MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
I beg to ash the Under Secretary of State for War whether it is usual to send a Roman Catholic chaplain with. Irish Militia regiments, mostly composed of Roman Catholics, going to South Africa; whether the North Dublin Militia, when volunteering for service at the front, asked that they should be provided with a Roman Catholic chaplain, and were promised that 1420 they would have one; whether there was a Roman Catholic chaplain on the s.s. "Servia," on which the North Dublin Militia sailed from Queenstown for South Africa; if not, will he explain why one was not provided; were there any Protestant chaplains on the same ship, and how many? and whether he will see that in future Irish Roman Catholic Militia going to the front are provided with a chaplain of their own religion.
*MR. J. POWELL-WILLIAMS (for Mr. WYNDHAM)
The answer to the first paragraph of the hon. Member's question is in the negative. Chaplains are not appointed regimentally; but are attached to divisions. In answer to the second paragraph I have to say that nothing is known of any such request. Two Church of England clergymen who went out as volunteers without pay happened to be travelling on the "Servia." Seven Roman Catholic chaplains are serving with the troops in South Africa; and the generals in command can, if necessary, make, in addition, arrangements with the local clergy for ministration to the soldiers. The War Office cannot undertake that there shall be a Roman Catholic clergyman on every transport, but all that is possible is done to provide for the religious needs of the troops.