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gmac101

Royal Naval Division Chaplains at Gallipoli

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I've been researching the men on the Galashiels War Memorial and one of the last (and likely the oldest he died aged 52) is William Dobson.  He went missing during attacks in May 1915 but on his service records there is a note that his body was recovered by a Chaplain of the 1st RND in September.  He was serving in the Otago Regiment of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force Force and his records are here:http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE13996951

 

Does anybody know the names of the Chaplain in the RND?  Was this an organised effort?

 

Thanks

 

Gavin 

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ID: 2   Posted (edited)

There were at least five chaplains attached to the RND at divisional and brigade level in late May/early June 1915. The earliest RND burial at Redoubt Cemetery was killed in action on 19 May and was followed by a further dozen between 24 and 28 May - nearly all RMLI k.i.a.. It is possible, therefore, that the latest 23 May date of Dobson's death points to a burial at the same time as these RND men but the name of the officiating RND Chaplain is unknown.

 

Edited by horatio2

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The Chaplain to the 3rd (RM) Brigade of the RND was Rev. Charles Wilfred Gwennap MOORE, MA. Since the burials at Redoubt were for RMLI men of that brigade he may have been involved.

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Thanks horatio2 for the information. It was always a long shot that it would be possible to identify the Chaplain retrieving the bodies.  

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For interest, the chaplains (including Rev. Moore) landed at Gallipoli with the medical staff in late April are listed here:

https://archive.org/stream/JRNMSVOL12Images/JRNMS_VOL_12#page/n59/mode/2up

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Many thanks seaJane for that useful reference  

 

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The Rev. Charles Wilfred Gwennap MOORE, MA can be seen here https://albertaonrecord.ca/is-red-823

He may appear in the Group photograph provided by Martin above: second row, fourth from the right - but I'm not 100% sure by any means

 

regards

Michael

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ID: 9   Posted (edited)

The Otago battalion was in Helles from 6th-19th May 1915. Either side of these dates it was in ANZAC. His records seem to indicate that he was killed sometime between 1st- 23rd May, meaning there is a very slim chance he was killed at ANZAC rather than Cape Helles. Edit. If buried in Redoubt Cemetery it can not be ANZAC. My error. That said, if his body was found 4 months later by an RND Chaplain, this is likely to have been in the area south of Krithia where the RND was operating at the time - the same ground covered by the NZ Infantry Brigade in May 1915. 

 

The 1914-15 Star medal rolls should enable you to draw up a short-list of RND Chaplains who served in Gallipoli. Attrition was extremely high in 1915 - for example just over a quarter of the original RM Officers were evacuated sick. This means there might be scope for the Chaplain in question to have been a later replacement. Just a thought. MG

Edited by QGE

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ID: 10   Posted (edited)

A detailed look at this man's record is illuminating

He was indeed 52 years old

and on enlistment he was pronounced 'Fit (if allowed to wear glasses)”

 

However, of more interest as regards who was the Chaplain concerned, is the note on page 9

 

“Letter signed by Chaplain 1st RN Brigade, RND, Cape Helles 13.9.15.

(This letter also includes burial report, but no details as to position of grave are given.)

Letter received by Record Office 4.10.15.”

 

I think that we should be looking to confirm who was the Chaplain to the 1st RN Brigade (RND) on 13th September 1915

 

[1st RN Brigade suggests it would not have been Moore who was with the RM?]

 

58f764c858e93_Dobsonsrecordpage9.jpg.d5b806b7546a542618839f614da7943e.jpg

Edited by michaeldr

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Some candidates. Word searching 'Chaplain' in Jerrold's history finds three Chaplains of the RND (no specific sub unit mentioned) who left the Peninsula between Aug and Sep;

 

H D Foster

B Failes

F Pierce

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If I'm not mistaken, Foster was with the 2nd RN Brigade

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On Four Fronts is a blank with regards to Chaplain's names..

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ID: 16   Posted (edited)

Spot on, Michael.

I think Rev. Bernard James Failes BA (MiD x 2) is probably the man. If we are looking at a September burial, Rev Failes is recorded as having buried a Drake Battalion rating  on 23 September in Kew Trench (he is now in Redoubt), one of six 1st Brigade deaths (3 x Drake; 3 x Hood all now in Redoubt) during the period 10 - 27 September 1915. Drakes (1st Bde) were in the line 7 - 15 Sep (2 deaths) and 22 - 29 Sep (4 deaths).

Edited by horatio2

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18 minutes ago, horatio2 said:

Rev. Bernard James Failes BA (MiD x 2) is probably the man.

 

And in the 1919 Birthday Honours, an OBE as a token of reward for services rendered

see the LG https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31379/supplement/7051/data.pdf

 

To be Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:—

Acting Chaplain the Rev. Bernard James Failes, M.A., R.N

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Thank you very much for everybody's help with this. William Dobson was quite a character he served in the border rifle volunteers based in his home town of Galashiels, at some time he then moved to Queensland where he also serve in their forces.  he finally ended up in New Zealland where he also served in the local volunteers. He then tried to enlist in the NZ army when war broke out but was refused.  He then got a job on one of the troopships as a plumber and was finally enlisted when they arrived in Alexandria. (You can see this in his papers). His determination to enlist was reported in his home town paper in early 1916 when confirmation of his death reached Scotland.  If he not emigrated he may still have met his fate in Gallipoli as the 1/4th KOSB ( the replacement for the Border Rifle Volunteers post Childers)  suffered severe casualties on the 12th of July 1915 during the battle of Achi Baba.  The paper notes that he left a grown up family 

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Glad to have been of help and thanks for those extra details on Dobson

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ID: 20   Posted (edited)

Incidentally, the Rev B J Failes is also recorded as the Chaplain who officiated at the burial of Rupert Brooke on 23rd April 1915 [see ADM/337/117 image ref 185]

Edited by michaeldr

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