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Hidden Courage: Postwar Literature And Anglican Army Chaplains On The Western Front, 1914–1918

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Chapter Summary

Robert Graves was perhaps the most scathing postwar critic of the Anglican army chaplains who served with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) during the Great War. It will be seen that the negative picture posited by postwar writers, while possibly rooted in real experiences, is unrepresentative and far from complete, and that Anglican chaplains played a significant, valuable and often valued role in the BEF from 1914 to 1918. The medal most commonly awarded to Anglican chaplains on the Western Front was the Military Cross, or M.C., which was instituted in December 1914 as an award for gallantry for (combatant and non-combatant) officers of the rank of captain. The chaplains themselves were the first to realize that their ability to exert any kind of influence on combatants would be greatly compromised unless they were seen to willingly expose themselves to the same dangers as junior officers and men.

Keywords: Anglican army chaplains; British Expeditionary Force (BEF); postwar writers; Robert Graves; Western Front



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