Student Spotlight: Carl Denton

Feb 14, 2023

Recently, Carl was invited by the 617 Dambuster squadron chaplain, Gordon Craig, to attend their anniversary memorial. Gordon has been very supportive of Carl’s journey within the ministry and wanted to show him how a memorial service was conducted. We caught up with Carl to ask a few questions…

Who is Rev Gordon Craig? And how has he supported your journey?

Rev Craig was a former RAF Chaplain. He is particularly interested in multi-faith chaplaincy within the NHS and oil industries and has shown much interest in the One Spirit curriculum. He has supported me with advice and spiritual guidance, as well as suggesting further reading to enhance my knowledge for assignments.

Which anniversary was the memorial for?

The memorial service Carl attended was for the 79th anniversary of the ‘617 Dambuster Squadron’ who took part in the famous raids on the Mohne, Edersee and Sorpe Dams in Germany in World War Two. The service was to remember the 53 Aircrew members who were killed during the raids and those who are no longer with us but served in the 617 Squadron.

How did you get involved with the memorial service?

Because of my interest, Rev Craig shared the written structure of the memorial service with me. He also introduced me to Mr Maltby, the son of Squadron leader Maltby, a pilot on the mission. Unfortunately, after a successful raid on the Dams, his life was sadly taken a year later, on a further operational sortie.  (photograph attachment shows me with Mr Maltby  (junior) at the memorial).

How did you find the experience?

One of my many interests involves the following of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. During the second world war, my Great Grandmother was privileged to offer hospitality to members of the 617 Squadron based at Scampton. The most famous of which, was Wing Commander Guy Gibson officer commanding 617 Squadron.

Because of family involvement, I have been a keen follower of the Lancaster bomber era, therefore I was highly honoured to have the opportunity to be included in this private ceremony and to have the chance to celebrate the memories with  Rev Craig, senior RAF personnel and family members.

Has it motivated you to get involved in anything similar?

I have undertaken reader duties within my local Church to gain confidence and knowledge which will be beneficial in ceremonial duties elsewhere. I hope that part of my future after ordination will include offering ministerial duties at memorial services.

How could this form part of your ministry?

My future aspirations lie within hospital ministry, and a part of that role will involve undertaking memorial services in the hospital chapel.  I feel that the support I’ve been offered has, and will, be beneficial to my future progress.

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