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Remembered Today:

Chaplains.


le ulhan

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13 minutes ago, ilkley remembers said:

the change in protocols was never rescinded.

Thanks Ilkley remembers - that was a most interesting post.

sJ

 

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6 hours ago, healdav said:

Anglican, RC, Protestant

Since Anglican is also Protestant, no.3 may have been Nonconformist (who don't regard themselves as in communion with the C of E.

July 1917 Navy List has in its index the following: Baptist Chaplains (also  Congregationalist, Primitive Methodist and United Methodist) - 1; Chaplains [i.e. Church of England];  Nonconformist Chaplains [not C of E or RC]; Presbyterian Chaplains - 1; Roman Catholic Chaplains - 29; Wesleyan Chaplains - 5.

Numbers after dashes, added by me, denote the number of men listed for each denomination - excepting Church of England, which consists of several pages of names.

I haven't counted them, but the Royal Australian Naval Brigade for the same volume lists chaplains under Church of England, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian.

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Peut être une image de 2 personnes, personnes debout et plein air

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9 hours ago, seaJane said:

July 1917 Navy List has in its index the following: Baptist Chaplains (also  Congregationalist, Primitive Methodist and United Methodist) - 1; Chaplains [i.e. Church of England];  Nonconformist Chaplains [not C of E or RC]; Presbyterian Chaplains - 1; Roman Catholic Chaplains - 29; Wesleyan Chaplains - 5.

Johnstone & Hagerty's book 'The Cross on the Sword - Catholic Chaplains in the Forces' gives the number of RC Chaplains serving in the RN during WWI as 40 (see p.69). Chapter 5 is devoted to Catholic naval chaplains with the fleet 1914-1918. There were five RC chaplains at the Dardanelles, with the fleet and on shore with the RND. Father Stephen Thornton served with the latter and later he went with them to the Western Front where he was awarded the DSO (while attached to the 10th RDF)

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11 hours ago, ilkley remembers said:

In the four decades prior to the beginning of WW1 the Catholic hierarchy in England and Ireland had repeatedly asked for permission to allow chaplains to accompany the fleet in order to administer to the needs of Catholic sailors. The Admiralty repeatedly rebuffed this request using the excuse of lack of space aboard fighting ships. In fact the request by the church was for an RC chaplain to accompany each squadron using a berth on less crowded auxiliary or hospital ship. It seems clear that in refusing this request  the C of E wished to maintain its hegemony within the RN and the Admiralty was complicit in maintaining this arrangement.

 

In 1914 this imperative was challenged by the circumstances of conflict and access to the sacraments by RC sailors prior to navel engagements was deemed essential by the Catholic Church. To challenge the Admiralty’s tardiness in engaging with the issue the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland along with priests in ports with significant catholic minorities like Liverpool began a campaign of discoraging catholic men from enlisting in the RN. The Government immediately perceived the danger that such a movement might have on to general recruiting and effectively caved in to the demand of the RC Church. Winston Churchill in an effort to save face stipulated that the arrangement allowing priest to minister to catholic sailors whilst at sea would only last for the period of the war. However, in reality the change in protocols was never rescinded.

True, and it became normal for ANY chaplain to minister to ANYONE on the ship regardless of their denomination. In other words, an RC chaplain is and was expected to minister to anyone on whichever ship he was attached to, not just to RCs. In the same way, Anglicans or Protestants ministered to RCs, etc.

Quite how anyone believed that auxiliaries or hospital ships had more room than fighting ships is a mystery to me. There are usually more chaplains on hospital ships, it's true, but they are there to work and as part of the crew, not because there is more room for them. In any case, in WW1 there was no really easy way to transfer personnel from ship to ship (they had to do it by boat, not jackstay), so a chaplain on one ship was, effectively, no more available than a chaplain on shore.

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12 hours ago, seaJane said:

Thanks Ilkley remembers - that was a most interesting post.

Thank you for reminding me of the different position and status of chaplains in the RN; something which I had looked at some years ago and have been happy to revisit.

 

1 hour ago, healdav said:

True, and it became normal for ANY chaplain to minister to ANYONE on the ship regardless of their denomination. In other words, an RC chaplain is and was expected to minister to anyone on whichever ship he was attached to, not just to RCs. In the same way, Anglicans or Protestants ministered to RCs, etc.

 

1 hour ago, healdav said:

True, and it became normal for ANY chaplain to minister to ANYONE on the ship regardless of their denomination. In other words, an RC chaplain is and was expected to minister to anyone on whichever ship he was attached to, not just to RCs. In the same way, Anglicans or Protestants ministered to RCs, etc.

 

I’m sure that this is no doubt true but there are significant doctrinal differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism which mitigate against a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Whilst it may have been possible for members of Non-Conformist religions to accept the precepts of Anglicanism because of their shared belief in individual responsibility when communicating with the Almighty this wasn’t true for RCs. In Catholicism the priest is the medium through which the individual professes his faith and accesses the sacraments. A Roman Catholic serviceman (or woman) could not for example accept absolution from a Protestant cleric. In times of peace this may not have been as big an issue but during wartime when the likelihood of death was rather more imminent its importance was more pressing. I seem to remember that during the Retreat from Mons one Irish Catholic battalion even used the services of a German chaplain to bury their dead because no British Catholic padre was available.

 

The militancy of the Irish Catholic Church in particular in trying to force the hand of the Admiralty into admitting priests onto warships was because they believed that, probably correctly, that the needs of Catholics was completely misunderstood. After years of pressing the Admiralty over the issue Churchills damascene conversion to the acceptance of RC clerics was less to do with ecumenism and more to do with the threats to disrupt recruitment.

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Rum, Sodomy, Prayers, and the Lash Revisited: Winston Churchill and Social Reform in the Royal Navy 1900-1915 by Matthew S. Seligmann [ISBN 978-0-19-875997-3] seems to have plenty on this aspect; eg

image.png.42ba1eb08f704e67bef59c9b8d29214d.png

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2 hours ago, michaeldr said:

Rum, Sodomy, Prayers, and the Lash Revisited: Winston Churchill and Social Reform in the Royal Navy 1900-1915 by Matthew S. Seligmann [ISBN 978-0-19-875997-3] seems to have plenty on this aspect; eg

Thank you for posting the page Michael. What an interesting juxtaposition of behaviour in the title and I can only admit to indulging in two of them and one I didn’t enjoy. I think that the title is a play on something that Churchill himself used when summing up the perceived mores of the Senior Service….he had such a way with words.

 

Thought that the final paragraph was rather interesting with Seligmann suggesting that the issue of ‘turbulent priests’ had become a political rather than operational matter. It certainly seems that he is saying that the Admiralty would rather negotiate with tmore compliant Bishops of England and Wales than the ‘fundamentalist’ of the Irish Church.  

 

The English Catholic Church did, with few conditions, support the war and from the pulpit preached that justice and righteousness of the Allied cause. This no doubt was helped by the more lurid accounts of German atrocities visited upon the Belgian clergy. Clearly the church was identifying itself, as far as the war was concerned, with the position in Whitehall rather than Rome. The church may indeed have formed the view that it was payback time for their support of the war and it is noable how quickly the Admiarlty was prepared to come to a rapprochement with the wishes of the catholics.

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You might like look at some of the contributions to my thread about Chaplains with Moustaches.

RM

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4 hours ago, rolt968 said:

You might like look at some of the contributions to my thread about Chaplains with Moustaches.

I had a look at your 'Chaplains with Moustaches' post and was inspired to venture further onto the 'IWM Lives' where I was amused to find several Chaplains recorded as serving in the Army Chaplin's Department. Sadly none of the the Chaplin's Department members had an accompanying photos to confirm if they were obliged to sport a moustache in the style of their famous leader.

Edited by TullochArd
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On 15/07/2022 at 13:54, keithmroberts said:

Next week I will be reading the diaries of Rev. Alfred Llewellyn Jones MC, one of the many chaplains connected with the Portsea Parish. The existence of his diaries was something I only discovered from his college website a few weeks ago. He was almost an exact contemporary at Portsea, and at war, of P B (Tubby) Clayton, and I hope that his notes on life in that parish with its 15 curates before the war, will prove to be as interesting as his actual war service.

I'd love to be able to find out about whom the poet W M Letts wrote her poem 'Chaplain to the Forces' (Hallowe'en and Poems of the War, 1916/The Spires of Oxford and Other Poems, 1917). Her sister was a VAD in Blackrock, Co. Dublin and her photo album has photographs of Rev Thomas Joseph O’ Connor CSsR (Connaught Rangers, Salonika) at  her Blackrock home. Letts's papers include a photo of Rev. Alfred Llewellyn Jones  taken "while at Oxford" as well as the attached cutting. Interestingly, Rev George Verschoyle - whose widowed father Letts married in 1926 - was also a  Chaplain to the Forces and was involved in rescuing seven Warwickshire Regiment soldiers in 1917, though eight others drowned, at Blyth Sands, Northumberland.  However, I don't know whether W M  Letts would have known Rev George in 1916. 

 

If you do come across any reference to W M Letts or the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester or the Royal City of Dublin Hospital, Baggot Street in Jones's diaries, I'd be most interested to hear.

Thanks

Rev J W Austin Jones and Rev A llewelyn Jones.jpg

Edited by monkstown
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22 hours ago, ilkley remembers said:

Thank you for reminding me of the different position and status of chaplains in the RN; something which I had looked at some years ago and have been happy to revisit.

 

 

 

I’m sure that this is no doubt true but there are significant doctrinal differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism which mitigate against a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Whilst it may have been possible for members of Non-Conformist religions to accept the precepts of Anglicanism because of their shared belief in individual responsibility when communicating with the Almighty this wasn’t true for RCs. In Catholicism the priest is the medium through which the individual professes his faith and accesses the sacraments. A Roman Catholic serviceman (or woman) could not for example accept absolution from a Protestant cleric. In times of peace this may not have been as big an issue but during wartime when the likelihood of death was rather more imminent its importance was more pressing. I seem to remember that during the Retreat from Mons one Irish Catholic battalion even used the services of a German chaplain to bury their dead because no British Catholic padre was available.

 

The militancy of the Irish Catholic Church in particular in trying to force the hand of the Admiralty into admitting priests onto warships was because they believed that, probably correctly, that the needs of Catholics was completely misunderstood. After years of pressing the Admiralty over the issue Churchills damascene conversion to the acceptance of RC clerics was less to do with ecumenism and more to do with the threats to disrupt recruitment.

It really didn't matter whether RC chaplains were 'accepted' or not. Fact is and always has been, that there is no spare space on warships, unlike cruise liners, and so, there would normally be a maximum of one chaplain, even on the bigger ships, although a battleship or aircraft carrier might have two. Smaller ships, say, destroyer and below, would no have a chaplain at all.

On most ships, therefore, even today, it is the Captain who takes any services that are held. As attendance is now voluntary, anyone objecting doesn't go.

In the long gone days, the Captain was obliged by Admiralty law to hold a service on three Sundays a month, and on the fourth the Articles of War were read to the crew.

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  • 4 months later...
On 15/07/2022 at 13:54, keithmroberts said:

Next week I will be reading the diaries of Rev. Alfred Llewellyn Jones MC, one of the many chaplains connected with the Portsea Parish. The existence of his diaries was something I only discovered from his college website a few weeks ago. He was almost an exact contemporary at Portsea, and at war, of P B (Tubby) Clayton, and I hope that his notes on life in that parish with its 15 curates before the war, will prove to be as interesting as his actual war service.

Keith - are those diaries available anywhere on line? 
Thanks

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Not that I am aware of. They are in the archives of Keble College, Oxford, where they can be viewed by arrangement with the archivist. Sadly the FWW element of the diaries is not included. They have a transcription made with permission from his family.

 

Keith

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Thank you for that Keith.  That's a pity.

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