|11 Oct 2023
Reverend Paul Robert Carrington Abram was born in York on July 21, 1936. His father joined the Army as a Chaplain in 1940 and the family moved with him to Egypt, Aldershot, and Germany. He was first educated briefly at Hymers College when he was 9 years old, for two terms, before he moved to Egypt. As a result of moving around in his formative years due to his father's career, he attended several schools, both in the UK and overseas, before he returned to Hymers College in January of 1954, to complete his A Levels.
Again I went to Hymers, which was brilliant. Staying with Uncle Bob during term time I worked really hard to get into Oxford, and I would not have gone to Hymers if I had not passed that public examination at the age of nine. The school was only 450 strong, of which half were sons of trawler skippers for example, and paid their way, the other half had county or city awards, of which I was one. I eventually became Head of Bransburton House and, of course, a prefect.
From Rev. Paul Abram's Personal Memoir
Rev. Abram deferred a place at Keble College, Oxford to complete his national service with the East Yorkshire Regiment. After completing his national service, he attended Keble College from 1957, studying Geography and Law. Having been seconded to the Oxford University Contingent of the Officers' Training Corps (TA) in 1958, he completed a parachute training course designed for undergraduates of the OTC in 1959.
After receiving his degree at Oxford, Rev. Abram moved to a theological college in Chichester and he was ordained in 1962. His first curacy was at Redcar as an assistant to a parish priest, but he was determined to apply for the Royal Army Chaplains Department at the earliest opportunity.
In February 1966, Rev. Abram joined 3 PARA as padre, performing the marriage ceremonies for several paratroopers, and ended up doing 78 jumps. During this period of his life, he went to Australia, Libya, Malta and Cyprus:
Life is good in Malta. Very hectic, very busy, but it is great to have my own church.
However, the life of a paratrooper was not without danger for Rev. Abram. His former classmate, Lieutenant Colonel Pat Conn, OH 1951-59, recalls:
During a continuation night jump on Fox Covert DZ on Salisbury Plain, I came across Paul struggling to get out of his harness with his `chute draped over an electric fence which was live. I said that was a close shave, it could have been nasty straddling that. He replied that he had a bit of help…divine intervention! He later told me that it is amazing that he survived parachuting at all as he was one of the world’s worst parachutists!
His military career lasted over three decades before he retired from the Army in 1989. He then took up the post of Vicar of Salcombe in Devon, before he was recalled and appointed Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II and priest-in-charge of St Peter Ad Vincula, the former parish church of the Tower of London.
Before leaving the Tower, on June 16, 2007, Rev. Abram was awarded the Member of the Victorian Royal Order (MVO) by the Queen. He then retired to Kimpton in Hampshire.
Pat Conn, also paid tribute to his dear friend:
I attended numerous services and pilgrimages which Paul held, and he was simply a brilliant preacher who could hold a congregation, sometimes of not so religious soldiers, in the palm of his hand, and he was a top-notch Parachuting Padre. His services from drum-head services in the field to extremely memorable Memorial Services and eulogies on pilgrimages were always first class. He always did his homework and I will miss him.
Pat Conn, OH 1951-59
Paul has been remembered in other publications. Please click below to read his obituary in the following articles (please note that some of these external websites have a subscription):
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