Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon


Thanksgiving Celebrations for Victory

Thanksgiving Celebrations for Victory

The GOC was present at the first chaplains' conference after the end of the war in Europe. At this conference he thanked the chaplains for their work throughout the war and enlisted their aid in meeting certain immediate problems. He asked that 13 May should be observed as ‘Thanksgiving Day’ and directed that all available personnel should attend the special Church services. An order of service was drawn up for the 2nd NZEF and a special one arranged for the Roman Catholics.

The latter celebrated the Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving in the Basilica of St. Anthony in Trieste. The Mass was sung by Father Fletcher17 and the sermon preached by Father Walsh.18 Some weeks later this great church was again filled by New Zealanders, including General Freyberg, when a Solemn Requiem for the Fallen was celebrated.

Later in the year, on 19 August, special Thanksgiving services were held throughout the Division to commemorate victory against Japan. Four memorial and dedication services were also attended by General Freyberg and a special contingent of troops and chaplains. The first of these was held at Suda Bay in Crete, where it was estimated that some ten thousand Cretans took part, the second at the British military cemetery near the Sangro, the third at Cassino, and the fourth at Alamein.

page 114

But the story of the Chaplains' Department does not end with the announcement of victory, for there were several other groups of chaplains who played an important part in the spiritual life of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force.