Foreign Field Worship Kits
“The cup of the chalice is silver, but at some point before Waterloo it was fixed on top of a brass candlestick – perhaps a silver base was broken or stolen. This chalice would be used to hold wine during Christian religious services, letting soldiers in the congregation take Holy Communion. Revd. Stonestreet’s name is carved into the base of the chalice.
“This object reminds us of the role of religion in the life of the British Army. Many of the soldiers were Anglicans, others Roman Catholic, and yet others belonged to the flourishing Methodist church. The Methodists were treated by many, including the Duke of Wellington, with great suspicion due to their potentially revolutionary tendencies. Such activity went against the grain of social order and army discipline.
“The British Army’s chaplains were all Anglican (from the Church of England), with the exception of those with the King’s German Legion and Chasseurs Britanniques (a Regiment made up of French emigrants who fought for Britain). The chaplains challenged many of the social norms of the period in seeking to assure the men of the rightness of their cause and providing religious assurance in the face of the horrors of war. Although this was a period when outward showing of religion was not encouraged, many of the soldiers held deep religious convictions and were familiar with texts of the Prayer Book and Bible.
“The chaplains also engaged in visiting the sick, conducting divine worship, and attending executions, as well as providing education for soldiers’ children.
“George Griffin Stonestreet (1782-1857) was ordained in 1807 after taking his degree at Cambridge. In 1814 he became an army chaplain and joined Sir Thomas Graham’s campaign in Flanders. He spent the early days of the Waterloo Campaign in Brussels looking after wounded soldiers and then marched with the 1st Division into Paris. Four years after Waterloo he went on half-pay. He ended his life as prebendary of Lincoln (1822-1857). He was sufficiently distinguished to have his portrait painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence.” (Picture and text from the Waterloo 200 website)
British Chaplain Kit from 1915 (photo origins unknown)
A WW1 French chaplain’s gear to include his chaplain kit, 1916 (photos from Histoiremilitaria 14-18).
I just (July 2017) received a Swiss Protestant Field Worship kit. I’m not sure of the years it was used, it appears modern (and is in near-new condition) but the included Bible is dated 1966 and the Liturgy book is dated 1953, both which appear to have been included with the kit so it’s no older than 1966 and likely a bit newer (author’s collection):
It is an ingenious design, all being contained in a wooden outer box which protects the inner metal case (with a leather handle). Inside the metal case are several more metal boxes and tubes of varying sizes which protect the contents. Here are a few pictures of the way it gets packed up:
Once open, inside the lid of the inner metal box are pieces that attach to the metal box, when closed, to form the altar:
Next comes the altar cover with the Swiss flag as the altar frontal. The top of the flag and the front of the altar cover have snaps to connect the two so they cover the altar and hang in front. The bottom of the flag has weights to keep it from blowing in the wind:
According to the diagram under the cover, the altar set-up includes a large square bread plate, three chalices, the Bible with Bible stand, and the appropriate purificators:
The chalices are stored in a soft cloth pouch inside of a metal tube:
There’s a rectangular metal box that holds the purificators, altar cover and flag:
There’s another rectangular box with a cross on the lid that appears to be for hospital, brig or other individual visitation. It has two small chalices, a ciborium and a small plastic bottle.
A larger, square metal box holds the square bread plate on top, leaving room for bread underneath. This is likely not the wafers or crackers American Soldiers receive but rather baked loaves of bread since the kit also comes with a bread knife!:
Finally, there are two books included, stored in a leather (-like) case, a Bible and a Liturgy book:
Set-up and storage are illustrated and explained in German and French on a panel inside the cover: