Further Reading

Army Chaplains in the First World War

In August 1914 there were full time  a total of 117 chaplains , 89 of them Church of England, 11 Presbyterian and 17 Roman Catholic.  In addition to these numbers there were chaplains attached to the Territorial Force (T.F.). By November 1918 on the Western Front alone there were 878 C of E, 389 Roman Catholic, 161 Presbyterian, 127 Wesleyan, 126 United Board, 5 Welsh Calvinistic  Methodists, 8 Jewish and 4 Salvation Army.  All chaplains were volunteers, and many were indeed curates. C of E Chaplains were initially posted to Brigades.

The names of clergy who were commissioned as Temporary Chaplains to the Forces (T.C.F.) are recorded in the ‘Army List’  Their names were also published in ‘The London Gazette’ the date of their appointment is given.   Entries in ‘Crockfords’ Clerical Directory’ normally indicate service as an army chaplain with ‘T.C.F. 1915-16’ etc.


For many years the only book available about the History of Chaplaincy in the British Army was ‘In this Sign Conquer (1968) by Sir John Smyth VC.

Over the last few years, there has been a flurry of activity in the academic world which has resulted in a number of high quality studies which examine the History of Chaplaincy in some detail.

Professor Michael Snape of the University of Durham has been a prolific researcher in this field. Firstly, in his book God and the British Soldier’ (2005) he included a chapter on ‘The Command and the Clergy’ in which he examines the transformation of the Army Chaplain’s Department during the two World Wars. This was followed in 2008 by his seminal work on the History of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department 1796 – 1953 ‘Clergy under Fire’ (2008) which will certainly be accepted as the standard work on this subject for many years to come.  

Professor Snape’s work is complemented by research into chaplains from the Baptist Union carried out by a serving Army Chaplain; the Reverend Neil  E Allison CF.  His book ‘The Official History of the United Board The Clash of Empires 1914 – 39 Volume One’ was published in 2008.

The work of Anglican Chaplains in the Great War has been for many years a subject of controversy which is ably tackled by Linda Parker in her book ‘The Whole Armour of God : Anglican Army Chaplains in the Great War’ (2009)

A further study ‘Faith Under Fire: Anglican Army Chaplains and the Great War’ by Dr Edward Madigan of Royal Holloway, University of London, was published in January 2011.  Based on his PhD Thesis this book examines in detail the role of army chaplains on active service, their impact on troop morale, views on the faith of the soldiers, personal relations with these men, and the social and political projects they pioneered in post-war Britain.

Often quoted are the numbers of Army Chaplains who died during the First World War.  This is a subject recorded in detail in ‘Greater Love Greater Love: A Directory of Chaplains of the British Army, Australian, Canadian, East African, New Zealand and South African Forces Who Gave Their Lives in the Period 1914-1922’ (2008) by the Reverend David Youngson.

The role of Army Chaplains in the Second World War has also come under academic scrutiny. ’ Chaplains at War: The Role of Clergymen During World War II’ by Dr Alan Robinson, uses interviews with former chaplains, officers and soldiers and extensive archive research in military, government and church archives

The Army Chaplains' Department 1914-1918

Books and Monographs

Periodical Articles