WILLIAMS, Derrick Lovell

Title: 
Reverend
Rank: 
Chaplain 4th Class
Unit/Base: 
Regiment/Corps: 
Royal Army Chaplains Department
Service: 
Army
Service number: 
297476
Died : 
Monday, June 5, 1944
Died on war service
Age: 
30
Roll of Honour: 

Rev. Williams died whilst serving with 45RM Commando [1].

Brigadier Lord Lovat later gave this account "On Sunday René de Naurois, his decorations a splash of colour on a white surplice, said Mass for three hundred men kneeling on the grass. At the Interdenominational Church Parade a favourite hymn, that has since become our own, was sung with feeling: "Eternal Father, strong to save, O hear us when we cry to thee, For those in peril on the sea." It goes well with male voices, but the new padre preached a rotten sermon about death and destruction which caused surprise. There are few atheists to be found before a battle, or later in shell-holes. Tension was building up, and charity perhaps a trifle thin on the ground. There were a number of complaints; the cleric was suspended and told to return from whence he came. Poor fellow! A spark can cause the prairie fire! It was mistaken zeal from a man, lacking combat experience, who did not know his congregation, and doubly unfortunate in that it conflicted with my own "God speed" before departure. The incident was forgotten but the dismissal was taken badly. On the last day in camp the unfortunate man took his own life. A sad business, with barely time for regrets, for troops were belting up amid the dust and shouting as embarkation transport came grinding in to Southampton to take us away. Max, a most humane officer and the soundest of administrators, cleared up the pitiful remains. The padre was put down as a "battle casualty" [2]

 

Sources
[1] CWGC 
[2] Pegasus Archive - Normandy Lord Lovat biography [view].
 
Photo of grave in Gallery: 
Yes

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