I owe this chaplain story to my friend Dr. Duff Crerar.   I had never heard of Padre MacPhail or of the Llandovery Castle until he told me the story.  The text and photo are his.  MP

Not every chaplain who lost their lives in Canada’s First
World War died as a result of enemy action in the field. Some died from illness,
such as Chaplain H. Ingles, who contracted meningitis in the wards at
Shorncliffe Camp in 1914. Many Canadians were appalled at the 27 June, 1918
torpedoing of the Canadian-manned (and clearly marked) Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle, in which many nurses
and other medical staff lost their lives. It was the worst Canadian naval disaster of the Great War, claiming the lives of 234 medical personnel, soldiers and sailors, including fourteen nursing sisters.

Among those lost was Presbyterian Chaplain
and Honorary Captain Donald G. MacPhail, a graduate of Queen’s University
Theological School and minister at Knox Church, Cayuga, when he volunteered for
overseas service.

As the ship was going down, MacPhail, who had
seen action as chaplain to the 6th and 12th Brigades at
the Somme and Vimy, was last seen assisting the nurses into a lifeboat which
was later sucked under the stern as the ship sank. Just one nurse survived from
that boat. Eventually a notice was received in London that MacPhail’s body had
been recovered on the French coast, and he had been buried in Lamphaul, France.
His widow sponsored a memorial window in the Cayuga church after the war. On
the inscription she had placed: “He that believeth in Me hast everlasting
life”. He is commemorated at Queen’s University in the John Deutsch centre
Memorial Room

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