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The Cowley Fathers and the First World War

  • Brian Taylor (a1)

Extract

Three sundays after the outbreak of war, Fr Congreve, aged nearly 79, preached in the society’s church in Oxford, and gave a summary of professor J. B. Mozley’s sermon on war, delivered during the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, ‘for the sake’ he said, ‘of those of us who do not know it’. Fr Benson, the founder of the society, lived until 14 January 1915. At the age of 90 he kept abreast of the news, and was angered by the German bombardment of West Hartlepool and Bridlington; ‘he spoke with scorn of this effort of the enemy, and again and again spoke of its uselessness from a military point of view. ‘

The Superior General of the Society of St John the Evangelist, Fr Maxwell, realised that the war would cause a reduction in subscriptions. While no new work would be undertaken, he urged ‘we are really anxious to impress upon our friends that by far the greater part of our work is not such as can be retrenched without causing much suffering, and without crippling our effort in the future’. For example, they had the care of young children in the missions, who could not wait for ‘their next meal until after the war is over’.

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Copyright

References

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1 C[owley] E[vangelist] September 1914 p 195.

2 Ibid February 1915 pp 25-6.

3 Ibid October 1914 p 224.

4 Ibid March 1916 p 53.

5 SSJE Chapter Minutes, 3 August 1915, pp 192-4. I am grateful to the Superior General for making the minute book available to me.

6 An account of Waggett’s war service is in Nias, John, Falme from an Oxford Cloister (London 1961) pp 127140 .

7 CE December 1945 p 99.

8 Ibid February 1915 pp 33-4.

9 Preface to Conran, M.W.T., The National Mission (London 1916) p 5 .

10 14 January 1916. Information about Fr Conran, and also Frs Peacey, Strong and Wigram has been kindly supplied by Major R. Gresty, Defence Services.

11 CE July 1916 p 167.

12 Ibid April 1917 p 77.

13 Ibid April 1917 p 77; July 1917 p 149; October 1917 p 224; July 1918 171. D.M. Hope to the author, 6 January 1982.

14 SSJE Chapter Minutes, 2 August 1916 p 259; August 1918 p 334.

15 CE November 1918 p 239.

16 The Messenger (the magazine of St John the Evangelist Bowdoin Street, Boston, in which SSJE American news also appeared) August 1918. Cuttings from The Messenger were supplied by Fr David Allen SSJE.

17 CE July 1918 p 160.

18 D. Allen to the author, 5 February 1982.

19 The Messenger August, September and November 1918.

20 Bell, G.K.A., Randall Davidson (3 ed London 1952) pp 848-50.

21 CE May 1918 p 118.

22 Ibid June 1918 p 139; November 1952 pp 133-4.

23 Ibid November 1918 p 239; A Hundred Years in Bengal (Delhi 1979) p 151.

24 CE October 1959 p 145.

25 Ibid June 1918 p 139; August 1918 pp 175-6; September 1918 p 192; October 1918 p 212; November 1918 p 235; January 1919 pp 12-13; March 1919 p 53; July 1919 p 134; September 1919 p 173; December 1919 p 231; January 1920 p 19.

26 Ibid June 1918 p 139; September 1918 pp 193-5; November 1918 p 239; February 1919 p 33; London Gazette 30 July 1919.

27 R.T. Davidson to brother Michael, 19 March 1920.

28 B. Taylor, Brother Michael (Gloucester 1965) pp 12-17; Mclnnes, E.M., St Thomas’s Hospital (London 1963) pp 160-1. Some wards had been in use for wounded service-men since September 1914.

29 The Messenger November 1918.

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