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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Reverend Christopher James Gurnhall ACD


claymore123
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I am doing some research into the above chap who was commissioned as chaplain on 11 APR 15 relinquishing his commission on 7 AUG 16. He later pops up again as 153497 Pte RAMC effective 13 JUN 18 and serves in France till the end of the war at 106 Hospital near Etaples. He becomes an honorary chaplain 4th class again on 20 NOV 18. He is entitled to a 1914-15 star as "Rev ACD" and the pair as Pte 153497. In later life he is back as a vicar in Lincolnshire.

 

I am assuming he had an epiphany or a battle of conscious to resign his commission and become either a stretcher bearer or something similar in the RAMC. A note on his file states he is prepared to join the colours but only if serving in the RAMC. Clearly an unusual act I wonder if anyone can either provide more colour on his time as a chaplain or later as a Pte RAMC.

 

Interestingly his son - Christopher Peter Gurnhill died on 11 SEPT 44, as a Sub-Lt. under training in the FAA when his plane crashed into another whilst flying in the USA and is buried at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

 

Thanks

 

Iain

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 Temporary Chaplains to the Forces were appointed on a one year renewable contract.  Therefore many Chaplains served just one year, others renewed and served continuously, and others renewed their contract after a break.  So not so much an epiphany, simply a termination of contract, not renewed.

 

On December 9 1916 The Grantham Journal under the byline  'Welby' Lecture on the War noted  that he was assistant curate in the Parish of Grantham, 'who had been acting as an Army Chaplain abroad with the R.A. and R.A.M.C. gave a vivid picture of life in the battle area to the School.  The Rector tended a hearty vote of thanks for a most interesting account.'

It was fairly common for returning Chaplains to give such an account, and they are often reported in local newspapers.

 

'Men in Holy Orders' were exempt from conscription under the Military Service Act, but he could volunteer for what was considered a non-combatant role.  He would probably be employed as an orderly  on general duties in the hospital.

 

Ken

 

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Sotonmate and kenf48 thank you for your replies especially regarding the one year renewable contract which makes perfect sense now!

 

Iain

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