PRIVATE THOMAS STAPLETON
1ST JULY 1916 AGE 38
BURIED: BLIGHTY VALLEY, AUTHUILLE, FRANCE
The Lord's Prayer appears in both the Gospel of St Matthew (6: 9-13) and in St Luke (11:2-4) but the words most people are and would have been familiar with come from the Book of Common Prayer:
Our father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done,
In earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
The fourth line of the prayer, Thy will be done, is a very popular inscription and indicates the bleak acceptance of God's will. However, Private Stapleton's family make it clear that whilst his death may have been God's will, it was not their's. And this too is a popular inscription. The words echo those spoken by Jesus in the hours before his arrest in Garden of Gethsemene: "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (St Luke 22:42); "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done" (St Matthew 26:42).
Thomas Stapleton, serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers, was killed in action on the first day of the battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916.