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Remembered Today:

Chaplain Corps - Father Ernest Crosier


marc leroux
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Hi, one of the contributers to the Canadian Great War Project came to me with an interesting puzzle. They have a newspaper clipping dated Nov. 10, 1915 stating that Rev. Father Ernest Crosier has "laid down his life on the battlefields of France." I can't find any reference to him in the CEF, and also checked "Padres in No Man's Land: Canadian Chaplains and the Great War", which is the only book I'm aware of on Canadian Clergy in the Great War. Unfortunatly, the book only lists members of the Clergy that served in the CEF, so it just validated my not finding him.

Would anyone know of any list of Clergy that served with the BEF? Or other units that Clergy might have served in? I presume that they could have been affiliated with organizations like the Red Cross. My lack of knowledge in the area of Clergy in the War is sadly lacking.

Any guidenance would be appreciated.

Thanks

marc

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Nothing on CWGC. Clergy did work with the YMCA. Reverend Father implies either Roman Catholic or very high church Anglican

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From http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/2012/08/29/forgotten-tales-of-heroism-and-duty-given-new-life

Quote :

Then there is the article about Father Ernest Crosier, OMI, age 37, who died tending to soldiers on the front in November of 1915.

Father Crosier had been a curate (assistant priest) at Notre Dame du Portage church in 1903/1904, he then moved on to serve the church in Fort Frances and Cloquet and Duluth. The article noted that when war broke out he offered his services to minister to men at the front. The article said his Winnipeg mission reported he was the 10th member of the order to have been killed while ministering to troops under fire to that point in the war, four had been cited for heroism under fire. Because he was not officially enlisted with the army, his name isn’t on any local cenotaph.

End of quote

I cannot find any ref in 'The Cross on the Sword – Catholic Chaplains in the Forces'

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Every time , or nearly every time chaplains are mentioned on this forum it is misspelt. Chaplin was a silent movie star not a member of the clergy, please could we get the spelling right! Chaplain!

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From http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/searches/soldierDetail.asp?Id=145809

According to an article in the Kenora Miner and News dated 10 Nov 1915,

Father Ernest Crosier had died on the battlefields in France. As a member of theMissionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) he had served as Curate in Kenora/Norman, Ontario for about two years in 1904-05. From there he was in Fort Frances, then Winnipeg, and at the time of the outbreak of the war, was in the Cloquet/Duluth area, listed in a directory for 1913-1915. In the article it stated that although not obliged, he answered the call of his country and left for the war zone. He was about 37 years of age. He was noted as being endowed with the special gift as a speaker and took particular interest in the choir

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Thank's everyone. I've seen the articles referenced, but as I said, I know next to nothing about Chaplain service. In "Padres in No Man's Land" the author points out that Generals were initially very reluctant to let Chaplains go to the front, and until 1916 were banned from the front. My interpretation of this was that unaffiliated Chaplains would not have been tolerated, so my presumption was that he would have been associated with some "structured" organization. I believe that the reference in the Kenora Daily to not having been officially enlisted inthe Army, means that he was not part of the CEF. I've worked with the people that provided the input to the article, and I don't believe that there has been an extensive search to see if he was part of any other organization, hence my questions.

Michael, thanks for the lookup in "The Cross on the Sword".

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A few things.

1. Since he was an OMI, the simplest thing to do is to write to/contact the Order. There is bound to be a Canadian or North American Province; and they should have some more details.

2. This is a bit of an old chestnut about chaplains being allowed at the front or not. For RCs it was essential that they were, for theological/sacramental reasons. This did not, usually, apply to other denominations in the same way. That being said, there were chaplains of all denominations who were at the front, but for practical reasons it mad sense for those who were to be with the transport lines. Not many battalions had a full time chaplain; they were usually shared with another or even with a brigade (and, depending on denomination, even bigger formations). Most big medical set ups - eg CCS and bigger - would have had at least an Anglican chaplain and probably an RC one as well. It may well be that there were particular cases where chaplains of some denominations were told not to go to the front by a particular commander - but there was no general rule/order against it.

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In "A Yankee in the Trenches" by R. Derby Holmes, Corporal Holmes an American who served in the London Regiment describes their chaplain as going over the top with his flock at the Somme. He does say that he was not the only one but also that there were others who would not have done so.

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  • 1 month later...

Every time , or nearly every time chaplains are mentioned on this forum it is misspelt. Chaplin was a silent movie star not a member of the clergy, please could we get the spelling right! Chaplain!

Charlie Chaplin walking down the street

Where?

There

Without his cane or duck feet

Might see him in the pulpit

Should we get the order

If not?

Stop in bed

And get some extra sleep

Charlie Chaplin or just plain Charlie was and still might be the nickname for priests in the army.

Just thought you might like to know

All the best

Geordie Gardiner

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There were around 40 Chaplains/Padres captured as POWs.

The reluctance of some to minister to the men at the front and stay well out of harm's way I believe attracted some attention in the Houses of Parliament when a comment was made along the lines that: Why are they preaching the merits of heaven when so many are reluctant to pass through the gates themselves?

Marjorie

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Charlie Chaplin walking down the street

Where?

There

Without his cane or duck feet

Might see him in the pulpit

Should we get the order

If not?

Stop in bed

And get some extra sleep

Charlie Chaplin or just plain Charlie was and still might be the nickname for priests in the army.

Just thought you might like to know

All the best

Geordie Gardiner

Nice one Geordie!

I've just remembered the signal format for pay rises from a previous life. Paragraph Charlie was always used for the Chaplains so it read 'Charlie. Chaplains...'. It wasn't that long ago and I bet they still do it. That must be where it comes from!

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Hello Marjorie,

Do you have any information on those that were capture?

I would be interested in any information.

All the best

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Marjorie

Here is a little tweak to my poem:

Charlie Chaplin walking down the street

Where?

There

Without his cane or duck feet

Might see him in the pulpit

Should we get the order

If not?

Stop in bed

Until you’re sober

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Presumably this fellow was with the French army, which would explain why we cannot find him in the Canadian records. At that time Western Canada was still missionary territory and the Oblate Fathers were a missionary order from France. Most of the members in Canada had been born in France and several went back to the old country to serve as chaplains. I have read notices of other such cases.

There were, of course Oblate chaplains in the Canadian Expeditionary Force as well.

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Geordie - Yes, I will post a list tomorrow evening as I have shut down my PC and now on iPad (files are on my hard drive).

There were about 37 BEF and others listed under Canadians etc. which will take me a little longer to track down so I will post the BEF then trawl for others.

Sober rhymes better!

I haven't checked this for spelling or grammar. I hope it passes. I would write waye aye but I'm not sure if it's one word, two words or hyphenated.

Marjorie

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Thanks very much Marjorie,

Will such info make me please?

Why aye

I should say so

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