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British Chaplain unit diaries


SBW

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Trying to find more about the chaplains who served the men in the Arras area from end March 1916 to Feb 1917. What sort of records were kept on burials attended by chaplains? Many thanks for any help. Sue

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Chaplains were generally attached to units and formations, Sue, and they moved with them. So a way of starting to answer your questions would be to identify the units and formations in the Arras area in your date range. There will be an awful lot, and an awful lot of Chaplains. Is there something specific behind your question - is there a particular Chaplian or unit or burial that interests you? That might be an easier way of coming at this.

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Thanks Chris. I research the NZ Tun Coy. They left NZ without a chaplain (following a row about the appointed chaplain), they would never have an attached chaplain. They were the first NZs in France, so won't have been able to call on NZ 'borrowed' chaplain, at least for a time. The NZ Tun Coy doesn't feature at all in NZ official chaplain unit history.

Trying to find who served their spiritual needs esp for burial services. Did they use British RE Tun Coy chaplain in 1916?? Burials below of interest;

Srg Vernon 1st NZ Tun Coy casuality - hostile activity between J3 and J4 and east of J5. Tun Coy unit diary records died 22/6/1916. Buried Faubourg D'Amiens cem

Sapper Ashford killed in No 1 billets (Arras?) buried Faubourg D'Amiens cem Arras 3 July 1916 ,

Sapper King and McCallum KIA 15 August 1916 at Clarence crater, buried Roclincourt Valley cem.

Thanks again for any help/pointers in right direction

Sue

Chaplains were generally attached to units and formations, Sue, and they moved with them. So a way of starting to answer your questions would be to identify the units and formations in the Arras area in your date range. There will be an awful lot, and an awful lot of Chaplains. Is there something specific behind your question - is there a particular Chaplian or unit or burial that interests you? That might be an easier way of coming at this.
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Thanks Chris. I research the NZ Tun Coy. They left NZ without a chaplain (following a row about the appointed chaplain), they would never have an attached chaplain. They were the first NZs in France, so won't have been able to call on NZ 'borrowed' chaplain, at least for a time. The NZ Tun Coy doesn't feature at all in NZ official chaplain unit history.

Trying to find who served their spiritual needs esp for burial services.

Sue, I'm researching a New Zealander (2nd Lt. Edward Edwards) who was in the Royal Army Medical Corp and was formerly a Reverend (Anglican). He was with the 4th Battalion of the Worcestershire Brigade, and had originally applied to be a chaplain but was turned down (so joined the RAMC instead). The 4th were at Arras at the same time as the Kiwi tunnellers and I wonder if he ever stepped outside his role as a medic and undertook a more religious role.

Its a bit of a stretch, but food for thought maybe?

That aside, I'm sure there were many chaplains from the many units who were stationed in Arras during the battle there who would have stepped in when needed.

Steve

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Thanks Chris. I research the NZ Tun Coy. They left NZ without a chaplain (following a row about the appointed chaplain), they would never have an attached chaplain. They were the first NZs in France, so won't have been able to call on NZ 'borrowed' chaplain, at least for a time. The NZ Tun Coy doesn't feature at all in NZ official chaplain unit history.

Trying to find who served their spiritual needs esp for burial services. Did they use British RE Tun Coy chaplain in 1916?? Burials below of interest;

Srg Vernon 1st NZ Tun Coy casuality - hostile activity between J3 and J4 and east of J5. Tun Coy unit diary records died 22/6/1916. Buried Faubourg D'Amiens cem

Sapper Ashford killed in No 1 billets (Arras?) buried Faubourg D'Amiens cem Arras 3 July 1916 ,

Sapper King and McCallum KIA 15 August 1916 at Clarence crater, buried Roclincourt Valley cem.

According to the CWGC Roclincourt cemetery was begun after 9 April 1917. This means the casualties referred to above were among those brought in after the Armistice. This means a ceremony would have been conducted then but it's impossible to say when. Perhaps the CWGC have a record of an officiating officer. The description of the place of death suggests they were originally interred with little ceremony.

Fauborg d'Amiens is a much bigger cemetery and again many soldiers were brought in after the Armistice, however this cemetery was begun in March 1916 so it is feasible the casualties were originally interred there. In which case the funeral ceremony would have been conducted by a chaplain attached to a battalion or divisional HQ who among his other duties would minister to the field ambulances and casualty clearing stations nearby. Unfortunately the Units and the Chaplains rotated through different locations and postings throughout the conflict, so it is almost impossible to say who conducted a particular ceremony. Chaplain''s diaries published post-war often recall funeral ceremonies but the soldier is rarely mentioned by name and details only given where among the hundreds they held there was some instance that made a particular event stand out for the writer.

I think it highly unlikely an RAMC man would conduct a funeral ceremony

Ken

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