15 December 2017

Greater love has no man than this …

Chester had been educated at Coleraine Academical Institution and Larne Grammar School and his name appears in memorials in both schools, as well as a plaque in Coleraine Congregational Church.

During an attack on Cherisey, Chester was shot through the chest and seriously wounded. His batman, Private H. H. Gladwish, carried him back towards the British lines but, under heavy fire, was forced to take shelter in a shell hole. Refusing to believe Chester had died he stayed with him for seventy two hours before finally making it back to his own lines exhausted from hunger and grief.

In December 1917 the Distinguished Conduct Medal was awarded to Private Gladwish for gallantry and devotion to duty. The ceremony was attended by Dr and Mrs Kydd, who were able to express their gratitude for the great effort made to save their only son.

It is possible to look at the courage and devotion of Private Gladwish and see a faint reflection of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who left His Father’s side, who came into the carnage of this world to seek men and women devastated by sin and to carry them to safety.

Private Gladwish risked his life for his friend, but Jesus Christ gave His life for His enemies.

Private Gladwish made every effort humanly possible to save his friend only to fail, but Jesus Christ finished the work the Father gave Him to do.

Private Gladwish was honoured by his Regiment, Jesus Christ was exalted by His Father to the highest place and given a Name that is above every name.

Private Gladwish’s action is one of many heroic acts from history, but the life, love and death of Jesus Christ transcends all and will continue to have redemptive power to save men and women until He returns.

How grateful Dr and Mrs Kydd must have been for Private Gladwish’s efforts to save their son. How much more should our hearts overflow with praise to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us? To Him belongs eternal praise.

N.J. Gault

Chester Kydd died on the Western Front on 3 May 1917, less than a month before his eighteenth birthday. He came from an eminent Christian family. His grandfather John Kydd had been minister of Coleraine Congregational Church and had been a prominent Christian leader during and after the 1859 Revival. His father, also called John, a Coleraine dentist, had served as Chairman of the Congregational Church Union of Ireland in 1915.