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Author Topic: Chaplain-Captains in WW1  (Read 1533 times)
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« on: 15 September 2011, 02:49:10 pm »

Jill
Forum Member


Australia
2 Posts   Posted - 28/05/2003 :  07:28:03 AM 
An ancestor, Rev Allan Maclaren WEBB of Riverton SA, was a Chaplain-Captain with 8th Light Horse, invalided back to Australia on 29 Oct 1918. Has anyone any information regarding him or as to how Chaplains were allotted to each Regiment? Any stories about their work in the field would be appreciated.
Jill

stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1628 Posts    Posted - 28/05/2003 :  08:06:33 AM 
I could find no record of AM Webb with the 8th LHR there was a Chaplain Capt Thomas Theodore Webb?
I can not locate him with any LH unit, so far as my records show?

Which may meen he was not with the LH in Egypt - Palestine or I just have not found him yet, I will kept looking for you.

Chaplains were allocted one per unit in the begining of the war but they were under the brigade the unit belonged to and would or could be allocated as required.

Some padre's stayed for some time with units while others rotated rather quickly.

Chaplains had their own command system as well as the Military.

Their may be a number of books written by chaplains during the war which can tell you some thing of what it was like.

S.B




stevev79
Forum Member


United Kingdom
14 Posts    Posted - 28/05/2003 :  9:36:35 PM 
Every Chaplain in the army in WW1 belonged to the “Army Chaplains Department”. From this unit the Chaplains were sent. Besides Christian padres there were also Jewish.
This unit had its own rank structure. For example…….a Reverend who enlisted in WW1 would be given the rank of “Chaplain to the forces 4th Class”. This was the equivalent army rank of Captain. Interestingly enough medals to chaplains are impressed with the rank of “Rev.” or Reverend.

The Army Chaplains Department claims to be the most highly decorated unit in WW1. Probably because the entire unit thought it was protected by God!

In the British Army normally one Chaplain is assigned to a Battalion. However most regiments had a regimental chaplain also.

Since the nominal role confirms your man was indeed a Chaplain its is safe to say he belonged to the “Australian Army Chaplains Department”. To establish what unit he was sent too you will have to pull his service papers.

Hope this helps!


stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1628 Posts    Posted - 29/05/2003 :  09:12:46 AM 
Steve,
Yes you are quiet right.

But the LH ran there Chaplians a little different, in that all Chaplians were allocated via the LH Brigade HQ.

A Brigade HQ could have a number of Chaplians allocated depending on the religion of the soldiers. And they would be attacted to the LHR as required. There was a high turn over of Chaplains in LH units.

Now the other command system I mention was the religion (AACD) as stated by steve so a padre was answerable to both God and the Military.

But steve is right, all will be shown when you can get his Army Service record via the ANA site if you can not find it let us know and maybe we can help and would like to know what you find out.

S.B

Andrew P
Forum Member


Australia
153 Posts    Posted - 29/05/2003 :  2:19:16 PM 
There was a book written about Chaplains in Australian units some years ago. I think it was written by Michael McKernan but hopefully someone can confirm or provide more accurate info.
If you get a chance it may be worth having a look in Robin Corfield's book on Fromelles called 'Don't Forget Me Cobber'. In it he has quite a bit of information on the role of priests in those units.

Regards
Andrew

stevev79
Forum Member


United Kingdom
14 Posts    Posted - 30/05/2003 :  03:46:28 AM 
Interesting info there Steve.
In correction to what I said in an earlier post the full title of the Chaplains Department...was 'Royal' Army Chaplains Department.

Do you know if the chaplains of LH wore the hat badge of the Chaplains department? Did they retain the bush hat or stick with peaked cap as worn by British and Canadian Chaplains?

The British Army in WW1 lost exactly 159 Chaplains in the Great War. Do you know how many Australain Chaplains lost their lives?

Steve.

Jill
Forum Member


Australia
2 Posts    Posted - 30/05/2003 :  09:36:17 AM 
Quote
Thanks, guys - all interesting stuff. Keep it coming.
Jill

stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1628 Posts    Posted - 30/05/2003 :  11:59:46 AM 
Very good questions mate.
And I wish I could supply the answer?

I have about 35 Chaplains on record with LH or LH suport units in Egypt and Palestine of which only two is shown as KIA/DOW and one was attached to the 57Bn from the 15th Brigade HQ in France after having served with the 5th LHR (Chap/Capt MH Bergin MC) the other Chap/Capt WJ Dunbar 11 LHR.

But my records are incomplete and if any are known I would by pleased to know also.

S.B

stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1628 Posts    Posted - 20/06/2003 :  4:01:00 PM 
Other problem I have with Chaplains is the alloction of British Padres to Australian units.
I have come across a small number of such as well as British doctors in Australian units.

You mention how many chaplains with a unit?

My records show only one with each regiment but there could be more at Brigade HQ.

It was not uncommon for a say a CofE chaplain to give services for other denominations.

All religons had some form of padre in Egypt and each Brigade would have the CofE and RC as well as some other padres.

Chaplains mostly traveled with the regiment but were also at the LHFA.

In battle they could be with both (Regt and LHFA) and I have a number awarded medals for action during a battle with the units or looking after the wounded at the LHFA.

S.B
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