HC Deb 23 March 1882 vol 267 cc1649-50

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is true that, while Church of England chaplains are always provided on board Her Majesty's troopships, however small the number of Protestant soldiers, Catholic chaplains are never so provided, however great the number of Catholic soldiers; and, whether he will take steps to ensure that, in providing for the spiritual wants of soldiers on board ship, all denominations shall be put on a like footing, as far as possible?


Sir, Army chaplains are in no instance embarked in any of Her Majesty's troopships for the purpose of doing duty. On the five Indian troopships and the three larger of the Imperial troopships, one Naval chaplain is borne on the complement of the ship, who does duty both for the crew and for the troops when embarked. He belongs to the Church of England, as do all the Naval chaplains for service afloat. It would be a matter of extreme difficulty to provide accommodation for clergymen of more than one denomination; but the existing arrangement provides for the needs of the majority of both Services. The shortness of modern voyages under steam has diminished the inconvenience, if I may use the word, of a state of things which the Admiralty would gladly remedy if they could.