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Royal Army Chaplain's Department

No. 64. Royal Army Chaplain's Department
: Desert Combat Dress
Captain: Mess Dress
Background: A Field Service in the Desert
From a watercolour painting by William R. Younghusband.

By the fourteenth century clergymen in the Army were fulfilling a priestly role. At Crecy in 1346 three grades of Chaplain were mentioned. In Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army of 1645 the status of Chaplains was regularised and most Regiments had their own Chaplain. In 1796 the Army Chaplains department was formed under a Chaplain general. In 1836 Roman Catholics were admitted to the Army Chaplain's Department. The Presbyterians were admitted in 1827, the Wesleyans in 1881 and the Jews in 1892. Other denominations gradually came into recognition.
The Chaplain shown is wearing disruptive pattern desert combat dress, sand boots and a black scarf embellished with two embroidered badges. He carries a respirator on his belt. He is conducting a Holy Communion service using the Field Service Book. In 1990-91, 35 Chaplain's served in the Gulf War, with their Regiments, Corps, and Field Hospitals providing welfare for the officers and troops, and spiritual care. They held Christian Services despite opposition from the Foreign Office, which feared causing diplomatic problems with Saudi Arabia being a Muslim country.
The Royal Army chaplain's Department is an 'officers only' corps. The Captain is shown wearing No. 1 Dress hat and standard very dark blue mess dress with purple facings and purple stripes down the trousers. He has on a black stock and white dog collar. His rank badges are gold and silver embroidered and he wears gold and silver collar badges with a miniature General Service Medal for N. Ireland. His George boots are black.
In the background is a desert scene with soldiers attending a field service.
Published 1994

Copyright 1993 Published by Geoff White Ltd.

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