Dr James Hagerty gives a detailed talk on the contribution of military chaplains in the First World War. Roman Catholic chaplains were first commissioned for the British Army after the Crimean War, in 1858. At the outbreak of WWI therefore there were some experienced army chaplains who had served in Boer War and other conflicts between 1858 and 1914. Accompanying the 80,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force which left for the Western front at the beginning of the First World War were a total of 53 commissioned chaplains, 10 of which were Catholic. Evidently, this was far from sufficient and the early months of the war saw numerous priests offering themselves to the war effort to accompany the army, navy or air force, as acting non-commissioned chaplains. They became a familiar sight on the front, on the battle ships, and with our fledgling air force, some paying the ultimate sacrifice as they sought to provide the Sacraments to the living, the wounded and the dying. Dr Hagerty gives many examples of particular chaplains something of whose lives are known to us. A moving and informative talk on today’s anniversary of the end of the conflict which many view as the worst in modern times.
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