Dahlia Harrison

Dahlia Harrison

Department of History
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: British Army Chaplains in the South African War, 1899-1902
Supervisors: Dr Michael Snape
PhD Modern History


The research, which relates to chaplains who served with the forces engaged in the wars in South Africa, involves establishing the background to the events, discovering what difficulties and/or controversies arose in recruiting suitable chaplains to serve overseas, the number selected, and how the chaplains adapted to their new, military environment. The research should establish the denominational balance of the serving chaplains, their expertise, how much they had to improvise or learn, what was new, how they adapted to the religious mix of the men they encountered, the relationships between the chaplains themselves, and whether or not their experiences were absorbed into the Army Chaplains Department as lessons for the future.

If sufficient material is found from diaries, letters, journals and articles, I propose to include case studies to assess the spirituality and ministry of the chaplains. Another aspect to the research is that it is impossible to understand the chaplain without reference to the men he is serving with. The sources will be investigated to see if they bear any relevance or can add anything to the research, in terms of the conditions, perceptions and experiences at the time they are written. The reactions of the soldiers in respect of the ministrations and support from the clergy may be relevant as will the chaplain’s reactions or otherwise to the men as the chaplain was neither an officer nor a serving soldier.