Posted on 8th Nov 2021
In the World War on at Home feature produced by Radio Cumbria in 2018 , Local Historian Joe Ritson refers to the role played the clergy of the respective local Churches during the course of the great war .
Cleator Moor man Pat OKane has shared with us his research on the 8 priests who having served at St Marys RC Church Cleator went onto enlist as military chaplains during the War , some being decorated for their courage and outstanding service .
Pats research shows that during WW1 860 Catholic priests served as Chaplains ,36 of them making the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their sevice to the troops .
The Chaplains would enter active duty as first lieutenants and were then quickly promoted to the grade of captainand so on . Chaplains are regarded non-combatants: they do not have the right to participate directly in hostilities.
Pat says that "The support and dedication given to the woulded and dying throughout the conflict by the Catholic priests won the repect and adniration of their comardes of all denominations "
Pat O'Kanes research found that 8 Benedictine clergy who served as curates at Cleator went to enlist as Military Chaplains . They were
Dom Francis Alphonsus Webb OSB see photo
Served as Assistant priest at Cleator pre- war and enlisted from Aug 1915 to March 1918 . After the War he was Parish priest at St Josephs Frizington and is buried at St Marys
Dom James Maurus Kelly OSB MC
He was assistant priest at Cleator up to the early 1900s , He enlisted in 1914 and served until the end of the war . During that time he was awarded th Military Cross and bar in recognition of his outstanding service .
Dom Aidan Coyle OSB
Aidan Coyle enlisted before working in a parish , serving from 1917 until the end of 1919 . He was mentioned in despatches for conspicuous bravery and was promoted to Senior Chapilain and given the Rank of Major . After the army he came to Cleator as assistant priest in 1919 and was later Parish Priest at Frizington
Dom Edward Dominic Fennell OSB
Was assistant priest at Cleator before and after the war . He served as a Chaplain from 1918 to 1919
Dom Bernard Dunstan Collingwood OSB
He was assistant priest at Cleator from1902 to 1906 . Was a Chaplain from 1916 to Oct 1919 . He died in 1960 and is buried in the Grotto at Cleator
Fr Arthur Anthony Jordan
Assistant Priest at Cleator 1908 to 1911 Seved as a chaplainin the latter years of the War
Dom William Bernard Buggins OSB
Served as Chaplain from March 1916 to March 1919
Dom Francis John O'Shaughnessy OSB
He was assistant priest at Cleator from 1916 after serving as a Chaplain from November 1914 to December 1915
In our next part of this feature we will focus on the legendary Vicar from St Leonards Cleator , Rev Ceasar Caine