Local Minister's insight into the Church in WWI

by Michael Ford last modified 16 Jul, 2019 02:03 PM

A set of diaries written by a chaplain on the Western Front and edited by a Wiltshire minister have been hailed as offering a a unique insight into a period of change for the Army, Chaplains, and the Church of England during a critical period of the First World War.

The Revd Dr Peter Howson, a Methodist Minister with PtO for Methodist services in St James's Ludgershall with Faberstown, edited the volume of the World War One diaries from the Western Front of Bishop Llewellyn Gwynne, the Bishop of Khartoum.

Further details of the book can be found here.

Peter was himself an army chaplain before settling near Andover.

The diaries are exceptional as Bishop Llewellyn Gwynne was one of just a few men who spent the whole of World War One serving in the British Expeditionary Force, from its initial deployment in August 1914 to its demobilisation in February 1919.

On leave in London in the summer of 1914, he persuaded the Archbishop of Canterbury that his experience with troops in Sudan made him an ideal candidate for a temporary commission as a chaplain.

Gwynne went to France with a hospital and then, in December 1914, was transferred to a Field Ambulance in the front line. During July 1915, he was summoned back to London to be told that he was now the Deputy Chaplain General and thus responsible for the oversight of all Anglican chaplains.

An inveterate diarist, Gwynne kept a detailed record of his life as a unit chaplain and how he managed the transition to high office in the Army Chaplains' Department.

The diaries are preceded by an introduction that discusses the work and organisation of Anglican chaplains in the department and how Gwynne came to have the role in it that he did. Together, they offer a unique insight into a period of change for the army, chaplains and the Church of England during a critical period of the war.

More information on the book can be found here.

Document Actions