Douai Crest


Twelve monks from Douai were to become army chaplains. Frs Kelly and 0’Shaughnessy had been commissioned in 1914 and they were later joined by Frs Alphonsus Webb in 1915, William Buggins and Dunstan Collingwood in 1916, Adrian Coughlin, Aidan Coyle, Clement Green, Raphael Ludford, and Ignatius Rice in 1917, and Dominic Fennell and Anthony Jordan in 1918.

Dom Alphonsus was ordained in1898 and commissioned in August 1915. During the early part of his service he was a chaplain on the Western Front but was later assigned to a hospital ship in the Far East. Whilst serving in Egypt Dom Alphonsus contracted malaria and also underwent an operation to repair his ears damaged by sand penetration.

Bernard Buggins was ordained in 1904 and served from 1916 until 1919 with the BEF being attached to184th Infantry Brigade.

Dunstan Collingwood was ordained in 1902 and like Dom Bernard served in France from 1916 until 1919 being attached to 6th Field Ambulance, 2nd Division.

Dom Adrian Coughlin had already experienced a full priestly and academic career before he became an army chaplain. Having received his Doctorate he was ordained in Rome in 1904. He later became Prefect of Studies and headmaster at Douai, and then Professor of Philososphy at Belmont. After work in Australia and New Guinea, Dom Adrian spent the early part of the war working in Rome. Towards the end of 1917, however, he received permission from Abbot Hurley to volunteer as an army chaplain. For the next four years he was to be chaplain to the forces in the Middle East and Egypt.

Dom Aidan Coyle was commissioned in October 1917 and left with the rank of major in 1919. Fr Coyle served in France and like other chaplains won the respect and affection of the officers and men he ministered to. For his devotion to his arduous and dangerous duties he was mentioned in despatches

Dom Clement Green served exactly a year as a chaplain, entering in May 1917 and leaving in May 1918 after service in France.

Dom Raphael Ludford also entered in late 1917 and served in France. He was demobilised in 1920.

Frs Ignatius Rice, Dominic Fennell and Anthony Jordan were all to be commissioned in the latter months of the war and all served on the Western Front. Their obituaries contain little detail of their military careers.

Extract from Benedictine Military Chaplains in the First World War by James H Hagerty