Rumours have circulated for years about soldiers being literally saved by the thickness of a Bible in their breast pocket – but is there any truth to it? In the case of Reg Hind, not only is the rumour true, but it led to an incredible life devoted to the work of scripture and serving his fellow man.
Reginald Arthur Hind, 1897–1982
“A Great Australian in War and Peace” was the title of a prize winning essay written by Reg Hind’s grandson. The prize was presented by the NSW Returned Soldiers League. How was he great?
“Your gentleness has made me great” Ps18:35.
On completion of High School, Reg enlisted in the 6th Field Ambulance, not wanting to kill, but to actually save life. Upon deployment to Gallipoli, his father sent him off with the words from scripture: “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near to you.” Ps91:7. These were encouraging words for a young man heading to a war zone.
As a private at Anzac Cove, Reg had been noted by his officers for his bravery in serving his fellow man and in facing grave danger to rescue wounded soldiers. It was during this time that in his own effort to save others, the scriptures would save him in a most literal sense; the actual pages of a New Testament in his left breast had stopped a bullet from killing him. There was some recovery from his injuries, but Reginald Hind was to return to service.
The actual pages of a New Testament stopped a bullet from killing Reg
Later in France, now a Sergeant serving at Pozieres, he was recommended and received a Military Medal “for valued service … he has proved himself a gallant soldier and a fine example of endurance and devotion to duty to his men”. Reg had rescued men from a gas barrage under heavy enemy fire.
The following year, 1917 in the battle of Polygon Wood near Ypres, Reg left his men in safety, and under heavy machine gun fire and shelling, located the Ambulance Post which had moved forward with the fighting. He brought up his stretcher bearers and evacuated the wounded who had been there for 48 hours. For this he received a Bar to his first Military Medal, but was severely wounded during this action and was evacuated to Hospital in England.
By God’s saving and keeping power the shrapnel had peppered beside the spine but not the spine itself. And although arteries were severed, packing of the wounds staunched the flow, infection did not ensue, and over time healing occurred. This however was significant enough to have Reg invalided out of the Army.
Reg had proved his Lord trustworthy and lived in dependence on Him.
Come World War ll, leaving a good position, Reg again went to war. This time, his aim was not only the saving of men during this life, but also for eternity. As a Welfare Officer, at Greta Soldier’s Camp NSW with Open Air Campaigners, he ran a welfare hut where the men could relax, write home, play games, listen to music and above all hear the way to life through Jesus. On the wall of the welfare hut was an etching of a soldier kneeling before the Cross with the caption, “We kneel only to Thee”.
Many soldiers were comforted, encouraged and saved through the Scriptures being read and explained in quiet talk and formal services.
A post-war Reg soldiered on in peace time! He became an evangelist and preacher for the Brethren Assemblies and participated in some church planting. He later became the first Secretary-Director of SGM Australia (now SGM Lifewords), passionately sharing God’s word, printing it and making it available to whoever needed it. He would bring in Bible booklets, testaments and portions that were tailor made to unique audiences, and thousands were given to the armed forces each year. Reg continued to promote the Word of God which in early life he had come to know and rely on its life giving power.
Reginald Hind was the father of Nan and Marg Hind, long-serving members of the SGM Council, faithful to the gospel and instrumental in the beginnings of SGM in Australia. SGM continues to serve the Armed Forces today, giving tens of thousands of scripture portions to chaplains for use in service.
Special thanks to David and Marg Hind for the article contribution and photos.