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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Canon Professor Michael Snape

Snape, Michael & Henshaw, Victoria (2017). Flanders and Helmand: chaplaincy, faith and religious change in the British Army, 1914-2014. Journal of Beliefs and Values 38(2): 199-214.

Author(s) from Durham


The year 2014 marked the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and the end of eight years of major British combat operations in Afghanistan. Against the background of profound religious changes in British society over the course of the intervening century, this article examines the continuities and discontinuities between British army chaplaincy on the Western Front from 1914 to 1918 and in southern Afghanistan from 2006 to 2014, and explores the religious beliefs and practices of British soldiers caught up in the deadly and protracted struggles on the Western Front and in Helmand Province. While acknowledging major differences in the operational contexts involved and seismic shifts in British religious life over the course of the twentieth century, besides important divergences this article identifies striking degrees of continuity between the ministry of army chaplains and the religious attitude and behaviour of soldiers themselves.