Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cover from a WW1 Canadian Methodist Chaplain

A Methodist postal history item displayed at the Annual Meeting of the Methodist Philatelic Society at Wesley's Chapel, London on 30th September 2006.

Canadian military cover posted from APO S.11, dated 23 OC 18. This was the Army Post Office serving the large BEF camp complex at Etaples, France. The letter was written and self censored by Captain Rev. J. Bruce Hunter, while serving at No. 7 Canadian General Hospital (7 CGH), Canadian Army Medical Corps. Although the censor number in the censor handstamp type 6 (CM6) was erased (standard practice when a letter was addressed to a country outside the British Empire), it almost certainly was that used by 7 CGH. The hospital was located at Etaples from 14 October 1916 to 31 May 1919.
Captain Rev. J. Bruce Hunter, a Methodist Chaplain, was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the Bourlon Wood operations before Cambrai. On 27 September 1918 he went over the top with the attacking wave and untiringly ministered to the wounded under very heavy enemy shelling and machine gun fire. He not only dressed the wounded but repeatedly, and under fire, assisted in carrying wounded men back to safety.

Rev. John Bruce Hunter had been appointed Captain and Chaplain to the Canadian Overseas Forces on 15 August 1916 and the following May sailed for England. He was initially posted to Witley Camp with the 208th Battalion, Irish Canadians. In August 1917 he was posted to the Discharge Depot, Buxton, where he remained until ordered to France for duty with the Canadian Corps in April 1918.

John Bruce Hunter was promoted to Major in May 1919. By 1942 he was minister of St. James United Church in Montreal, Qu├ębec, a Lt-Colonel and Chaplain of Canadian Military District No. 4.

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