Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


Michael Galgano

Michael Seth

Andrew Witmer


This thesis documents the establishment and growth of the Canadian Protestant Chaplain Services during the Second World War. Bishop George Wells, the head of the Protestant Chaplaincy Service, defined the chaplains’ role as “providing for the men’s spiritual and moral welfare.” Despite having such an important role in maintaining the faith of their men, chaplains of the Second World War have been largely ignored within Canadian historiography. One goal of this thesis is to bring to light the story of these men who had to juggle not only their own faith, but the faith of their men in extraordinary circumstances. Chapter one describes the difficulty in creating such a service, including infighting among churches and combating a societal shift towards pacifism that occurred in the 1930s. Chapter two investigates Bishop Well’s role as head of the Chaplaincy service, both his attempts to recruit men and his own racial and religious bias in selecting chaplains. Chapter three examines the work of chaplains on the front lines, and their ability to look after the faith of their men.

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