Rescue Circles (31)
How Lord Dowding was led to investigate spiritualism and start his spirit rescue work. and more from Rex from 1916.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory was one
of the R.A.F. officers serving under Lord Dowding in
the Battle of Britain in 1940. He later became
Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Expeditionary Air
Forces under General Eisenhower in the Normandy
campaign. He was later appointed to direct the Allied
Air Forces in South-East Asia Command under Admiral
Lord Louis Mountbatten, and was flying with his wife
to India to take up the appointment when his aircraft
crashed into a mountainside in the French Alps,
killing both of them.
Some time later, Leigh-Mallory’s son Thomas came
anonymously for a sitting with Estelle Roberts,
placing a well-smoked pipe in her hands.
Estelle said: ‘The vibrations from this pipe are
strong and revealing. The man to whom it belonged
passed suddenly and unexpectedly to the Other Side.
He sends a message. He says: “We are both together.
Do not mourn for us. When the end came it happened
fast like this (I snapped my fingers). We heard it
come but did not feel it. We are grateful that we are
There followed some personal evidence which
revealed to me that my visitor was the spirit
speaker’s son. I asked the son: “Why does he show me
a mountain?” but before he could reply, I knew the
answer. “He was in an aeroplane,” I said. “It
crashed into the side of the mountain. He had your
mother with him. He gives no name, but I think he was
a well-known man. The next message is for me. It is
to say that on earth he experimented a little in
Spiritualism. He addresses you again. He wants you
to know that he and your mother tried to communicate
with you but failed.”
THOMAS LEIGH-MALLORY, THE SON How did they try?
ESTELLE By knocking. By striking the knocker of
your front door.
ESTELLE Within one or two days of their passing.
THOMAS There WAS such a knocking. I live in a
flat, and just before the newspapers published the
account of their death there was a continuous
hammering on my door. I went to see who was there,
but there was no one to be seen. Do they say where
they were going in the aircraft?
ESTELLE To engage in new work. To take up a new
appointment overseas. Now there is a message for Lord
Dowding. It is to tell him that your father will
speak to him soon in the direct voice.
THOMAS I will pass the message on.
ESTELLE Here is a message from your mother. She
says: “Give my love to my little girl. On the
anniversary of our passing we will come to talk
Thomas Leigh-Mallory published an account of his
sitting with Estelle Roberts, which he summed up in
the words: “I am convinced that survival after death
is an accomplished fact and not a fallacy as so many
people believe…I had the clearest evidence that my
parents still live on the Other Side and are the same
today as I knew them then.”
Thomas told Estelle that his father had been to a
medium twenty years earlier, in the 1920s, when he
tried to communicate with his brother George who was lost in
a snowstorm in an attempt to climb Mount Everest in June, 1924. His remains were finally discovered and buried during an expedition in May, 1999.
Later, Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, while serving under
Lord Dowding during the Battle of Britain in 1940, must have
talked with him about his experiments in Spiritualism,
when so many airmen were being killed. This
stimulated Lord Dowding’s own interest in the subject.
In addition to this, Margaret Flavell, the wife of one of his radar experts, happened to be a medium. After his retirement in 1941 he did much further reading about Spiritualism and psychic research, and came out with his book, “Many Mansions,” published by Rider and Company, in January, 1943. As he stated at the time, “This book contains an authoritative
account of spiritualistic evidences concerning life
beyond the grave.” It was only then, after much
favorable response to his writing, that he began to
attend séances for the first time in his life with
different mediums such as Mrs. Hill, Margaret Flavell
and Estelle Roberts; and so commenced his spirit
rescue work which has been the subject of this series
of 116 articles (to date). His last three books are
accounts of his own direct experience in communicating
with the Spirit World. [“Lychgate,” Rider and
Company.1945. “God’s Magic,” Spiritualist
Association of Great Britain. 1946. “The Dark Star,”
Museum Press Ltd. 1951.] He had read Vale Owen's books on the World Beyond when they were first published after World War I, but paid little further attention to Spiritualism during his busy service career. It was only after retirement that he had the time to investigate, and become convinced of the truth of its Principles.
Now we return to 1916, and Rex Ward’s
experiences after being killed in Northern France. He
talks to his brother Jack Ward about his conversations
with his uncle on the Other Side. These excerpts are
taken from the book “A Subaltern in Spirit-Land,” by
J.S.M. Ward, Psychic Book Club Ltd. c.1930.
REX After my uncle, H.J.L., had arrived, and you
had gone, he said:
UNCLE “Now Rex, you are on the astral plane.
You are still partly material, though you are now, as
it were, refined matter, the same as gas is compared
to solid matter. The astral plane impinges on the
earth plane, and partakes of its nature far more than
the plane of the spirits in which I properly dwell.
[H.J.L. is acting as a temporary guide for his nephew
until he gets settled in with his new life in the
Spirit World, and his regular guide can be located].
“The astral plane corresponds fairly well to the
idea of purgation, but the spirit plane contains what
you know as Hell, and also part of the lower Heavens,
but not the real high Heavens.
“In the astral plane you will find that you are
still subject to earth influences. It is usual to
speak as if earth influences are all to the bad, but
this is not so. Here you can redeem past failings by
doing good on the earth plane, and cleanse your spirit
of earthly faults, but also, of course, you can hanker
after forbidden earthly pleasures, and, in a dim
mockery of a way, can enjoy them [vicariously], but to
your bane. Here you can commit further sins, and,
finally, cause your soul to drop down into that part
of the spirit plane which is properly called Hell, and
from thence it is far harder to climb than from this
plane to the happy planes above.
“I said ‘properly called Hell,’ for there are
parts of this astral plane which, to the superficial
observer, appear very much like Hell. Still, this
will hardly surprise you, seeing even on earth itself
are to be found very close imitations of Hell. It is
natural that where evil people congregate, there a
condition will be found which approximates to Hell.
“The thing you have to do is to shun such
districts carefully, and especially avoid people of an
obviously evil nature. Those who suggest obsession,
and so forth, are to be avoided at all costs. You
know what obsession is, I perceive?”
REX Yes, Jack explained that to me once rather
UNCLE Unfortunately, your guide seems to have
drifted rather far from you, but, doubtless, we shall
rectify that in time. As you are a young man, you
will probably find that your astral form is a strong
one, and will last for a considerable time.
Therefore, you must prepare to stay here for a
considerable period, and, as it were, make it your
home. Further, you will find that the “earth pull” is
very strong, and you must resist it. Above all, you
must resist any temptations to obtain the old earth
pleasures by obsessing, and so forth. You will come
across a fair number of beings who will try to lead
you astray in this matter, just as on earth there are
always plenty of people ready to show a man the
shortest path to destruction; so be wary.
Again, you have separated your Guardian Spirit
from you by a wall of misdeeds, and so forth, and your
first work must be to dissolve that barrier by doing
good deeds, and especially by helping people both on
earth and here on this plane of existence.
Not that I mean to imply that you have not any
good deeds to your account. I know you have a great
many, but what we want are more, and especially
unselfish deeds. I mean that you should do things
that you don’t like for the sake of helping others.
Not merely doing things that your nature inclines you
to do. Thus, you are by nature fond of children, and
have many meritorious acts recorded on that score in
your favour. What you need to do is to make a special
effort, as it were, to level up that score in other
REX What is the geography of this place?
UNCLE All things that have material form have an
astral form. To this plane come the astral forms.
REX What, do you mean that if I made a toy, and it
was destroyed, I should find its astral form here?
UNCLE Yes, and when you come on to the plane of
pure form in the spirit plane you might find it there
also, unless, indeed, it was so ugly or so badly made
that it had gone to Hell!
REX Then we are like God, who is said to create
UNCLE Certainly, to create is Godlike. Thus
buildings which perish come here, and also to the
plane above. Here come animals, and trees and
flowers, rocks and landscapes and so forth.
REX But what is the difference of the forms or
bodies, on the two planes?
UNCLE It is easy for me to know the difference,
but not so easy to explain it, especially in the case
of inanimate objects.
Roughly, the form remains entangled in the astral
body for some time after the astral body escapes from
the material. This latter process on earth we call
Here, in the astral plane, the astral body goes
on, and is inhabited for some time by the soul which
is enclosed in the spiritual body or form.
In time, sooner or later, we “shed our astral
body.” This is the best phrase to describe this
Then, freed from the astral body, the soul rises
to the spirit plane, either to enter one of the three
divisions of light, or sink to the realms of darkness
From the divisions of light it passes through the
“great wall of fire,” and there loses its mixed form.
What happens after that I know not. But that is a
long way off for both you and me.
Now, when the “form” leaves the astral body the
latter continues to last often for a while, just as a
corpse does. In some cases it breaks up almost at
once, particularly in the cases of old people, whose
astral bodies have become worn out like their physical
ones. I am a case in point. I hardly realized I was
on the astral plane before my astral body dissolved
and I had passed on to the spirit plane.
But often, in the case of a young man, he cannot
get clear of his astral body.
If he goes in for obsessing, however, his
spiritual body seems to become too gross to remain in
the astral body, and shatters it, and he drops down to
Hell. On the other hand, if he does a lot of good his
spirit form will shake itself clear of the astral body
and rise to our plane. Then that astral body, now an
empty :shell,” may dissolve or may drift about
aimlessly. I have known cases where a “shell” has
hung round some old haunt of its earth life for
several centuries. Many of the famous ghosts which
haunt the country houses of Great Britain are of this
nature, though not all by any means. [see Derek
Acorah’s TV series, “Most Haunted” and “Ghost Towns”
and many “Haunted” series in the USA and “Rescue
Mediums” and “Creepy Canada.” here, and now some more
But most of those aimless, purposeless ghosts,
who simply turn up on certain anniversaries and do
nothing in particular, belong to this group.
As to animals, the highest types of animals,
those closely associated with man, often attain to our
realms, but the less human ones, as it were, seem to
remain more or less permanent on the astral plane,
e.g. lions and wolves, and most of the prehistoric
I have carefully said “more or less
permanently,” as I have not yet solved the problem as
to whether, after a while, they return to earth by the
road of reincarnation, and so progress. I rather
think some of them do, but that was one of the
subjects I was studying when I broke it off to come
and help you.
As to the inanimate, as we call it on earth, it
is well to realize that everything has life, even to
the tiniest atom; taking a house as an example: as
soon as destroyed, but not before, it comes to the
astral plane. Here it remains for a long time, as a
rule. So long as there are any astral beings on the
astral plane who knew it on earth, and recognize it,
there it will remain. When there are no longer any
such left, it fades away, and breaks up into astral
elements, just as its material elements on earth break
up and fall back into the general mass of matter.
From these astral elements new astral forms are always
being built up.
Then there are those astral beings who were never
on earth, but I’ll tell you about them at another
The form of a building, on the other hand, goes
straight to the realm of form, and from there, so far
as I can discover, remains for ever. According to its
beauty, it will go to the realms of light and to the
various divisions of them, or to Hell.
Even a building partly rebuilt will come to that
realm. Thus, Westminster Abbey may be seen in the
various stages of its development. Thus, also, on the
astral plane and on the spirit plane, one may see the
same building to all appearances. But the astral form
is temporary, and the spirit form fixed and permanent.
REX It’s wonderfully interesting, and I can see I
have a vast deal to learn!
UNCLE The first thing to do is to give you a
chance of settling down among these new surroundings,
and, above all, to get your thoughts off the
battlefield and such-like scenes. So, now, I’m going
to isolate you from all this. Indeed from the present
Then Rex described to Jack what happened to him
next while his uncle and another officer in spirit,
the Adjutant, listened too:
“Then we rose and started on a long and seemingly
endless journey, amid a thick fog, and overshadowed by
tumult and fear.
Every now and then I caught a fleeting glimpse of
the landscape, which steadily grew wilder and
stranger. I passed over what appeared to be great
ice-fields, and then through primeval forests across
tropic swamps, and on and on till life failed, till
even the strange monsters of prehistoric times ceased,
and a great silence settled on all. Slowly this
silence ate into my brain. At times it was almost
painful, and acted like a cauteriser, burning away the
hideous tangle of shattered nerves.
After a while this stage passed, and it began to
act like a soothing balm. Gradually my whole being
seemed to expand and drink it in, and my surroundings
grew clearer and plainer. I realized that I was
seated in the midst of a stony waste, where perpetual
Then, far away in the distance, I saw a faint
speck of light. It grew brighter and brighter, as if
it were approaching, but I could see no form. Yet I
knew at once there was a form, only distant from me an
As when, seated on a river’s bank some dark
night, one gazes down into the black waters and sees
just one star reflected there, and the dark waters
reflect not only the lone star, but also, in some
mysterious way, the vast space which lies between our
world and it – so it was now between me and my Guide.
Then, across the limitless space, came a sound
and a voice – like the note of a mighty organ far, far
away. It swelled and swelled as it grew nearer, and
finally it burst like a tempest upon me. Its music
was superb and yet and yet awful. In some such way I
could imagine the angels’ trump will sound at the last
day. If, indeed, there is a last day. Or is it, that
for me this was the “last day”, and this the trump of
the archangel calling me to judgment?
I know not. But in that manner I can best
describe the effect of that mighty cadence. The music
was exquisite, yet the pain was intense.
It burst on me and over me. It overwhelmed me
and shattered me. It beat me to the dust. Yet it was
articulate, and the words it spoke were words of
comfort and good cheer.
GUIDE My son, you have started on the right path.
You have broken down the outer darkness which shuts me
away from you. Go on and prosper little by little. I
shall draw nearer, and remember, though you may drive
me away from you, yet will I never desert you. I
cannot draw any nearer than this lest I overwhelm you
utterly. I see how even this first vision of me has
shattered and dazed you.
Grow strong in good works, in loving acts, in
unselfish thoughts, and so, as you grow more able to
bear the sight of the Glory, it shall be revealed to
Rex told Jack: “Slowly the cadence receded, and a
great silence took its place. I gazed on the lone
star, and it changed from white to blue and blue to
green, and green to orange, and orange to red, and red
to purple. The purple grew pale and became like
lavender, and the lavender was diffused with pink
which flashed into an extraordinary colour which
melted into silver.
Then waves of darkness rolled over my star, fold
by fold. I could see it no more. Slowly the wall of
the house became visible and then I saw my uncle
REX It’s impossible to describe that beautiful
colour, is it not?
UNCLE Yes, there is no such colour on earth. It
cannot be described.
Jack, who was out-of-body visiting the astral realms,
and the Uncle and another officer, an adjutant, in
spirit, had been listening to Rex’s account of his
OFFICER Youngster, that was the most wonderful
description I’ve ever heard. I felt that I was
actually witnessing the episode.
JACK So did I.
UNCLE So did we all, we saw the forms of his
thoughts. It is not so easy here as in the sixth
plane, where it is the normal thing, yet here it can
be done. Indeed, even on earth it is occasionally
done, so it is not surprising that it should be
Yes, Jack. Rex, by helping the Adjutant, has
helped himself. He has drawn a little nearer to his
guide. A good start. A good beginning – but there is
a long journey yet.
[Next episode: how Rex helped the Adjutant in
the Spirit World.] R.R.
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