15 September 1917: Praise for Fr Doyle from an Irish officer

In his biography of Fr Doyle, Alfred O’Rahilly reports that an Irish officer (unidentified by O’Rahilly) published the following tribute to Fr Doyle in the Catholic News on 15 September 1917:

Strong Point 13 and the little dug-out of the brave padre rise before me as I write. I recall the early Mass when our battalion was in reserve. Often have I knelt at the impromptu altar serving that Mass for the padre in the upper barn, hail, rain, and snow blowing in gusts through the shell-torn roof. He knew no fear. As company officers, how many times have we accompanied him through the front line system to speak a word to the men. Well do we remember when at long last we went back for rest and training, how our beloved padre did the long three days’ march at the head of the battalion. Which of the men do not recall with a tear and a smile how he went ‘over the top’ at Wytschaete? He lived with us in our newly-won position, and endured our hardships with unfailing cheerfulness. In billets he was an ever welcome visitor to the companies, and our only trouble was that he could not always live with whatever company he might be visiting. Ypres sounded the knell. Recommended for the D.S.O. for Wytschaete, he did wonderful work at Ypres, and was recommended for the V.C. Many a dying soldier on that bloody field has flashed a last look of loving recognition as our brave padre rushed to his aid, braving the fearful barrage and whistling machine-gun bullets, to give his boy a last few words of hope.

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