Bishop Gwynne

Deputy Chaplain-General to the British Armies on the Western Front during the First World War

Neville Benyon

Date Published :
November 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Wolverhampton Military Studies
Illustration :
16 b/w photos
No associated books available.


The celebrated General Sir Herbert Plumer once referred to BEF Deputy Chaplain General Llewellyn Henry Gwynne (1863–1957) “as the man who did most to win the war.” This new study of Gwynne’s philosophy and work explores his formative years including his time at St John’s Theological College, Highbury. It also sheds light on his pre-war experiences as a young curate and priest in the industrial midlands, subsequent Sudan missionary work, and First World War service during which he achieved the rank of major general responsible to commanders of the four British armies on the Western Front.

The army chaplain general’s conferences, over which Gwynne presided, looked forward to a time when hostilities would end and the clergy could return to their “calling” of ministering congregations. From there they would lay foundations for a better world than that consumed by the upheaval of war. These lively wartime forums, during which the spiritual and temporal aspects of current conflict and anticipated peace were discussed and debated, had much in common with Diocesan Synodical meetings. So much so that they could be considered the guiding body of a true “Diocese of the Western Front”.

Based on groundbreaking archival research, including original agendas and meeting minutes, this volume contributes to our understanding of the vital role of Anglican chaplains during the years 1914–18 whilst reevaluating the military career and legacy of a venerated cleric.

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