Saturday 27 January 2024

Chaplain the Reverend Rupert Edward Inglis (1863 – 1916) - England international rugby player, Anglican Rector and Military Chaplain

 With thanks to John Daniel for finding this information for us:

During the First World War, The Rev. Rupert Edward Inglis was a Chaplain to the British Army and was killed during the Battle of the Somme.

Rupert Edward Inglis was born in London on 17th May 1863. His parents were John Eardley Wilmot Inglis and his wife, Julia Selina Inglis, nee Thesiger.  Rupert was educated at Rugby School - where the game of Rugby was first invented. 

In 1881, Rupert went on to study History at the University of Oxford, where he played for the Oxford Rugby Team in 1883 and 1884. After graduating, he became a Deacon at Ely Theological College, where he was ordained in 1889. He married Helen Mary Gilchrist on 11th June 1900, and they had two daughters and a son.

When the Great War broke out in 1914, Rupert enlisted and joined the 1st Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

In a letter to his parishioners in July 1915, he explained his reasons: “I have felt that in this great crisis in our nation’s history, everyone ought to do what he can to help. I have said this both publicly and privately, but it has been hard to tell people that they ought to leave their homes, to go out into strange new surroundings, to endure discomforts and danger – perhaps to face death – it was hard to tell people that this was their duty and then to remain comfortably at home myself.”

Rupert was sent to France as close as possible to the combat zone but served as a military chaplain for the Protestant church. His main task was to attend to the spiritual needs of the soldiers, read the last rites and help evacuate the wounded. 

For a short while, he served at No. 23 General Hospital, Etaples, before joining No. 21 Casualty Clearing Station at Corbie. In December 1915, Rupert was attached to the 16th Infantry Brigade, 6th Division, in the Ypres Salient.

During the fighting near Ginchy, during the Battle of the Somme, Rupert joined a party of stretcher-bearers, in order to help bring in the wounded. While doing this, he was struck by a fragment of shell and was in the process of having the wound dressed when he was hit by a second shell and killed instantly on 18th September 1916. 

Rupert has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 4.C.)   He is also remembered at Twickenham Stadium, the legendary home of the England Rugby Team.

Rupert Edward Inglis pictured as an army chaplain in the First World War

John Daniel

Additional sources: Find my Past, FreeBMD,