An exhibition celebrating the bravery of chaplains during the First World War has opened at Bradford Cathedral.
Authors, Jilly Cooper (pictured below) and Sarah Reay, were the special guests at a special reception at the Cathedral to launch the exhibition, which tells the story of priests and ministers from Bradford and further afield who risked their lives on the front line.
Both authors had grandfathers who were chaplains during the war, and spoke about them at the launch.
The Revd Cat Thatcher, assistant curate at Bradford Cathedral, has carried out extensive research to put the exhibition together. It tells of the difficulties that the chaplains faced in trying to do their job of faith in such a difficult situation. Often at the front line, but always unarmed, these men steadfastly supported soldiers and sailors of all denominations and faiths. By the end of the War, many had been decorated for bravery, and 179 had been killed.
Cat Thatcher said, "The exhibition shows how men of different denominations - Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Congregational etc - worked together to support the troops as best they could,
“We are also really pleased that at the same time, we have an information banner which contains the stories of some of the men whose names are listed on the Cathedral’s war memorial.
“One of our congregation has researched the stories of these men, and has found some of their descendants. This is really exciting for us, because up until a year or so ago, there was no one left at the Cathedral who knew who any of those men were - so this really brings their stories to life.”
Jilly Cooper’s grandfather, Rev Richard Whincup, was Vicar of Heaton and a canon of Bradford Cathedral, along with serving as a chaplain during the Battle of the Somme.
Sarah Reay, has just published a book about her grandfather - The Half Shilling Curate - which will be available to buy on the evening.
The Chaplains of the First World War free exhibition will open until Saturday, November 26