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ddycher

Royal Army Chaplains Department

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ddycher

All

Does anybody know how the RAChD functioned ?

How were chaplains assigned to given units ? and how does one go about tracing the movements of a specific chaplain ? Were they assigned "for the duration" ? or did they rotate ? Lots of questions and no references at all at present.

Anybody able to point me in the right direction ?

Regards

Dave

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Chris_Baker

Doesn't answer your question but I thought pals might be interested in the story of Norman McLeod Wright MC.

Reverend Norman McLeod Wright was Minister of Saint Andrews Church in Goodmayes, Ilford, Essex when war was declared. At this time, he was married, aged 44 and living at 57 Eastwood Road, Goodmayes. He was an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church of England. Norman had previously been a successful and popular Minister of Ancroft Church.

Although there is only the briefest of records in his papers, it seems he was officiating clergyman to military facilities at Purfleet and Hornchurch between October 1914 and March 1915.

On 15 March 1915, the Adjutant-General’s Department at the War Office notified Norman that he had been selected for duty as an Acting Chaplain to the Force , and that he was to report to the headquarters of the 17th (Northern) Division, then stationed at Wareham in Dorset. He was to replace Reverend Macrae, who had resigned. Norman was officially commissioned from 26 March 1915.

Appointed as a Temporary Chaplain, 4th Class (which carried a commissioned rank of Captain, so Norman would have had to acquire the field service dress of an officer, with appropriate badges of rank), he would be paid ten shillings a day, plus an extra 3/6 if under canvas .

We can assume that he reported at 17th Division soon afterwards; at some point he was posted to be Chaplain to the 9th (Service) Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers, which was attached to this Division from formation until August 1917. He moved to France with the Division on 14 July 1915.

On 7 June 1916, Norman completed a form renewing his contract with the army. This was counter-signed by Major-General John Simms, the Principal Chaplain to the Forces, next day.

Norman fell ill in late August 1916, spending four days at a Field Ambulance before being granted special leave at home. He soon arrived at home in Thornton Park, Berwick-upon-Tweed, where he was still ill, causing him to apply for an extension of the leave until 28 September. The official documents show that he was suffering from influenza, but Norman himself referred to it as “trench fever ”.

He returned to France at the beginning of October 1916.

In February 1917 , Norman was transferred to the 58th (2/1st London) Division, a formation of the Territorial Force, the infantry of which was composed entirely of London troops. On 18 February, and possibly connected to this move, Norman was promoted to Temporary Chaplain, 3rd Class (equivalent to Major) .

On 11 June 1918, Norman suffered a fall from a horse and sustained a head injury. This accident, which took place at Cavillon, was witnessed by Captain H.G. Hughes of the Royal Engineers, the Divisional Gas Officer. He was admitted to No 5 Casualty Clearing Station, and moved to No 8 General Hospital, Rouen.

Norman was medically examined at the Rouen Base on or soon before 15 July 1918, and granted three weeks leave. He arrived at Southampton on the morning of 17 July, having sailed from Le Havre. The Assistant Military Landing Officer at Le Havre altered the return date on his leave warrant to 6 August 1918, so he enjoyed an extra two days at home. This was subsequently extended as a result of medical examinations. By 14 September, he was considered fit to return to service, but this information may not have reached the War Office in a timely fashion as his leave was extended again, by three weeks from 18 September 1918.

Norman embarked for England from Calais on 23 February 1919.

On 18 March 1919, he was notified by the War Office that a Medical Board would soon be arranged. He was found to be unfit for service, and given a period of convalescent leave.

Norman had some form of conversation with the Principal Chaplain and reported his willingness to be engaged for another year, for service with the Army of Occupation in Germany or preferably at home, at this time.

Another medical examination, this time on 25 April 1919, passed Norman as fit for home service, and as requested he notified the War Office.

On 3 May, Norman was notified that he was posted to Catterick Camp in Yorkshire and that he should report there a week later. He was replacing Reverend J. C. Brown, who was being transferred to Salonika.

Norman was reverted to Chaplain to the Forces, 4th Class, on 11 July 1919.

He was transferred as Chaplain to Bangour War Hospital, Edinburgh, on 19 February 1920.

On 23 April 1920, the Chaplains Department at the War Office notified Scottish Command that Norman should be retained pending further instructions.

A medical examination on 16 June 1920 reported that Norman claimed that he still suffered as a result of his service. He was classified as 20% disabled. It was noted that he was 47 years old, and wore spectacles. Another medical, in April 1921, reported much the same thing.

In April 1921, Bangour War Hospital was cleared, with a view to converting it once again for civilian purposes. Norman was finally demobilised from the army on 1 April 1921. The War Office wrote to the Ministry of Pensions, which had taken over the hospital, recommending that they continue to employ him in his capacity as a Chaplain.

Norman’s service file includes a variety of impressive personal testimonials, from

Lieutenant-Colonel H. Bryan CMG, formerly 9th Northumberland Fusiliers;

Reverend J. Duncan, Church of England Chaplain to 58th Division;

Reverend R. H. Fisher DD, Minister of St Cuthberts Parish, Edinburgh;

Brigadier-General C. G. Higgins, formerly 58th Division

Reverend J. A. McClymont CBE VD DD, Principal Chaplain;

Reverend D.D. MacDonald MA, Minster of Swinton;

Brigadier-General A. McNalty CMG, formerly 58th Division;

Major-General T. D. Pilcher, GOC 17th Division

Major-General Frank Ramsay, GOC 58th Division;

Major-General Reverend John Simms DD CB CMG, Principal Chaplain to the British Armies;

Reverend C. W. G. Taylor MA, Minister of St George’s Parish, Edinburgh;

Reverend John Watson BD, former Minister of South Yell;

The Right Honourable Earl Grey, formerly 9th Northumberland Fusiliers.

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n cherry
All

Does anybody know how the RAChD functioned ?

How were chaplains assigned to given units ? and how does one go about tracing the movements of a specific chaplain ? Were they assigned "for the duration" ? or did they rotate ? Lots of questions and no references at all at present.

Anybody able to point me in the right direction ?

Regards

Dave

Dave,

Not an expert but recall a local vicar 'volunteering' to go with the Manchester Infantry Brigade on active servcie in 1914 and he stayed with them for a considerable period. I think the answer was you stayed where you were unless you went to a higher calling.....

There is a RAChD Museum in Wiltshire... the curator is David Blake and I think they have a website. He might be able to help. Also I seem ot recall a book called 'God on our Side' about the padre servcie in the Great War. Perhaps by someone called Moniyhan? Can a Pal help?

Also as officers shouldn't their records be at the NA?????

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Rab

I'm not sure if this will help much, but the chaplain's denomination would have had some bearing on where he was posted. Each chaplain would have had responsibility for conducting religous services and pastoral support for the men of his particular denomination and would therefore have worked alongside chaplains of differing beliefs. Thus his duties would have extended beyond his own Regiment.

Here's a quote from Rev W C Charteris, a Baptist chaplain:

"We - the chaplains - have a very comfortable mess near divisional headquarters - 4 Church of England, 2 Roman Catholic, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Wesleyan, and 1 Baptist, all reside together and I venture to say that there is no happier mess in the country. We live together and work together and help each other in the heartiest manner. We have over 30 units in the division, scattered over a very large area, and our days are spent visiting these scattered camps."

Regards,

Rab

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ddycher

All

Many thanks for this - I contacted David Blake earlier today and have already had a response. Will post when I get home.

Many thanks for your help.

Regards

Dave

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healdav

Note that the RN chaplains work and worked in a totally different way.

Army chaplains work (or worked) on a, I think, five year contract. RN chaplains are fully employed as permanent RN.

Also, RN chaplains don't have a rank although they wear a sort of officers uniform. Of course, there is, or was a chaplain to the fleet and a hierarchy, but they are employed with the rank of chaplain and not with a 'normal' rank.

Again, there is an arrangement with all the various churches that any RN chaplain can minister to any member of any church in the way in which that church carries things out (if you follow me). I can remember in the 1950s being present when a Methodist chaplain carried out a Baptist adult baptism Likewise, he could have carried out a RC ceremony and vice versa.

Obviously, this is because you can't have an infinity of chaplains on a ship at sea.

Traditionally, although the chaplain for practical reasons messes in the wardroom his cabin is always outside the wardroom area and in between the officers and the men. Originally this was so that if there was a mutiny the chaplain as a supposed neutral could talk to the men without appearing from the wardroom. Today the more practical reason is that any man on the ship can visit the chaplain without having to get permission to go into officers territory.

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Ron Clifton

A few points:

Army Chaplains were commissioned as such and were of 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th Class, equivalent in rank to colonel, lt-col, major and captain respectively. There were in peacetime also "Officiating clergymen."

Chaplains with formations were assigned to brigades in a group of four: one C of E, one RC, one Free Church (usually Presbyterian) and a fourth of the denomination to which the majority of the men belonged. Divisional troops had a similar group.

Hospitals and Casualyy Clearing Stations usually had a group of three chaplains: C of E, RC, Free Church.

As previous posts show, they were responsible for all those men of the appropriate denomination within their formation irrespective of unit, but for practical welfare reasons they usually stayed with a particular battalion for most of the time, when not taking denominational services. There were no "battalion chaplains" as such, though.

For admin, appointments and promotions there were two parallel sytems: one under the Chaplain-General for C of E chaplains, and one under the Principal Chaplain for the rest.

Ron

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ddycher

Ron / Healdav

Thanks for this.

Alot more to this area than I had originally thought. Like Ron David Blake advises that Chaplains were normally assigned at a Bde level although as Ron points out they tended to spend time with a specific Bn. My next question then would be if a Bn moved theatre and division, as with this case and the 1/5th Devons moving from the 75th to the 62nd in France, is it possible that the Chaplain could have gone with them ? or would they have a new chaplain assigned.

Does anyone know if Chaplains were only "posted" to active Bde's ? I can find no cross ref to the 1/5th Devons having a chaplain whilst garrison troops in India prior to moving to Egypt. What I am trying to determine is if the chaplain (in this case the Rev. B. W. Mackie) would have "served" the Bn only in Egyptian theatre and if so how to trace who served with them prior and post the Rev. Mackie.

As always any suggestions appreciated.

Regards

Dave

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Ron Clifton

Hello Dave

If a battalion changed brigade it would not normally take "its" chaplain with it. This would not preclude the Bn CO asking the authorities to re-post a popular chaplain to the new brigade, or for the chaplain himself to suggest this, but it would be active intervention rather than an automatic transfer. I doubt that chaplains would be transfreed between theatres, eg Egypt to France.

The allocation of chaplains I referred to related to chaplains with Expeditionary Forces. It would not cover garrison postings, where the local civilian or military garrison clergy would be available.

Ron

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marine pete

Hi Dave a Book called Greater Love by The Revd David Youngson ISBN! 1 872239 53 6 £13.75

a Directory of Chaplains of the British Army Who gave their lives in the period 1914-1922.

Peter

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Rab

Dave

Michael Snape has a new book out this year. "The Royal Army Chaplains' Department: 1796 - 1953: Clergy under Fire". I haven't read it yet but it may well answer at least some of your questions.

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ddycher

All

Thanks for the book ref's - will follow up on this.

Ron - thanks for confirmation on the Bde assignment. Back to trying to find a new thread for the 62nd Division / 185th Bde I guess.

Regards

Dave

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Audax

Dave,

The Chaplain to the 1/5th Devons in 1914 was the Reverend Eric George Cocks. Cocks was Curate of St George's E.Stonehouse. He was a Chaplain to the Territorial Force from 1903 to 1925; being awarded the Territorial Decoration in 1925.

You should note that Chaplains to the T.F (C.T.F.) served under a different contract to Temporary Chaplains to the Forces (T.C.F.) as they were mobilized for the duration; whereas TCFs as noted above were on renewable one year contracts.

Secondly you should note that British Regiments did not take their chaplains with them to India. Chaplains in the Sub-Continent were provided by the Indian Ecclesiastical Establisment (I.E.E.). When the 1/5th moved to Egypt they may have had a chaplain appointed from the Army Chaplains' Dept or they have may have been looked after by an army chaplain attached to the Garrison in Egypt.

Audax

1/5th Battalion:

August 1914 : in Millbay, Plymouth. Part of Devon and Cornwall Brigade, Wessex Division.

9 October 1914 : sailed for India, landing Karachi 11 November 1914. Came under orders of 3rd (Lahore) Divisional Area at Multan. December 1915 moved to Lahore.

4 April 1917 : landed at Suez, Egypt.

25 June 1917 : transferred to 232nd Brigade, 75th Division.

1 June 1918 : landed at Marseilles and proceeded to the Western Front.

1 June : transferred to 185th Brigade, 62nd Division.

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kildaremark

I just came across a fellow today with the following MIC:-

Jephsom Byrne O'Connell

Rank CF 4th Class

Unit: RACD

He gave his address as Kinsale, Co. Cork and date of entry as 29/01/1918 to France.

After the war he turns up in November 1922 as Commandant in charge of the Kinsale garrison of The Irish Free State army aged 35 having enlisted in August 1922 fighting against the anti-treaty IRA in the Civil War.

Anyone got anything else on this fellow. I wonder what caused him to convert from religious life?

Thanks

Mark

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ddycher

Audax

Many thanks for the confirmation on the Rev. Cocks. Had not come across any ref to him previously. With this I now have an almost complete view on the attached chaplains to the Bn apart from May to August 1918. Does anyone have any ref's for chaplains assigned to the 62nd Div. 185th Bde during this timeframe.

Again thanks everybody for your help.

Regards

Dave

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Ron Clifton
Does anyone have any ref's for chaplains assigned to the 62nd Div. 185th Bde during this timeframe.

Dave

The Divisional A&Q War Diary is in file WO95/3072 at Kew. This ought to give you the comings and goings of chaplains, as they came within the remit of the AGs Dept. Failing that, the Gen Staff diaries are in 3070 and 3071.

Ron

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mattgibbs
Secondly you should note that British Regiments did not take their chaplains with them to India. Chaplains in the Sub-Continent were provided by the Indian Ecclesiastical Establisment (I.E.E.). When the 1/5th moved to Egypt they may have had a chaplain appointed from the Army Chaplains' Dept or they have may have been looked after by an army chaplain attached to the Garrison in Egypt.

Audax

Do you have any pointers to published works about the I.E.E and its forerunners the Bengal, Madras and other E.E.'s..? I can only find information [so far] about the "civilian" side of the organisation. Sadly as my research straddles the end of WW1 and into WW2 this forum is not 'ideal' for asking things that become "off topic" by being too modern or people just don't bother to reply. Perhaps it's not a "great" subject if it ain't the Great War..? :rolleyes: Thought I would ask anyway.

Matt

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Audax

Clergymen of the Church of England and Church of Scotland appointed to serve as chaplains to the armed forces in India. In practice they ministered to the civilian population as well as to military personnel but they were part of the EIC/Indian Army establishment and governed by military regulations in respect to pay, leave and pensions. From the second quarter of the 19th century Catholic priests were allowed to officiate as army chaplains - they received subsidies from Government but were not part of the official establishment.

The best place to start would be The India Office Records Collection which is held within the British Library in London.

A

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Guest ScottishLass

Hi, I feel that I have struck lucky with my first search about my Great Grandfather Reverend Norman McLeod Wright M.C. as up pops Chris Banker's story about him. Many thanks indeed!

 

Can anyone confirm from this information that he would have been at the Battle of the Somme? 

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kenf48

Yes, you have struck lucky Chris is a professional researcher and owner of the parent site, the Long Long Trail.

 

If if you go to his site you will see the 17th (Northern) Division was engaged at the Battle of the Somme.  As Chaplain to the 9th NF  they were in 52nd Brigade 

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/17th-northern-division/

 

There is lots more information on the site on regiments and structure of the Army as well as researching a soldier.

 

Perhaps even more auspiciously one hundred years ago today, July 2nd, the Division were engaged in the capture of the village of Fricourt from  the Germans.  The Division suffered over a thousand casualties.  It's likely as a Chaplain that during the battle he was at one of the medical facilities receiving the wounded just behind the front line.

 

Ken

 

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Guest ScottishLass

Many thanks indeed Ken for the additional information. 

 

How fortuitous on this search on this date and that Chris has been researching my Great Grandfather. Emotional given the significance of the date.  It is humbling what our forefathers sacrificed for us. 

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Guest ElHoggo

Hello everyone. i'm currently researching WW1 Chaplains and I am finding it hard to find information on rates of pay or structure of their pay. Were they paid by the Army? If so how much? Did they keep their stipend from the Church? Or was this lost to cover the expense of providing someone to cover their Parochial duties at home? Any info. gratefully received. Thanks.

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seaJane

Museum of Army Chaplaincy should know http://www.army.mod.uk/chaplains/23363.aspx

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Ron Clifton

Daily pay rates for Chaplains according to the Pay Warrant 1914:

1st Class £1.0.0, rising to £1.2.6 after five years

2nd Class £0.17.6

3rd Class £0.15.0

4th Class £0.10.0, rising to £0.12.6 after five years

Chaplain on probation £0.10.0

Acting chaplains as determined by the Army Council.

 

Officiating clergymen were paid at per-capita rates. If looking after less than 100 men, 10s per year for each officer, WO and man. If looking after more than 100 men, there was an additional rate according to the number above 100. (These rates were amended with effect from 1 January 1916.)

 

Ron

 

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