The RCB Library has now released in full the weekly editions of the 1915 The Church of Ireland Gazette online, highlights from which are presented via a digital exhibition as the April 2015 Archive of the Month. From Wednesday 1st April, these will be available at this link: www.ireland.anglican.org/library/archive
The 1915 editions add to those already available for the years 1913 and 1914, enabling further analysis of various aspects of the momentous changes that occurred in Ireland and now being marked in the Decade of Commemorations. The contents of the Church of Ireland Gazette provide an invaluable resource about the opinions and attitudes of members of the Church of Ireland through changing times. Written and read by lay and clerical members of the Church, north and south, access via the online search engine brings to life at the touch of a button how unfolding political events in Ireland and abroad were communicated to and received by members of this significant minority community on the island one hundred years ago.
Last year the Library (which is the principal repository for Church of Ireland records) launched a sponsorship appeal to continue the work of digitization of this important resource. These efforts have come to the attention of the Irish government, and financial support from the National Commemorations Programme (managed by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) has made possible the work presented online for the first time covering the 1915 editions. It is hoped that further support from other individuals will enable the work to continue over the next few years, and sponsorship details are available on the presentation page.
The online exhibition highlights the Gallipoli Campaign by the Allied forces which began on 25 April 1915, and would continue for over 8 months until 9 January 1916. The paper’s weekly war column “The War Week by Week” carried interesting analysis of the operation to secure the Dardanelles and indeed all the other theatres of war. By 1915, the initials “W.B.W.” under the column reveal that the editor himself, Warre B. Wells, was author of their texts which drew on the latest bulletins issued by the War Office. As we have previously noted, Wells served as Gazette editor during the entire period of the First World War. A layman and Redmondite he clearly supported Irish involvement in the military effort by endorsing and publicising active recruitment at every opportunity in his editorials and columns.
A significant new feature introduced to the weekly Gazette from the 24 September 1915 was the “Roll of Honour of Clergy” which sought to illustrate the military service of clerical families, through publication of a series of portraits with accompanying biographical sketches of the sons, or near relations of Irish clergy who were either ‘bearing arms’, or had already ‘laid down their lives in their country’s cause’. The new feature began with the eldest son of the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd John Baptist Crozier - Major Baptist Crozier – who served with the Royal Artillery. Alongside Crozier, and more poignantly appeared the picture of Robert Bernard, the younger son of the Rt Revd J.H. Bernard, Bishop of Ossory, who, having served with the Royal Fusiliers in India, is reported as being killed in action on 26th April 1915 at Sedd–el–Bahr on the Gallipoli Peninsula, the day after the Fusiliers effected a landing on this beach at the beginning of the Gallipoli campaign.
Further background about the history of the Gazette (including a full list of its editors) produced in conjunction with the digital release of the 1913 editions as the Archive of the Month for August 2013 is permanently available here: http://ireland.anglican.org/about/175
The online release of 1915 will be on Wednesday 1st April 2015: available via the search engine here: www.ireland.anglican.org/library/archiveFor further information please contact: