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Naples, Italy. c. May 1944.  Three Australian padres meet in Naples after visiting RAAF personnel throughout the Italian theatre of war.  They are...
Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) Bob DAVIES of Newcastle, NSW (C of E) ;
(Centre:) Sqn Ldr J. McNAMARA of Brunswick, Vic. (Catholic) ,
and (Front:) Sqn Ldr Fred McKAY of Qld. (Presbyterian).   [AWM MEA1892] 

(From: 'Sky Pilot - A History of Chaplaincy in the R.A.A.F. 1926 - 1990')

Affectionately known as "The Terrible Three", the chaplains who served in the Middle East were probably the first to develop the potential of practical high-level R.A.A.F. chaplaincy.  Bob Davies (Anglican), John McNamara (Catholic) and Fred McKay (Presbyterian) were early in the new sphere of R.A.A.F. chaplaincy in the battlefield. 

These things marked their ministry ... they showed how to care simultaneously for the spiritual, physical, emotional and social needs of the men.  They sought out those with whom they had a responsibility, and included the men's families in their ministry, and they were pioneers in a style that was completely Ecumenical.  They were demonstrating Christianity with its sleeves rolled up. 

Still today, many men who were touched by these men's ministry nearly half a century ago, have spoken of their profound appreciation of that Ministry and their affection for those who offered it.

Photos of the 'Three Padres' from the Australian War Memorial:

Italy. c. 1945.  Casualty work in the field.   Padre Fred McKay and a company of helpers investigate the scene of a crash. 
[AWM  MEA2264]

Italy. c. 1943.  Padre J. F. (Fred) McKay of Qld, one of the RAAF padres in the Mediterranean theatre of war, outside his RAAF truck.  
Padre McKay previously worked with the Australian Inland Mission,  succeeding the famous Rev. Doctor John Flynn.
 [AWM  MEA1301.  This truck, amongst its many other uses, brought in the huge haul of German beer found near Agnone.]

El Daba, Egypt.  25 December 1943.  Padre R. E. Davies RAAF, conducts a Christmas Day service in the Western Desert.  
[AWM MEA1124]

Grottaglie, Italy.  1943.  Padre J. P. McNamara, formerly Parish priest of Brunswick in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, saying Mass for Italian airmen.  
Note the armed Italian guards - this photo was taken just two days after Italy had changed sides in the war and 3 Squadron had started
operating from this airfield, in the 'heel' of Italy.  [AWM MEA0652]

Rome, Italy. c. 1944.  RAAF airmen with RAAF Padre J. McNamara visit the Catholic College of Propaganda in Rome. 
The guests are seen here being shown through the precincts of the College by Australian priests who are students there.
They were attending the College at the time war broke out in Europe.  Later they will return to Australia.  [AWM MEA1834]

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