- 29 August 1915 (Creation)
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1 page; 2 sides; folded; headed; manuscript
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Father Benedict (born William Edward Williamson) in Hackney on June 6th 1868. He studied law and then trained as an architect in the office of Newman & Jacques in Stratford. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1896 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, Mayfair where he took the name Benedict Williamson. For ten years he practised as an architect, working on Farnborough Abbey and St Ignatius Church at Tottenham.
In 1906 he entered Beda College in Rome where he studied for the priesthood, being ordained in 1909. He tried and failed to establish a male branch of the Brigettine Order.
In the First World War he became an RC chaplain on the Western Front with 47th Division from May 1917 and arrived in France in time for the Battle of Messines, posted to a Casualty Clearing Station. He was known, in the 47th Division, by the nickname of “Happy Days” on account of his unquenchable optimism. He was transferred to the 49th Division , 1/5th Duke of Wellington's Regiment, with which he served until after the Armistice. He returned to Southwark diocese, still designing churches. He moved to Rome and continued his association with the Brigettines; wrote a number of books with a religious and spiritual theme. He was an early admirer of Mussolini, remaining in Rome during the war and was involved in Monsignor O'Flaherty's Vatican based help line for allied PoWs and the hiding of the Jews.
He died in Rome in 1948.
XJT3 file 7
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Covering letter to Canon Tonks for receipt for £30 payment from the Bishop of Northampton in regard of work undertaken at Southwold Mission
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