Archives of Edwin Roberts

The United Nations Witness Team

Based on the archives of Edwin Roberts

Independent Gospel Team

"A number of men in the London area, shortly after the 1940/41 Blitz, began comparing past methods with present needs in soulwinning. They ultimately formed the Independent Gospel Team-a Team to help Teams- whose function it is to spread the idea of team witness in every walk of life". (Charles E. Parker Gospel Teams in Action.)

"Our narrative following Bulletin No.8 begins with a record of our Father's protecting care on the occasion of our team prayer meeting in December 1944, when a V-2 rocket fell 50 yards away and blasted the room we occupied."

Next followed some months of uncertainty. A Rally was held in the Midland Institute of Birmingham in March; a number of "team volunteers" were drafted into itinerant mission teams for summer holidays; two conferences of Factory team workers (one reported in the "News Chronicle" Nov. 7th) and the planning of the 1946 campaign followed.

Meanwhile news from teams in the services indicated that they reached their peak of success in 1945, teams in India recording many conversions, and the United Nations Forces Witness Team in london having similar blessing in large crowded gatherings in the Metropolis." (Charles E. Parker Battle for Britain - 1946.)

Finsbury Branch
Soldiers and Airmans Christian Association

The branch for the Royal Army Pay Corps in the City of London appears to have been started in 1940. At some stage a regular weekly Bible Class was started. An 1943 article about the Soldiers' and Airmen's Christian Association says:

Captain Allen Perry (Secretary SACA) was involved in the formation of the Finsbury Branch. In the early days, it met in Wesley Chapel, City Road. Olaf Ellis was appointed its first Branch Secretary. "Jock Davidson" was another active member, less active later because of a long illness. (Letter 15.5.1945 from Allen Perry to Edwin Roberts)

24.7.1941 Letter from Dr Wiseman of Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London to Mr Ellis.

30th April. No year. marked "RALLY". Letter "dear Roberts" from P.J. Wiseman

Thursday 23.4.1942 Edwin Roberts, Harry Young, Tom Chalmers and Cecil Smith were posted to the Royal Army Pay Corp in the City of London where they joined a "Bible Class" in which Charles Parker and Olaf Ellis were already members. These six decided to form a Christian witness team.

The "bible class" seems to have been the Finsbury Branch of the Soldiers and Airmans Christian Association. In a letter to SACA (7.6.1971), Edwin Roberts says he was secretary of this branch, which he thinks was the nearest one to the headquarters at Havelock House (then at 35 Catherine Place, Westminster, SW1). He says the branch:

    "grew into the United Nations Witness Team which had about 40 to 50 members in the end. We used to hold our prayer meetings in the Council Room at Havelock House, and received a lot of encouragement from Captain Perry and Captain May."

This letter was written in connection with a SACA speaker at the Civil Service Christian Union's Orange Street meetings (1971). On 18.11.1989, Mr L.R. Neville of SACA was the guest speaker at the 18th anniversary service of Sunnymede Chapel, Billericay, a Brethren assembly that Edwin Roberts belonged to. Continuities like this are common in these archives.

Army Scripture Readers.

City of London Forces Witness Team

One member of the group (Cecil Smith or Tom Chalmers who lived in Cecil's parents' house) being asked to speak at his church, Spruce Hill Baptist Church in Walthamstow, asked the others. They became the "City of London Forces Witness Team" and spoke at many churches. David Davidson was also involved early on. Another member of the Team was Stanley Ellison.

I.G.T. Cash Book I.G.T. Cash Book Cover: "1. Team Funds 1942-1943". [I.G.T. stands for Independent Gospel Team. Edwin Roberts' contemporary address book lists "I.G.T. 217 Waterloo Rd [BM/IGT]"]

    "This book was opened by Olaf Ellis and continued by Eddie Roberts to record (in the front) the City of London Forces Witness Team transactions and (in the back) the Finsbury S.A.C.A. transactions. Both were simple cash accounts.

    The S.A.C.A. a/c does not really concern the Team, although one grew out of the other. Collections were taken at meetings and after defraying any expenses the balance was paid over periodically to that Association.

    No vouchers were kept in respect of Team transactions. We saw each other almost every day and travelling expenses were paid over more or less as they were incurred.

    When the Team increased so greatly a new book was opened as from 1.1.1944 and entries in this book written into it."

    [Edwin Roberts' note at the back]

21.6.1942 Spruce Hill Baptist Church, Walthamstow. Receipts 10/-. Noted in "I.G.T. Cash Book" by Olaf Ellis

28.6.1942 Treaty Road Undenominational Church, Hounslow. Receipts 10/-. Noted in "I.G.T. Cash Book" by Olaf Ellis

17.7.1942: Army Scripture Readers & Soldiers' & Airmen's Christian Association. Royal Army Pay Corps. Finsbury Circus Branch accounts started by Olaf Ellis, who wrote:

    "For the first two years no accounts were kept, as the monthly offering was given to the caretaker of the meeting room with an occasional gift to S.A.C.A. Headquarters funds."

5.8.1942 Ferry Mission, Springfields. Receipts 5/-. Noted in "I.G.T. Cash Book" by Edwin Roberts who begins to make payments to team members and others from the account. Account maintained by Edwin Roberts from this point.

9.8.1942 Lansdown

19.8.1942 A.T.P.M.

30.8.1942 Sipson Baptists

Friday 4.9.1942 Hounslow Christian Band

6.9.1942 Alexandra Hall

4.10.1942 Mabberly Hall

24.10.1942 Muswell Park Hall

Saturday 31.10.1942 to Monday 2.11.1942 Weekend at Sunbury Court. Financial account in an old rent book.

Sunday 8.11.1942 Brook Street

Saturday 19.12.1942 Ashford Y.C.

6.2.1943 - 8.2.1943 Weekend at Sunbury Court. Financial account in an old rent book.

11.2.1943 Christian Herald "The London Forces Witness Team". T.W.R.

Faith for the Times Campaign

Ellis, F. T. no date (Editor) The Essentials of the Evangel "Addresses given during a six-day Congress on Evangelism, in the Kingsway Hall, under the auspices of the Faith for the Times Campaign. London, Pickering & Inglis Limited.

Glegg, A. L. 1944 (Editor) The Royal Albert Hall Campaign 1944. Under the auspices of the Faith for the Times Campaign. "Addresses given during a sixteen-days' campaign by the following team of speakers: Rev. T. M. Bamber, Mr A. Lindsay Glegg, Rev. Colin C. Kerr, Mr Robert A. Laidlaw, Rev Alan Redpath, Mr T. B. Rees". London, Pickering & Inglis Limited. Inscribed "To Eddie, In appreciation of your help and fellowship, and wishing you a happy Xmas, and God's richest blessing on the coming year. Bob. London 1941. Romans 8: 38-39.

These rallies in the Albert Hall were held from Saturday 8.4.1944 to Sunday 23.4.1944. Edwin Roberts' diary showed that he went to Albert Hall on Thursday 20.4.1944. There were air-raid planes over London on four nights during the campaign (12th, 14th, 18th and 20th) and a bus strike. On the final night there was not enough room in The Albert Hall.

United Nations (Forces) Witness Team

Flying bombs: Germany launched V1 rockets on Britain from 13.6.1944 and V2 rockets from 6.9.1944. There was a suspension in the London Team's activities. They reformed in September 1944 when they held some services at the London Embankment Mission, under the arches at Charring Cross. Joan Douglas, who lived at the Foreign Missions Club, invited Chas ("Chris") Christensen from the USA, and he invited Edwin and Harry to the Bible Class at the American base (Green Street). There they met Arnie Olsen who was active in the Bible Class and became active in the Team - Others from overseas joined the Team, and they became the United Nations Forces Witness Team. The following is a composite of records and recollections:

    "An effective liaison was established with an American Bible Class held in a G.I. billet in Mayfair" "I remember how Eddie and I first visited the Class.. We were squeezed into a room which was uncomfortably full and were at once electrified.." (Harry Young)

    Lieutenant Danny James (USA) rented a mews flat near Marble Arch [15 Quebec Mews - "Danny's Restaurant"], for many months, which was a base for the Team, and a place to drink tea. Edwin Roberts took his wife, Lily, once. He did not go very often - he was too busy with the Team's paperwork.

    The American part of the Team was always changing, as they were sent off to Europe and others came in. The British part did not have the same energy, and had domestic commitments, but they provided a continuation and an administration.

30.4.1944 to July 1945 Team Expenses - Travelling contains lists of places the team visited and who went.

8.11.1944: A letter from F.P. Brininger (Berean Central Fund, Amersham, Bucks) to Edwin Roberts acknowledges a

    "donation of £2 from Finsbury Circus Branch of the Army Scripture Readers and Soldiers' & Airmen's Christian Association, and also the Independent Gospel Team, to the "Chapel of the Opened Book", Wilson Street." "We are delighted to hear that...your numbers increased...We are glad to be in a position to provide facilities for you in the Chapel...Through corrosion inside the gas service pipes to the Chapel proper, we can get very little pressure on the central chandelier, so we are attempting to get electric light installed - we hope with not to great delay, but of course it is war time."

The American Bible Class

From the British point of view, the United Nations Witness Team was an outgrowth of a small Bible Class in the City of London. Americans and Canadians saw it as an outgrowth of a larger Bible Class they organised. Here is how The Maple Leaf - For Canadian Forces in Britain explained the origin of the Westminster Rally 18.8.1945:
    "The Rally is an outgrowth of the Wednesday night bible classes, which were started by a group of American GI's back in 1943. Although they are not generally publicised, the classes have attracted an ever-growing list of supporters, including men on leave in London from Europe who 'just happened' to hear about them".

    "The regular weekly bible study sessions, which are held in a U.S. lecture hall at 61 Green street, near the Marble Arch, attract between 150 and 200. Rather less than half of this number are servicemen and women of the Canadian, United States, Australian, New Zealand and British forces: the rest are civilians. But the program is conducted entirely by the soldiers, sailors and airmen themselves, and they do it without the benefit of padres"

Danny's Restaurant

Lieutenant Danny James (USA) rented a flat at 15 Quebec Mews where people met to drink tea. He had a notice in American army canteens inviting Christian men and women to ring him. People called it "Danny's restaurant". After he left the mews two others moved in to keep it going for a while.

Accounts of money collected and rent paid 30.7.1945 to 10.11.1945 suggest several people were contributing to the flat. The balance of money collected from them that was not paid as rent or expenditure (£23) was transferred to the UNFWT books on 15.11.1945.

On 5.11.1945, M. Katz of 42 Creswell Road, East Twickenham, gave one week's notice to D. Chittick Esq, 5 Quebec Mews, Marble Arch, W1, "to quit and deliver up to me, possession of the Furnished Rooms at the above address on Tuesday November 13th 1945"

On 7.1.1945 an eleven page, typed, list of names and addresses, "arranged first by Nations, then subdivided into States and Provinces under those Nations" was compiled and duplicated "from the guest book at the Apartment of Lieutenant Dan. J. James, U.S. Army, London, England. (Home address: 755 Seventh St., Charleston, Illinois). These are names of Christians whom the Lord has brought together for the purpose of His own." The nations are Australia, Canada, England, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Norway and the United States of America.

The American Forces Witness Team

Youth for Christ and other rallies

Youth for Christ in the United States started in 1943. In the United Kingdom the name seems to have been used (by the UNFWT) from the Summer of 1945. Here "Youth for Christ" grew out of, and extended the thanksgiving rallies of the UNFWT, mixed in with Tom Rees's rallies and then led to the "Revival in our Time" rallies.

In the USA, Youth for Christ was a music based movement, successfully using broadcasting and mass rallies to evangelise teenagers and people of service age. ("Bobby-soxers, soldiers, sailors, WAC's and WAVES" Service 1946). It is said to have started independently in different parts of the USA in 1943. Torrey Johnson was the founder in Chicago, his song leader was Bob Cook. In 1945 the size of USA rallies reached figures like 30,000 (in football stadiums). Jack Wyrtzen, an "insurance man and ex-jazzplayer" ran "Word of Life" rallies and radio in New York, which was "short-waved around the world". ( Service 1946).

A feature of the USA campaigns was that live radio was part of the rally for (initially) half an hour. At some later rallies people sang along with radio for an hour and a half. I do not think this was a feature of London rallies, although Jack Wyrtzen appears to have used it on his visit to London in 1946.

Billy Graham was a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, where "singing the great old hymns... and the more recent gospel songs and choruses" was "an important part in the lives of students". In 1941 Alfred B. Smith of Wheaton College issued the first Singspiration book of Gospel Songs and Choruses. Whilst a student, Billy Graham, and his soloist George Beverley Shea, ran a radio programme and church services. He joined Youth for Christ in 1943. In 1949 Billy Graham ran a campaign in Los Angeles with up to 10,000 people attending nightly for eight weeks.

The ideas of Youth for Christ came to Britain with the American and Canadian service men and women who became part of the United Nations Witness Team. The leaders of the USA movement, including Billy Graham, followed in 1946.

The first poster below is for a meeting of the Team in September 1944. The Team members who went were Edward, K. [Kelly]; Harry [Young]; Gordon [Gooderson]; Tom [Chalmers]; Bob P. [Pearson]; Lt [Keith] McGowan; Don SP [Spencer], Chuck [Chas Christensen] and Arnold [Watson]. Edwin Roberts was visiting Lily and Andrew Roberts in Warrington, where they (we) had gone to escape flying bombs.


at 6.30 p.m.


It seems clear enough that the Victory and the Peace spoken of were spiritual. The Allied Forces in Europe declared physical victory in May 1945. Tuesday 8.5.1945 was VE Day in Britain.

Writing about the team in the 1990s, David Powell said:

Soon after, the United Nations Forces Witness Team held its first big rally. A circular dated "May 1945" was sent from 35 Estelle Road, Gospel Oak, NW3 (Edwin Roberts address) headed UNITED NATIONS FORCES WITNESS TEAM (formerly) City of London Forces Witnes Team and signed "With Christian Greetings, Yours in His Service, E. Roberts (Britain), C.A. Christensen (U.S.A.), B. McKenzie (Canada), B.A. Pearson (Australia).

    "Victory in Europe has filled us all with joy and gladness. it will, however, mean swift and sudden changes for many of the servicemen in the European theatre. Before the United Nations Forces Witness Team is dispersed, as it may be soon, it is hoped to hold a Thanksgiving Rally on June 2nd the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, Shaftesbury Avenue (near Oxford St end)...We extend a warm invitation to the many friends of the Team to join us in expressing our gratitude to God for his goodness, in demonstrating our unit in Christ, and in an act of consecration to Him. We are especially hoping that members of the congregations we have visited will be able to come. Perhaps you can arrange to come as a party. we shall be sending out a printed pamphlet giving further details in the course of the next few days."





Saturday, June 2nd, 1945
At 6.45 p.m.

R.W. MCADAM, Esq., B.Sc., Acton
Rev. ALAN REDPATH, Richmond

Testimonies, Special Singing and Reports


The Thanksgiving Rally at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church was convened at two week's notice:

    Nearly a thousand people attended... We met to say 'Farewell'; we left with a challenge to go forward, to close in upon the enemy and win the Youth of London for Christ!'

Between VE day and VJ day, Edwin Roberts and family moved from 35 Estelle Road to an upstairs flat at 27 Mayfield Road, Hornsey, N8. This became the secretarial headquarters of the UNWT, as well as my nursery.

A circular dated "August 1945" was sent from Mayfield Road, signed Edwin Roberts, Corresponding Secretary, that said

    "we have had the vision of another Rally but with this difference - we are exercised that this should be a great Gospel meeting especially aimed at winning the youth of today for Christ. This "Youth for Christ" Rally is arranged for Saturday August the Westminster Chapel, Buckingham Gate".
Another (undated) circular about the same rally urges "saved" people to bring "unregenerated young people". It is signed , Edwin Roberts, Bob McKenzie, C.A. Christensen, Harry Young.

On 6.8.1945 allied aircraft dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, laying the city waste. Another was dropped on Nagasaki on 9.8.1945. Wednesday 15.8.1945 was officially VJ day in Britain. Members of the team were at Harry Young's church in Sunbury on VJ day. Andrew and Lily Roberts went as well, and (we) were given a female ginger kitten called Floss. On his way to a (business?) meeting in Westminster afterwards, Edwin Roberts passed the crowds celebrating outside Buckingham Palace. Sunday 19.8.1945 was an official day for national thanksgiving.

Saturday 18.8.1945 Youth for Christ rally in Westminster Chapel. About 2,000 attended.

On the opening Saturday of this campaign, Lindsay Glegg introduced Tom Rees as "Atomic Tom". This was meant as a compliment.

    Friday evening was one that will live long in the memories of many. Before the advertised time of the meeting the hall was filled. The platform and choir seats were occupied by members of the Forces, and Allied flags draped the sides and rear of the orchestra. The first hour was given over to the United Nations Forces Witness Team, a movement that had previously shown that it had captured the imagination of some thousands of young people. The chairman, in a few businesslike sentences, announced that they had come to tell what Christ meant to them while on Active Service. They were convinced that Christ alone had a message for "this poor old world".

    A young American officer led the assembly in the singing of Gospel choruses, and an American major conducted a uniformed choir in singing, "Saved to tell others of the Man of Galilee". A quartet of U.S. Service men also sang twice.

    Then came seven personal testimonies, introduced by the chairman as "Round the world in ten minutes". The first was a Canadian in khaki, who affirmed how proud he was that his name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life. He was followed by a Tasmanian airman, and then in quick succession a soldier from Toronto, an American soldier, a New Zealand airman, a W.A.A.F, from Lancashire, and a U.S. officer from Boston, told how Christ had saved them.

    When, at 7.30, Mr Rees resumed charge of the meeting, he said that as hundreds had been turned away they had arranged for the United Nations' Forces Team to come again on the following Thursday, September 20.

October 1945: Youth for Christ continues under auspices of the formally constituted United Nations Forces Witness Team

United Nations (Forces) Witness Team
Formal organisation and Minutes from 1.10.1945

Minutes of Team Meetings: 1.10.1945; 3.12.1945; 1.1.1946; 22.1.1946; 2.2.1946; 12.2.1946; 8.3.1946; 25.3.1946; 30.3.1946; 14.5.1946; 20.5.1946; 24.7.1946; 27.3.1947; 20.12.1948; July 1950.

The meeting on 1.10.1945, at Havelock House, was called to coordinate four activities:

Edwin Roberts reported on the UN team, Don Chittick on the American team and on Youth for Christ, Chas Christensen (Chris) on the Bible Class.

An Executive Committee was formed to coordinate these activities under the title United Nations Forces Witness Team. At the 1.1.1946 meeting, it was decided that the name would be United Nations Witness Team

An undated circular was sent from Mayfield Road announcing the rally at Westminster Chapel on Saturday October 13th 1945. Leaflets and a poster were enclosed. It was signed Edwin Roberts (Britain), Harry Young (Britain), Bob McKenzie (Canada), Chas N. Christensen (U.S.A.), Robert Pearson (Australia).

    " Westminster Chapel in August and at Central Hall on the two occasions that the Team was privileged to assist Mr T.B. Rees, real blessing resulted and many were converted. Indeed, the same spirit of revival has marked all our meetings of late. To God be the Glory."

(By Kind Permission)

AT 6.45 P.M.

Conducted by Servicemen from

Testimonies, Special Music and the Address
by Team Members


Westminster Chapel is close to St. James Park Station.
Buckingham Gate is a turning of Victoria Street, Westminster.

13.10.1945 Westminster Chapel Rally: nearly 3,000 attended.

A circular dated "October 1945" was sent from Mayfield Road saying there would be a series of "Youth for Christ" meetings sposored by the team "between now and November 24th (D.V.)". It was signed R. Mc Kenzie (Canada), C.N. Christensen and D.Chittick (U.S.A.), M. Kendon (New Zealand), G.S. Gooderson and E. Roberts (Britain).

for C H R I S T
      Held Saturday Evenings and
      sponsored by the United
      Nations Forces Witness
      Team. There will be
      Choruses, Special Music,
      Testimonies and a sound
      Gospel Message. The time
      is 7 o'clock and the place
      is MEMORIAL HALL on
      Oct.6-20-27 & Nov.3-10-17-24

Nearest Tubes: - Chancery Lane, St. Pauls & Farringdon Street.

A circular dated "December 1945" was sent from Mayfield Road saying there would be a further series of "Youth for Christ" meetings in Westminster Chapel on Saturdays 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th December. It was signed G.Brough, R. Mc Kenzie, G.S. Gooderson, E. Roberts, M. Kendon, H. Young.

Saturday 15.12.1945 Youth for Christ Rally, Westminster Hall
Collection £52..10..04. Signed for by W.R. Dodd and F. Tuck


A circular dated "January 7th 1945" was sent from Mayfield Road saying there would be "Youth for Christ" meetings in Westminster Chapel on each Saturday of the month. It was signed G.Brough, R. Mc Kenzie, G.S. Gooderson, E. Roberts, M. Kendon, H. Young.

    "It is hoped that the last Saturday (January 26th) will be an "all services" evening, and the speaker will be Wing Commander Gregson, R.A.F., who has served the Lord as a chaplain in Canada and Burma."

The following handbill does not have a year. From the entries in Edwin Roberts diaries for January, I think it relates to January 1946

for C H R I S T
      once again presents "Youth
      for Christ" ..... every
      Saturday evening in January
      special music! Come on
      along ... you'll enjoy it!!
       The time is 6.45 p.m.

Diary Tuesday 1.1.1946: "Team Committee (H.H.)"

Saturday 5.1.1946 Youth for Christ Rally
Collection £32..08..00. Signed for by Edwin Roberts and F. Tuck

Diary Saturday 5.1.1946: "Y.F.C. Rally. Francis Dixon spoke. Grand!"

Diary Sunday 6.1.1946: Note that Andrew (me) was "much better" (I was in hospital) and that Iris Floyd stayed with us over the weekend.
"Team at Treaty Road".

Diary Monday 7.1.1946: Note that Harry and Joyce Young had a son.

Diary Tuesday 8.1.1946: "Team meeting at C.S.C.U."

Saturday 12.1.1946 Youth for Christ Rally
Collection £29..18..00. Signed for by W.R. Dodd, C.E. Vernon and Edwin Roberts

Saturday 19.1.1946 Youth for Christ Rally
Collection £28..10..9. Signed for by Edwin Roberts and W.R. Dodd

Saturday 26.1.1946 Youth for Christ Rally
Collection £30..6..6. Signed for by W.R. Dodd and G.B. ****

[16.2.1946 Westminster Hall]

Diary Sunday 17.2.1946: "Free Sunday - No Team Meeting".

March 1946, see Civil Service Christian Union
Fredk. A. Tatford (Editor of Harvester, a Brethren magazine, was editor of the CSCU magazine Service and a promoter of the Revival in Our Time rallies that followed on from the UNWT.

Tom Rees Mass Meetings 1946. Programme from the "Programme and Hymns", price 6d.



February 2, 9, 16, 23, March 2 and 9, at 6.30 p.m.


Leader: Thomas B. Rees

February 2

Guest Speaker: Rt. Rev. C.M. Chavasse, O.B.E., M.C., D.D., Bishop of Rochester.

To start you Thinking - The Christian and Career
Preb. Colin. C. Kerr, M.A., H.C.F.

Question Time
The Rev. F. Donald Coggan, M.A., D.D.

February 9

Guest Speaker: Rev. Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.R.C.P.

To start you Thinking - The Christian and Marriage
Mrs W. Mainwaring-Burton

Question Time
The Rev. Bryan S. W. Green, B.D.

February 16


To start you Thinking - The Christian and Business
John W. Laing

Question Time
The Rev. Dr. W.E. Sangster, M.A.

February 23

Guest Speaker: Stephen F. Olford

To start you Thinking - The Christian and Money
Frederick N. Martin

Question Time
A Lindsay Glegg, A.C.G.I., A.M.I.E.E.

March 2

Guest Speaker: Mrs Commissioner Hugh Sladen, S.A.

To start you Thinking - The Christian and Spare Time
The Rev. F. Noel Palmer, M.A., B.D.

Question Time
The Rev. Ronald J. Park

March 9

Guest Speaker: The Rev. Alan Redpath, A.C.A.

To start you Thinking - The Christian and Full Time Service
The Rev. Guy H. King, A.K.C.

Question Time
The Rev. Paul Rowntree Clifford, M.A.

Music The singing will be led by a Massed Girl's Choir led by Madoc Davies

Quartette Soprano: Joyce Silcox, Tenor: W. Collins, Contralto: Josephine M. Wyton, Bass: W.F. Pickering.

Organist Geoffrey R. Brough. A member of the United Nations Forces Witness Team.

Pianist B. Heather Brown.

March 1946. The team of Torrey Johnson, from American Youth for Christ, were entertained by Tom Rees. One of them was Billy Graham. Edwin Roberts said that he met Billy Graham at a London station when he first came to the United Kingdom. Billy Graham's next journey to Britain may have been in 1952

A circular dated "March 14th 1946" was sent from Mayfield Road announcing "our next Rally"" on Saturday March 30th at Westminster Chapel. It was signed Geoffrey R. Brough, Robert McKenzie, Gordon S. Gooderson, Edwin Roberts, Murray Kendon, Harry Young.

Saturday 30.3.1946 Rally
Collection £31..16..00. Signed for by F. Tuck and W.R. Dodd

A circular dated "2nd April 1946" was sent from Mayfield Road about preparing a team of personal for a further series of Youth for Chist Rallies in the spring and summer. It was unsigned.

    "The work would involve leading inquirers to Christ and assisting the Stewards in directing inquirers to the inquiry rooms at the close of the gatherings. Attendance at a "personal workers preparation meeting" is regarded as essential to new workers and highly desirable for all."

A circular dated "April 15th 1946" was sent from Mayfield Road announcing rallies in Westminster Chapel "on each of the six Saturdays commencing with April 27th". It was signed Geoffrey R. Brough, Robert McKenzie, Gordon S. Gooderson, Edwin Roberts, Murray Kendon, Harry Young.

Saturday 27.4.1946 Youth For Christ Rally
Collection £12..5..00. Signed for by *.*. Smith and F. Tuck. Mostly handed to Mr Marsh.

Saturday 4.5.1946 Youth For Christ Rally
Collection £14..12..06. Signed for by G.E. Vernon and F. Tuck. Mostly handed to Mr Marsh.

Saturday 11.5.1946 Youth For Christ Rally
Collection £11..15..00. Signed for by A.S. Ellison and F. Tuck. Mostly handed to Mr Marsh.

Victory Tract Club and the end of Youth for Christ

15.5.1946 Circular from 27 Mayfield Road:

Saturday 18.5.1946 Youth For Christ Rally
Collection £19..00..6. Signed for by G. Gooderson and F. Tuck. Mostly handed to Mr Marsh.

A circular dated "May 23rd 1946" was sent from Mayfield Road announcing a THANKSGIVING RALLY in Kingsway Hall on June 8th ("Victory Day"). It was signed Geoffrey R. Brough, Robert McKenzie, Gordon S. Gooderson, Edwin Roberts, Murray Kendon, Harry Young.

    "The enclosed leaflets will give you some idea of the splendid work that is being done in U.S.A. by Mr Jack Wyrtzen, who is in fellowship with the assemblies in New York. Mr Wyrtzen will be the speaker on June 8th (D.V.)"

Saturday 25.5.1946 Youth For Christ Rally
Collection £23..12..7. Signed for by Edwin Roberts and F. Tuck. Mostly handed to Mr Marsh.

A circular dated 29.5.1946 was sent from Mayfield Road announcing the end of the United Nations Witness Team:

    Dear ....

    At a team Conference held at "Havelock House" on Tuesday, May 18th, the following resolution was passed:-

    That the United Nations Witness Team should be brought to an orderly conclusion at a time and in a manner to be agreed by the Team Executive, and that the members of the Team should in the meanwhile be exercised as to the Lord's Will regarding future service.

    The following were present: Doug. Beatty, Gordon S. Gooderson, Alan Morrell, George Summers, Geoffrey R. Brough, Nigel Howarth, Charles Parker, Joy Westbrook, Graham Cox, Murray Kendon, Eddie Roberts, Harry Young. Stanley Ellison, Robert McKenzie, Trevor Strong, Peter Harris, Ray Pestell, Mr. F.A. Tatford.

    ...the Team Executive... will report their plans to a meeting of the Team at an early date. Members living in the London area will be notified individually of this meeting.

    ...the Rally on June 8th is to be our last Rally... If you live in the London area or if you will be in London on Saturdays June 1st and 8th, we hope you will come along... On June 8th (Victory Day) please wear uniform.

    It is proposed that those of us who have had such wonderful fellowship together during the past three or four years should keep in touch with each other through the medium of a "News Letter". This will be circulated only to Team members and a few friends, and it is hoped to include in each issues a News Item from each person concerned.

    I should like to publish the first issue during July...

Saturday 1.6.1946 Youth For Christ Rally
Collection £22..11..1. Signed for by *.*. Vernon and *. ****. Mostly handed to Mr Marsh.

Saturday 8.6.1946 United Nations Witness Team "Thanksgiving Rally" at Kingsway Hall.
Collection £67..16..0. Signed for by J.W. Linton and D. Smales

Letter from Bill Baum, Kansas City, 21.8.1946:

    Dear Ed... I got out of the Army on Febr. 9. 46., after having been stationed in Germany awhile, and visiting the Youth for Christ meetings at Frankfurt various times... Since May I'm back in Kansas City, doing some photography of my own (it was my profession before entering the service), and becoming quite active in the local Youth for Christ rallies. I attended the national or rather international convention of Youth for Christ at Medicine Lake near Minneapolis in July. By the way, Gabin Hamilton was there, and all our national leaders, including Billy Graham, who will come to England again this fall."

Letter from John Pierce, Lubbock, Texas, 21.8.1946:

    Dear Eddie, Harry and others,

    "I was quite interested in the letter in the May issue of the Harvester concerning the Youth for Christ team which went to England, and was glad to hear the opinion of the Team concerning them. In general, we had the idea here that the message as given out by Jack Wyrtzen might glorify man less and God more."

Letter from Harvey Klase, Pensylvania, 31.10.1948:

    Dear Eddie,

    "Remember Jack Wyrtzen who was over with us in London. Well I went to his "Word of Life Rally" on June 19 in Yankee Stadium. There were about 52,000 people there and 1,100 gave their hearts to Jesus at the invitation. (The stadium seats 75,000). In London we broadcasted for a half hour, but there it was an hour and a half (From 8.00p.m to 9.30 p.m.) We had a wonderful time in the Lord there. I was also at one of his Rallies in Philadelphia in April, and the place was packed with 20,000."

Revival in Our Time

    The end of the war dispersed the members of the team to all parts of the world but some of them remained in the London area. A small handful of enthusiasts, firmly convinced that it was not the Divine will that the experience gained during the war years should be dissipated, and believing that revival is a present-day possibility, joined in prayer and fellowship with others who were like-minded. Out of this sprang, inter alia, a series of Rallies at Westminster Chapel, London, in September 1946 under the title "Revival in our Time" (or RIOT, as the more facetious subsequently called it)."

The first Revival in Our Time circular from Mayfield Road is dated "11th July 1946". It makes it clear that the new organisation is based on Christian Brethren Assemblies - even though it grew out of the non- denominational United Nations Witness Team - and that the immediate purpose was not evangelistic.

Hymn Sheets: "Revival in our Time". Saturday Evening Rallies in Westminster Chapel, SW1. Every Saturday in September 1946, at 6.0 p.m.

Revival in Our Time Edited by Fredk. A. Tatford, Litt.D. Paternoster Press 1947 contains amended addresses from September 1946 by C.E. Stokes, A. Rendle Short, Harry Young, Fredk. A. Tatford, J.B. Watson, Montague Goodman, Alan G. Morell and Stephen F. Olford.

    "It is hoped to hold further rallies during 1947 (D.V.), leading up to an evangelistic campaign in the metropolis (and possibly to other efforts elsewhere) during the winter of 1947-48. Details will be published in the various Christian periodicals, but in the meantime, enquiries and gifts may be sent to Mr. Edwin Roberts, 27 Mayfield Road, Hornsey, London, N.8"
12.5.1947 Revival in Our Time

29.10.1947 Revival in Our Time Rallies for Old and Young

13.11.1947 Revival in Our Time Rallies for Old and Young
Follow up on 29.10.1947

Revival in Our Time. A Call to Christians "Notes of a special meeting held by Representatives of the Assemblies of London in the Lecture Hall at the Westminster Central Hall on November 21st 1947. Speakers: H.F.R. Catherwood, W.W. Velacott, J.R. Watson". Chaired by J.W. Laing. Copies from the Secretary, Edwin Roberts, 27 Mayfield Road, Hornsey, London, N.8

March 1948 Revival in Our Time Rallies for Old and Young

United Nations Witness Team Sipson Reunion July 1948

12.6.1948 Circular from 27 Mayfield Road suggesting a reunion at Sipson Baptist Church (Pastor Harry Young) on the weekend of 3.7.1948/5.7.1948. A later circular (no date) gives details of the arrangements for the weekend.

United Nations Witness Team Hildenborough Hall Reunion December 1948

Hildenborough Hall is the Christian Conference Centre opened by Tom Rees in a Kent mansion house at the end of 1945. The Team Reunion was the weekend of 4.12.1948/4.12.1948. Edwin Roberts travelled to Hildenborough with Tom Mullen on Friday 3.12.1948, went to Sevenoaks Morning Meeting with Tom and Iris Floyd on the Sunday, and returned to London overnight.

Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church
LONDON   .   W.C.1


Saturday, April 9th, 1949
6.15 - 8.15 p.m.

"The Need of Revival"

"The Way of Revival"



August 1949 Revival in Our Time

    "For the past three years, rallies under the above title have been held from time to time at Westminster Chapel and at Bloomsbury Central Church"

United Nations Witness Team Members in the United Kingdom

23.11.1949: From Metcalfe Collier to Edwin Roberts, returning a copy of the names and addresses of 41 members and 9 "Other ex-servicemen and women". At the back of the
UK Letters File

Circular 8.10.1955 MOUntview 9880 "Dear... You will be pleased to hear that Iris Floyd expects (D.V.) to sail on 9th November for Africa..."

United Nations Witness Team Undated

UK Letters File

Loose leaf blue file made from covers of the Team Book, with a place for letters from members of the United Nations Witness Team. Earliest is probably Charles Parker 14.12.1944 with a humorous complaint that he has not heard from Tom Chalmers, Harry Young or Cecil Smith. The majority of letters are around 1950 when team members were asked to help disperse unsold copies of the Team Book.

1994 Reunion

Washington 1994. Harry Young's report to the Sunbury Reunion (October 1995) on the reunion in Washington, last October, of the United Nations (Forces) Witness Team.

Fairfax House is a name that will be etched forever in the memories of all who were privileged to attend the re-union of the United Nations Witness Team. It is the HQ of China Outreach Ministries, situated in the woodlands of Virginia, about 20 miles from Washington. This excellent guest house has been created by volunteers over a period of seven years, beautifully appointed and sumptuously furnished by generous donors. It exists to reach out to Chinese intellectuals who are travelling to the United States in very large numbers to be educated in American Universities, but who are also disillusioned with Marxism and are seeking "something to believe in". Our hosts were Robert and Debbie Walz. Robert, a physically small man, we soon discovered to be a spiritual giant. Debbie combined great gifts of communication, with superb catering skills.

As we gathered on Monday, the 3rd of October, we were moved beyond words to meet again, after 50 years, many with whom we had been associated in the team, together with those whom we had met in the intervening years. The atmosphere of warmth, enthusiasm and fellowship was instantly re-created; our cup of joy overflowed. This event was surely going to be a foretaste of Heaven!

At the very beginning, tribute was paid to Roy Snyder who had begun the process of organising the re-union and it was a cause for thanksgiving that although his plans for a meeting in England in 1994 were frustrated, his labour was not in vain. Danny James took up the challenge and with his usual gracious persistence and organising ability, the re-union was soon to become a reality after all. One after another, from the first day until the end, expressed their gratitude to Danny and Ann and realised that it was Danny's gift for approaching others with an inoffensive charm and courtesy that had introduced them to the Team half a century ago. Danny's flat, 5 Quebec Mews, in the heart of London - his "little tea room" was the "birth-place" as well as the meeting place for so many from all parts of the world.

Chuck Christensen was our chairman and in his safe hands and with his ever- present smile, he led us admirably, and especially, as of old, in the singing of many of the hymns and choruses that were such a feature of the Team's Ministry in London. "Saved to tell others", our theme song, and an improvised quartet, revived many memories of great occasions when such harmonies were applauded in London - not forgetting the trumpet sounds of George Anderson, as true and clear as ever.

Harry and Joyce Young together with Eddie Roberts were received with warmth and affection. In his welcome speech, Harry used Paul's words from Philippians, chapter 1. "I thank God in all my remembrance of you --- making prayer with joy." "I hold you in my heart", he continued with much emotion. He paused to congratulate Danny on re-inventing the English language! "You - all" was hardly elegant, but at least it was economical and as for "Bio" - wasn't this a plant food? However, in trying to recall a Don Chittick joke, Harry forgot the punch-lines!

Chris and Winnie each contributed to our morning devotions and these were much appreciated. In "Green and Growing" Chris (as we always knew him in London) reminded us of the importance of keeping our spiritual life fresh and fruitful. Old age did not mean a wasting and withering of our prayer life, our love and service for the Lord. Winnie touched our hearts deeply with her reminder always to pray for and continue to love our adult children, and Chris in his final talk urged us still to minister in the local church.

With even-handed skill, our chairman invited one and another at each session to give testimony to what the Lord had accomplished in their lives - stories told with honesty and humour and all within a very elastic 300 seconds. There were some special moments as when Bob MacKenzie, so bravely coping with increasing infirmity recounted his famous talk on "The Gospel in a Nutshell." The leader of the meeting - his identity revealed by his blushes - had prayed, "Lord, bless the message from this nut!" Bob Pearson who travelled from "the ends of the earth" gave us a lovely mini-sermon on the grace, the goodness and glory of the Lord. Leslie Rainey was his ebullient and irrepressible self; Harvey Klase provoked hysterical laughter with his spontaneous and almost unconscious humour and Johnny Pierce (alas - only a day visitor) inserting a lovely story from outer space - the reluctance of space-walkers to return to the capsule because of the sheer tranquillity in a world beyond our own. "Be still and know that I am God" are the words that came to mind. Other testimonies were equally effective and greatly enjoyed.

Our gracious guest of honour was Dr Richard Halverson, Chaplain to the Senate, whose meditation centred on the words of Jesus "Who believes in me, will also do the works that I do and greater works than these will he do" (John, Chapter 14, Verse 12). This was followed by the commemoration of those who had died, Harold Shaw and Geoffrey Brough being specially remembered, and a truly memorable service of Holy Communion.

Another wonderful event was the reception in the home of Danny and Ann when a delightful buffet was provided and many photographs were taken. Other outings included a day tour in Washington by Tour-mobile, starting at the Arlington cemetery, a visit to the battlefield of Manassas and memorials of the Civil War, and inevitably shopping expeditions to nearby Malls.

Harry was privileged to have the last word, based on 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, How living to please God involved progress, holiness, quietness and readiness■ for the coming of the Lord■which, he tenderly reminded us, was personal at our departing as well as that day and hour which no-one but the Father knows.

As we farewelled, it was with thankfulness for a re-union far exceeding all our expectations and the confident hope that a re-union in London in 1995 might after all, come to pass. Which it has.

1995 Reunion

I have pleasure in sending you a report, written by Ida and David Powell, of the United Nations Witness Team Reunion held at Sunbury Court from 2nd to 6th October 1995. Edwin Roberts, 27 Jacqueline Gardens, Billericay, Essex.

Fairfax House. Virginia October l994 ■ Sunbury Court on the River Thames October l995. Those who were in the Team may be 50 years older than they were in l945, but they are still great travellers! ■as evidenced by those present, who came from Canada, the USA, Holland, Scotland and England.

Sunbury Court, which is the main Salvation Army Conference Centre, is a beautiful l7th Century country mansion in equally beautiful grounds. One of its main attractions is a magnificent chandelier, with 3,000 cut glass facets. The walls of the dining room are decorated with panel paintings of the l8th Century period, and the food served to us there will be long remembered for its excellence. Apart from the comfortable meeting rooms, there was a large sun lounge where we were able to relax, chat and enjoy light refreshments.

The majority of those attending arrived on Monday afternoon. We were greeted warmly by Harry and Joyce Young and given a beautiful programme, complete with photographs of 1945, which Christopher Young had prepared for us. You can picture the joy with which each new arrival greeted old friends, some of whom had not met since the end of the war and the feeling of anticipation for all the good things we were about to enjoy together was very evident. From these first moments together there was a wonderful sense of the presence and blessing of the Lord.

The chosen theme was finishing the course with joy (Acts 20:24). Edwin Roberts welcomed us all at our first evening of worship and celebration, led by Harry Young. Joan Kenyon (nee Hall) and Iris Grottick sang to us. One song was Let me dream on which brought back many memories. Ben Taylor gave a moving testimony from his wheelchair and Pee Wee Sorensen told us about the short-term missions he and his wife undertake in such places as India, Mexico and the slums of Atlanta. This was followed by a message from Harry from Paul's farewell address to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:24, but see also Psalm 72:12-15).

Each day began with prayer. Various team members led morning by morning and this proved to be a time of great blessing. After this we breakfasted and then moved on to enjoy the morning Bible Hour. These were times of refreshment and encouragement from the Psalms. Les Rainey led us into Psalm 91, warming our hearts as he encouraged us to learn to "dwell in the secret place of the most High". Alan Morrell, who introduced Psalm 139, also led us in singing, with exactly the same enthusiasm he had in the old days. George Summers, on Psalm 133, and Sandy Morrison, on Psalm 1, each brought a powerful and encouraging message. What a feast!

At one of our evening services, Iris Floyd/Nascrimento shared her life story with us. She recounted how, in the blackout, she came to attend an American Forces Bible Study in Green Street. That evening she came to faith in Jesus, kneeling by a dust bin on the way to 5 Quebec Mews! She shared how she became a nurse/missionary in Angola, often having to fulfil the role of a doctor in very trying circumstances. Iris testified to the Lord's faithfulness in apparently impossible circumstances, and asked for our prayers for what is probably her final period of full time service abroad. Iris also sends her thanks for the gift of £250 made to her from the Communion offering.

One very special evening was devoted to personal testimonies. Testimonies were given by Danny James, Arny Olsen (who had only recently lost his wife) and Alan Morrell. Each spoke of the wonderful blend, when the Team were together, of British maturity and American enthusiasm! We heard moving testimony from Bob McKenzie, recorded for us last Easter, in which he reminded us that God's grace is sufficient for us in all circumstances. George Summers came next and then Charles Parker who was one of the original team members. He said that his time with the Team had been a time of training for future church leadership. Sandy Morrison shared with us the heart rending story of how, in the war, a young newly trained radar officer was ordered to take Sandy's place on the next Russian arctic convoy, while Sandy took compulsory compassionate leave after having been torpedoed. The young man was lost on that convoy and Sandy likened it to Jesus dying in our place.

So much more could be related regarding this testimony time, if only space would permit.

We prayed for those who are suffering with ill health and those who have lost loved ones, that the Lord will comfort and strengthen them, that they may know His presence in a very real way.

Our times away from Sunbury Court were all special. First our visit to Hampton Court, so full of history and beauty, then our visit to the Royal Borough of Kingston. Here we were privileged to meet the Mayor & Mayoress of Kingston who gave us an official welcome to the Borough, a truly special occasion which included lunch in the Baptist Church and a short service. And there was also time to visit the many lovely shops in Kingston. But, surely the most memorable visit was to Westminster Chapel, where the Team witnessed to Jesus so often at the end of the war. We were given time to quietly look around and then went up into the pulpit we remembered so well, and sang as we used to the theme song of the Team We are saved, Saved to tell others followed by Christ for Me. There was hardly a dry eye. Dr R.T. Kendall, the present Minister at the Chapel, came in to hear us and was visibly moved. Afterwards we went into a side room and he spoke very movingly about the privilege it was to have us there and that he felt Westminster Chapel had been visited by Angels that day! He also went on to say that although our theme was finishing the course with joy, we are certainly not finished yet. The proof being that we are still here on earth, the Lord still has much for us to do in serving Him. His message was to keep going, "You're not finished yet!" We were then given lunch at the Chapel.

As we travelled by bus and underground trains many of the team, true to form, found opportunities of sharing the gospel with those around them. Surely the best confirmation that God has not finished our labours yet!

On our last evening together, the Rev. Arthur Thompson, former President of the London Baptist Association gave a powerful, yet sensitive word, which included his own testimony, finishing on the note that soldiers of Christ do not die, they are promoted to glory. Harry then led us in a moving communion service, during which, Edwin read out the names of members of the team already promoted to glory. We stood to remember them in silence and prayer.

So much more could be said of this memorable time together, because the Lord was with us in a most remarkable way throughout the whole week. Those who were there will carry precious memories with them for the rest of their lives, and we trust that those of you who could not be with us will feel that in reading this report, you are sharing the joys we experienced. All the praise and all the glory is given to God for His graciousness to each one of us.

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American Bible Class

Army Scripture Readers

Billy Graham 1943
Billy Graham 1946

City of London Forces Witness Team

Danny's restaurant

Faith for the Times Campaign

Independent Gospel Team

Non Combatant Corps and conscientious objection

Revival in our Time

Tom Rees Campaign 1945
Tom Rees Campaign 1946

United Nations Forces Witness Team