Letter: Bishops in the House

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I knew Bishop Robert Martineau (obituary, 3 August) when he was a chaplain with the RAFVR in what was then Southern Rhodesia. He was the best chaplain I encountered in the services.

I came from a working-class background: my family did not believe that university education was for the likes of us and I was forced to take a clerical job in local government. I was determined not to return to it and realised that what I wanted to do was read history at university.

Padre Martineau knew the university world. He had had a distinguished career at Cambridge. He set out to build my confidence that I could do it and succeeded. He offered when the war was over (this was 1943) to help me get into Cambridge and told me how to get in touch with him. In the event I decided not to try for Cambridge and went to Manchester, my home town. I shall never forget his kindness and the skilful way he got me to believe that I could do it.


Salford, Greater Manchester