Reverend Edward Dakin

Rank or Title

Date of Birth


Date of Death


War time / or Pre War occupation

Senior Curate


St Mary's Church

Place of Birth

Bellbrae VIC 3228

World War I Address

United Kingdom

Place of Death

United Kingdom

Grave Location

United Kingdom

Luton ward

Soldier or Civilian

  • Civilian


The Reverend Edward Dakin, Vicar of Shefford, formerly senior curate at Luton Parish Church, has returned from Germany, after nerve-racking experiences.  Some of these he has described to his parishioners, who came in such numbers to hear it, that every inch in the church and porches was occupied.

How he came to be in Germany is explained by the fact that before the crisis he had agreed to accept the offer of the Colonial and Continental Church Society to go to Bad Kissingen as English Chaplain during the month of August.  When the relations between the Great Powers became strained, he visited the Society's Offices in London and asked if it was any use going, seeing that people were hurrying back to England.  He was informed that "he was under an obligation to go to Kissingen."  He went via Liege and arrived at Kissingen on the evening of Friday, July 31st.  On Sunday, August 2nd, in consequence of the developments that had ensued, he advised his people to try to get away that day or on the morrow but on leaving the church he found bill stickers putting up mobilisation notices and that the military authorities had taken over the railways, forbidding any private person to travel during the coming week.  Everyone was confident of success and declared that the war would be over in three months and that the treaty would be signed in London.  The Germans were very angry.  One lady said to him "I hate you!  I hate you!".  Another said "God will judge England for what you have done to our Kaiser - the Peace God of Europe - forcing him to go to war".  About a week afterwards there was an order from Berlin that English between 20 and 45 would be detained but others might leave.  He applied for a pass to leave for the frontier and when asked if he was over 45, he caused a smile by bending down his head and saying "thank God I'm bald."  On August 17th he left Kissingen at three in the morning by train which eventually arrived at Niederlahnstein on the Rhine and made its final stop.  He got out and was at once surrounded by soldiers, whose captain informed him that he must consider himself under arrest.  He asked Why and was told As a spy.  His heart sank, for he knew that across the river at Coblenx, twelve men had been shot as spies, one, probably an artist, because he had a drawing of a bridge in his pocket.  He knew that the Germans acted swiftly and without many questions asked.  He was marched into a waiting room, where his clothes were overhauled,and his luggate run around with a knife.  A box of rhubarb pills was sniffed by a detective, who, however, refused the offer of one.  He was then taken before a court martial of the military commander and officials.  They found nothing.  He showed his passport and Bishop's licence and asked the Major to give him a certificate that he was an English clergyman travelling to the frontier.  But the question was put to him "What were you doing at Wisebaden."  He denied that he had been there.  His cloth was not respected because two Russion spies had been found disguised as monks.  At last he was taken by three officers to the waiting train.  Mr Dakin eventually reached Flushing but not until he had other trying experiences for at one place, instead of spending the last few hours of the night in a hotel, he decided to remain in the dark corner of the train and later learnt that enquiries had been made for him at one of the hotels.  Even when he reached the frontier, he was nearly thrust back into the nightmare country because the stationmaster insisted that he had come by the wrong route but Reverend Daken absolutely refused to move back on that route and was eventually allowed to proceed.  Reverend Dakin was greatly impressed with the unanimity of the Germans in what they considered a just, holy and righteous war which had been thrust upon them, the Social Democrats linking up with the ultra-conservatives in support of the Kaiser:  and the absolute confidence of the people that the ultimate result of the war must be a victory for Germany, a treaty to be signed in London within three months. 

Individual Location

Author: Diane Cullen

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Reverend Edward Dakin

The Reverend Dakin was born in 1865 in Victoria, Australia and was Vicar of Shefford from 1913 to 1920. He was married to Edith and had a son, Alfred and two daughters Florence and Constance.