The Royal Army Chaplains' Department, 1796-1953

The Royal Army Chaplains' Department, 1796-1953

Clergy under Fire

Michael Snape


Boydell Press



A survey and reassessment of the role of the army chaplain in its first 150 years.
Few military or ecclesiastical figures are as controversial as the military chaplain, routinely attacked by pacifist and anticlerical commentators and too readily dismissed by religious and military historians. This highly revisionist study represents a complete reappraisal of the role of the British army chaplain and of the Royal Army Chaplains' Department in the first century and a half of its existence. Challenging old caricatures and stereotypes and drawing on a wealth of new archival material, it surveys the political, denominational and organisational development of the R.A.Ch.D., analyses the changing role and experience of the British army chaplain across the nineteenth century and the two World Wars, and addresses the wider significance of British army chaplaincy for Britain's military, religious and cultural history over the period c.1800-1950.

MICHAEL SNAPE is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Birmingham. The volume has a Foreword by Richard Holmes.


November 2007
34 black and white illustrations
480 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Modern British Religious History
ISBN: 9781843833468
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

The Origins and Early Years of the Army Chaplains' Department
The Army Chaplains' Department from Waterloo to the Crimea
The Army Chaplains' Department from the Crimea to South Africa
The Army Chaplains' Department and the First World War
The Royal Army Chaplains' Department and the Second World War


(The author's) wide range of knowledge has made him the ideal historian of this particular department and enabled him to place it firmly in context. JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY
This authoritative an impressively documented account of the Department from its foundation in 1769 up to the Korean War. CHURCH TIMES (An) admirable book.(...) Full of rigorous and incisive analysis based on deep research in the archives.(...)Gives a wealth of detail about the RAChD, individual chaplains, and their role in the wider army, and this book is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the wider history of the British army. THE BRITISH ARMY REVIEW

A fine study (and) a work of huge scholarship and wide range. BAPTIST QUARTERLY

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