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The Abolition of Compulsory Church Parades in the British Army

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2005

JEREMY A. CRANG
Affiliation:
Centre for Second World War Studies, University of Edinburgh, 24 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LN; e-mail: J.A.Crang@ed.ac.uk

Abstract

The compulsory church parade was one of the oldest traditions in the British army, dating back to the seventeenth century. In 1946, shortly after the end of the Second World War, the practice was abolished. This was a significant moment in Army–Church relations since the compulsory attendance of soldiers at divine worship had been an official acknowledgement of the importance of religion as a guiding force in the corporate life of the army. This article explores the background to this historic decision and the unsuccessful efforts of senior officers in the late 1940s to restore the ritual.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2005 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

Parl. Deb.=Parliamentary debates, Commons, 5th ser. cdxxi, 1945–6; PRO=Public Record Office; TNA=The National Archives; WO=War Office papers
I am grateful to Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch and the anonymous referee for this JOURNAL for their comments on a draft version of this article.
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