THE SUPPORT ARMS AND SERVICES (4)
No. 64. Royal Army Chaplain's Department
Major: Desert Combat Dress
Captain: Mess Dress
Background: A Field Service in the Desert
From a watercolour painting by William R. Younghusband.
Postcard No. 64 THE ROYAL ARMY CHAPLAIN'S DEPARTMENT.
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
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
Copyright © 1993 Published by Geoff White Ltd.
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