foremost authority on Pearl Curran, the medium for Patience Worth, he certainly knows about language changes.
As mentioned in my recent post on Shakespeare, English scholars struggled with some of the archaic Anglo-Saxon language in the communication coming from Patience. In one of her novels, Patience dictated, “I wot he fetcheth in daub-smeared smock.” Even in the early 1900s, the word “fetch” was rarely used, but when used it meant to “go and get” someone or something. Patience used it as synonymous with “came” or “cometh,” which philologists confirmed as the word’s original meaning.
Thanks to all who have commented so far.
Michael Tymn, Thu 1 Nov, 20:39
Very much enjoyed the last entry to your blog about Claude. Afraid I really don’t have much to contribute except to say that Claude’s language did not seem particularly feminised to me. Among sbOliver Doyle asks if using the term “mummy” is a British thing. Amongst the middle and especially upper classes it was a standard form of address, and I think is still used, but to a lesser degree perhaps , by some upper class men today on occasion. We Brits definitely have our quirks!
Lorna Payne, Thu 1 Nov, 09:45
Mike, while it is always good to be reminded of the ongoing reality experienced by the millions wh passed in that era, it is also useful to go one step farther and see that most of them, having enjoyed their astral holiday, have returned to this plane as freshly minted personalities to experience the life lessons of middle and old age, the ones they missed by dying at twenty.
gordon phinn, Thu 1 Nov, 02:41
I love what I’ve just read ” dead men talking” has anyone got a second-hand copy of the book for sale, would be much appreciated.
Rose, Thu 1 Nov, 00:26
Apparently Prince Charles still refers to the Queen as “Mummy”.
Paul, Thu 1 Nov, 00:16
Of course you are right. Any living language, but especially the English language I think changes over time and place, sometimes quite rapidly. What a language is today is not what it was yesterday. I especially bristle somewhat when some critical people seem to want to define authenticity of writing obtained through psychic means by whether or not it follows their perceived rules of the language in the past and they often discredit psychic writing of archaic language if it does not comply with the way they understand the language to have been spoken or written at that time. (I may be guilty of this!) Obviously they were not there at the time so it is next to impossible to know all of the various ways in which a language was spoken, say 200 or 300 or more years ago.
The English language is especially fluid and frequently many regional dialects existed which may never have been recorded but were in fact spoken by some part of a population. At a time without mass communication it most certainly was easier for variations of a language to develop in isolated locations. Without reliable documentation, who is to say what a language was like many years ago throughout a country. English in Shakespeare’s time was especially lacking of rules when it was a free-for-all with nouns used as verbs , verbs as adjectives and so forth. I sympathize with anyone 200 or 300 years from now trying to determine the authenticity of English vernacular transmitted by psychic means then and spoken in America today.
I seem to recall that only the church-going matrons used to say “applesauce” along with words like “fiddlesticks”, “Oh fudge”, “Sh, sh, Sugar” and other unique fabricated substitutes for curse words. My father used to say, “Shit!—-and two is eight” hoping that us kids would think he had said “six and two is eight.” It might be rare to hear those things from “Z” generation today.
It may be that men were more sentimental in days gone by, especially young effeminate boys of the English upper class, such as Claude Kelway-Bamber, and who were more likely to leave behind diaries, poems or novels but I don’t think one finds that kind of dripping sentimentality from men of the lower classes who were not of a writing bent or in the writing of American young men of yore.
Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 31 Oct, 23:03
You are lucky that you have a linguistic historian available for consultation. Such a person would not be easy to find in my area so I would have to take my chances on the internet. (Although I did contact a language historian of sorts in England concerning language spoken in his area 300 years ago.) Even so, sometimes an ‘expert historian’ may be mistaken or may not know the many variations of a language spoken many years ago. - AOD
Amos, I think part of the problem is the way language changes over time—and territory. For example, if you said something or other to someone born in 1880, and they replied, “Applesauce”, would that seem like a non-sequiter to you? It would to me. But it would not seem so to them. In those days, “applesauce” was common slang for “BS!” I got that from a reference book written for historical novelists.
Moreover, historical diaries, etc., seem to point out to us that back then, in general, men regularly uttered expressions of sentimentality that we might read as feminine nowadays.
Before I would confirm that sentences spoken over a hundred years ago were unrealistic or out of place, I would consult a linguistic historian.
Interesting blog, Michael, as always!
Lloyd, Wed 31 Oct, 05:20
Yes, yes, Michael, “darling” was the endearment I was trying to recall.
Apparently the process of communicating with the spirit world remains the same today as it was a hundred or more years ago. Popular mediums like John Edward, Christopher Stillar or George Anderson among others explain communication as receiving pictures and symbols, feelings , sometimes sounds which they have to interpret and put into words. They say that they have to use words and symbols which they know and try to make a correct interpretation based on what they have experienced in their life but that it may not always be the correct one, or that is, the one that the communicator intended. I seem to recall that even when the communication is by possessing the medium and speaking through her voice that the communication is still restricted to what is in the medium’s brain or mind to some extent. I have no qualms with any of this. As Tricia says, “Nobody said this was easy.”
Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 31 Oct, 01:36
By the way, I am finishing-up reading Guy Lyon Playfair’s book, “The Flying Cow”. I find it to be somewhat of an eye-opener. It is refreshing to read about the many psychic events, including psychic surgery and poltergeists in the Spiritist culture of Brazil. I think maybe we of North America limit ourselves too much to the English or American mediums of old when apparently there are many mediums of South America to know about. It is nice is read a current perspective from another part of the world. - AOD
As always a very well-written account of how it truly is when a spirit enters the spirit world and what goes on there, especially one at that spiritual/moral level.
We have heard so many of the same stories. So many have also written these accounts.
It is so sad that many fear “death” but I’m sure your writings are helping those who will hopefully remember what they have read, and when it is their time they will feel more comforted.
You are going such a great job of providing others a spiritual education.
A great charity!
Yvonne Limoges, Tue 30 Oct, 22:30
I understand your concerns and discussed them in my blog posts of March 10, 2014 and August 25, 2014, which can be found in the archives at the left. Also, I discussed them in the Introduction of my book, “Dead Men Talking.” In a nutshell, the answer seems to be that the process is pictographic, i.e., the spirit control (Feda in this case) receives a telepathic/pictographic message from the communicating spirit and then the medium’s brain attaches words to it. They may not be the same words the communicator intended, but the message is hopefully the same, even though it may get distorted in the process. The use of the word “Darling” to refer to the mother of both Claude and Rolf is the one that made me suspicious. As I mentioned in the first blog mentioned above, the intended word might have been “mother dear” or something like that, but “Darling” is the word that Leonard’s brain attached to it. Clearly, much discernment is called for.
Michael Tymn, Tue 30 Oct, 22:22
Amos. I think that in those days it is perfectly feasible that a very well educated English 20 year old might say Mummy. That would not happen now of course. This is just another example among thousands, if not millions, of the things that the man in the street does not know about survival. My catchphrase is, ‘Nobody said this was easy’
Tricia Robertson, Tue 30 Oct, 19:01
Another great post Michael.
I do not mean to slight the importance of these messages from Lt. Kelway-Bamber or his group soul, which may help us better understand the conditions of the afterlife, especially after a violent passing. But I hope a little levity will be forgiven.
What could an astral guide say in reply to that exclamation, “Great Scot! You don’t mean I’m dead!”?
It brings to mind an anecdote from the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Lord Uxbridge’s leg was shattered by a cannonball.
Lord Uxbridge: “By God, I’ve lost my leg!”
Rick Darby, Tue 30 Oct, 04:55
Duke of Wellington: “By God, sir, so you have!”
Nice summary Michael, appropriate for the Centennial of the end of WWI.
You say that Claude “added that the bias of the medium’s mind, impressions from the sitter’s subconscious self, and unconscious telepathy from other minds also distort the messages.” If that is so, I wonder if much of what is attributed as quotes of “Claude”, are really Mrs. Leonard’s words used to express what Leonard interpreted from Claude’s transmitted thoughts and images. As I recall she at least on one occasion criticized herself on what she transmitted as being “too Mrs. Leonardy” and I think in this case it seems to me that the words from a 20-year-old male fighter pilot are too feminine, too “Mrs. Leonardy” and too “Liza Kelway-Bambery”.
The following quote attributed to Claude especially seems to me as something a grieving mother would hope her dead son would say rather than something a young man would actually say to his mother.
“I felt, however, that your love was mine still,” he continued. “I could feel its power. I understood it and realized it better than ever before. It was a spiritual caress, and I felt it through every fibre of my body, and was full of thankfulness. I knew, too, that in all my life your love had never failed me, and that even now, you would find a way, if it were possible, to bridge the gulf between us – you would never let me ‘drop out.’”
Perhaps every mother that had lost a son in war would want to hear that. I don’t know but I wince at a young 20-year-old fighter pilot still calling his mother “mummy.” (Maybe it’s a British thing!) But, perhaps Mrs. Leonard was just trying to be consoling to a grieving mother as I believe she did in many other cases for mothers of sons killed in the First World War. (I seem to recall a dead soldier who through Mrs. Leonard kept calling his mother “dear” or something seemingly unlikely for a child to call his mother.)
I am not saying that Claude was not in contact with Mrs. Leonard or that she did not transmit his thoughts but it seems to me that much or all of the actual words might have been provided by Mrs. Leonard with perhaps Mrs. Kelway-Bamber as editor. - AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 29 Oct, 22:27
Great piece, Mike. Now I want to buy your book ‘Dead Men Talking’, but I can’t. I’ve already got it (!) and will now re-read it at my leisure.
Keith P in England., Mon 29 Oct, 12:58
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