Jesuit Chaplains in the First World War

Repository: Irish Jesuit Archives

Identity Statement

TitleJesuit Chaplains in the First World War
Archive ReferenceIE IJA/CHP1
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1915-1919
Extent Medium2 boxes


Creator(s): Irish Jesuits

  • Administrative History ↴

    Thirty-two Jesuit chaplains of the Irish Province served in the First World War. They served on the battlefields of France, Belgium, Egypt and Mesopotamia. Four Jesuits were killed: Frs. John Gwynn (12 October 1915), William Doyle (17 August 1917), Michael Bergin (12 October 1917) and John Fitzgibbon (18 September 1918). Two Jesuits died from illness: Frs. Austin Hartigan (16 July 1916) and Edward Sydes (15 November 1918). Approximately eleven Irish-born Jesuit chaplains of the English Province served in in the First World War. They included Frs. Timothy Carey (Limerick) and Walter Montagu (Cromore, Portstewart, Co. Derry) who both died on active service. Fr. William Keary SJ (Woodford, Galway) initially joined the Irish Province but transferred to the English Province.
  • Archival History ↴

    Material sent back by Jesuits to the Irish Province.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Irish Jesuits ↴

    The majority of letters are from individual chaplains to the Irish Jesuit Provincial Fr. Thomas V. Nolan SJ, (1914 – 1919). There are some postcards, photographs and medals. Some are rich in details (Fr. Daniel Roche SJ, 43 items) others have but an obituary. Includes letters to the Irish Jesuit Provincial from Archbishop’s House, Westminster, England concerning the nomination of various Irish Jesuits as chaplains to the forces and their demobilisation, letters on wages and expenditures of chaplains and the appeal for chaplains. Six Jesuits served with the Australian army.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    All items retained permanently
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows:

    Papers of individual chaplains
    i. Patrick Barrett, S.J. (1866-1942)
    ii. Michael Bergin, S.J., M.C. (1879-1917)
    iii. Francis M. Browne, S.J., M.C. (1880-1960)
    iv. Gerald Corr, S.J. (1875-1941)
    v. John Delaney, S.J., M.C. (1883-1956)
    vi. William Doyle, S.J., M.C. (1873-1917)
    vii. John Elliott, S.J. (1857-1942)
    viii. John Fitzgibbon, S.J., M.C. (1882-1918)
    ix. Joseph Flinn, S.J. (1877-1943)
    x. Henry Gill, S.J., M.C., D.S.O. (1872-1945)
    xi. John Gwynn, S.J. (1866-1915)
    xii. William Gwynn, S.J. (1865-1950)
    xiii. Austin Hartigan, S.J. (1882-1916)
    xiv. Joseph Hearn, S.J. , M.C. (1854-1941)
    xv. James McCann, S.J., M.C. (1875-1951)
    xvi. Stanislaus McLoughlin, S.J. (1863-1956)
    xvii. John MacSheahan, S.J., M.C. (1885-1956)
    xviii. James Magan, S.J. (1881-1959)
    xix. Thomas Maher, S.J. (1859-1917)
    xx. Patrick Morris, S.J. (1882-1966)
    xxi. Hugh Mulhall, S.J. (1871-1948)
    xxii. Francis X. O’Brien, S.J. (1881-1974)
    xxiii. Jerome O’Mahony, S.J. (1869-1930)
    xxiv. Patrick O’Mara, S.J. (1875-1969)
    xxv. Bernard Page, S.J. (1877-1948)
    xxvi. Henry Potter, S.J. (1866-1932)
    xxvii. Daniel Roche, S.J., M.C. (1882-1961)
    xxviii. Francis Shaw, S.J. (1881-1924)
    xxix. Edward Sydes, S.J. (1863-1918)
    xxx. Patrick Tighe, S.J. (1866-1920)
    xxxi. Joseph Wrafter, S.J., M.C. (1865-1934)

    An Irish Jesuit, Michael Col[e]man, was appointed chaplain from Australia to Egypt, voyage only: embarked 21/09/1915 – terminated 30/12/1915.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details:
Conditions Governing ReproductionNo material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.
Creation Dates1915-1919
Extent Medium2 boxes
Finding Aids Descriptive List Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialIndividual Jesuit files, for example, IE IJA/J7 - Fr. Frank Browne SJ, may contain further material. The Rawlinson Papers, Downside Abbey Archives, Bath, England. The National Archives, UK. National Archives of Australia. Archives of the British Jesuit Province
Publication NoteBrennan, John Martin. 'Irish Catholic Chaplains in the First World War', M. Phil. thesis, The University of Birmingham, July 2011. Burke, Damien (ed.). 'Irish Jesuit Chaplains in the First World War'. Dublin: Messenger Publications, 2012. Carswell, Simon. ‘The First World War Diary of Henry Gill SJ, June - November 1916’, History Project, Department of Modern History, TCD, 1998. Chaplains Weekly. Publication of the English Jesuits. 1916-1918 Irish Province News. Obituaries. 1925-1992 McCann, Fr. James SJ. 'A Catholic Chaplain in the Great War', The Irish Monthly, Vol. 68, No. 805 (Jul., 1940), pp. 372-379 Rafferty, Oliver. ‘Catholic Chaplains to the British Forces in the First World War’. pp33-64 Religion, State & Society, Vol. 39, No. 1, March 2011. Routledge. There are a number of books and articles on Frs. Michael Bergin, Frank Browne and William Doyle .

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteDamien Burke, 1998, with some additions in 2007 and 2010.
Rules/ConventionsIGAD: Irish Guidelines for Archival Description. Dublin: Society of Archivists, Ireland, 2009. ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottowa: International Council on Archives, 2000. National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997. Irish Guidelines for Indexing Archives. Dublin: Archives and Records Association, Ireland, 2013.
Date of Descriptions41640