First World War

Collage of black and white boats on which photos of Frs Legros, Devas and Day, all in military uniform is shown
The Gallipoli Campaign, occurred in what was then the Ottoman Empire but is now Turkey, between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916. The Gallipoli peninsula forms part of the bank of the Dardanelles strait, the sea route to the Russian Empire. Britain and France launched a naval attack to secure the route for their ally Russia. When this failed, a land campaign was prepared. A hundred years on we review the experience of the three British Jesuit Chaplains missioned to Gallipoli whose job it was to...
Painting of snow covered village
The personal papers of Fr Leslie Ignatius Walker contain some of the Archives’ most treasured items, particularly his sketch books. Among his records are his personal diaries, the majority of which belong to his teenage years. These give a delightful insight into the life of a school boy during the late 19th century. Among the most charming are the entries for Christmas day, in which he often lists what he and his family received.Christmas Day 1889:Rose early at 5-30 but got in to bed...
Dark wood T shaped cross with an ivory appearing Christ carving nailed to it inside a wooden framed box with glass front and enclosed brown paper note and attached to the frame is a plaque
We have discovered the following artefact in the archives. It is a crucifix with an enclosed note inside a wooden frame with a plaque. The note enclosed reads:O H M S [On His Majesty’s Service] 23.10.15 Richebourge-St Vaast Dearest Mater I know you will value this, it is genuine, & I found it among the ruins of a poor deserted village. I dare say it is worth much. Handmade but a little the worse for wear; you ever in my thoughts at the moment. HughThe plaque on the frame states:Found by...
Fr William Feran SJ, author of the original Chaplains' weekly
On May 9th 1915 Fr William Feran composed the first edition of The Chaplains’ Weekly; a newsletter whose purpose he explained in the foreword was to maintain communication with British Jesuit Chaplains serving in WWI. He wrote:As Fr. Provincial finds it impossible to send lengthy letters to the individual chaplains, he has asked me to chromograph, week by week, items of news that may interest them and send a copy to each. This I propose doing each Sunday. The communication will not be, in any...
World War I ChaplainsWorld War I broke out in August 1914. Although unlike their counterparts in France and Belgium exempt from military duty, by the end of the war 84 Jesuits had served as RC Chaplains to the British Forces and Navy. Here is a small online exhibition which looks at some of the records relating to these Chaplains which have survived in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.Please click on the links to discover more about each item:Exemption letterTailor slipContract...
This week the Archives and Records Association has launched its second annual Explore Your Archives awareness campaign. The aim is to increase public awareness of the vital role of archives in our society and to celebrate the collections held in services across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. To find out more and to see what events are happening near you, visit www.exploreyourarchive.org.Here in the Jesuits in Britain Archives we have created an exhibition on the...
A moving Remembrance Parade formed part of Spinkhill's Mount St Mary’s College’s commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.More than 100 uniformed cadets from the school joined fellow pupils for a special service in the Memorial Chapel. The Chapel was built after the end of the First World War in 1918 in recognition of former pupils who had fought and died for their country. The service was attended by some of the families of those...
A Jesuit Chaplain celebrates Mass in the trenches
Fr Jack Mahoney SJ continues his investigation into the memorial to five Jesuit Chaplains killed in action during the First World War. Having explored the circumstances of the death of three of them in an earlier blog, here – with the help of the Jesuit Archivist, Rebecca Volk – he concludes his research into their lives.The obituaries of these five Jesuit military chaplains tend of their nature to contain more on their apostolate in Britain before the war, rather than provide many...
Fr Walter Montagu SJ 1886-1918
Laeti qui se obtuleruntCommemorentur quinqueE societate jesu capellaniAnnos inter mcmxiv – xviiiPro deo atque concivibusMortui militantesR.M.  D.D.  W.M.   C.M.G.  T.C.(“In memory of five chaplains of the Society of Jesus, who died in action between 1914 and 1918, gladly offering their lives on behalf of God and their fellow-citizens:  RM, DD, WM, CMG, TC. May the Heart of Jesus receive them”.) A quiet back garden in leafy Wimbledon is an...
Former students of Beaumont College in Berkshire will be recalling those who gave their lives in two World Wars when they gather at the historic War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday. Mass organised by the Beaumont Union (BU) will be celebrated at the Grade II* listed War Memorial on Sunday 9 November.“One of the purposes of the BU is to arrange Masses to be said for our deceased,” says Old Boy Robert Wilkinson. “In this instance, it’s not just for those that gave their...

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