Operation Canon (Turner of The Arctic) Maurice S Flint

This is one of those old school missionary accounts of life in faraway places in a time (1930s/40s) when very few Europeans ventured into those parts. John Turner was the archetypal sporting schoolboy with a love for the outdoor life and clearly fit, in every sense of the word, for the ardours of life up in the Arctic Circle. The ‘Operation’ part of the book title relates to the dramatic end of his 20 years of ministry among the Inuit when a rescue operation is mounted by the Canadian authorities following an accident, which in the final outcome engendered an early end to his life.

Well, now you know the ending! Along the way we read of John’s conversion and ordination into the Anglican Church (that’s the ‘Canon’ part), his calling to the Arctic region and his various successes and difficulties in reaching out to the Inuit with the Gospel of Christ.

In the latter part of his ministry he married and was favoured indeed by The Lord in finding such a wife as one who willingly fitted into such a world as his. At the time of his demise he left behind his wife with two young daughters and another in the womb. The book is dedicated to these children, it says…

“To the three little girls, June, Grace and Faith, with the prayer that these pages may help them either to remember or to know their father, whose consecrated life will always inspire those who were privileged to know him.”

Operation Canon/Turner of the Arctic will be of especial interest to any who are involved with the Inuit or are contemplating such a noble outreach to these and others in similar extreme places. Obtaining the book may not be so simple as I am surmising that this is no longer in print but a few copies show up in various places when searched for online.

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