The Last Absolution administered by Chaplain Rev
Father Francis Gleeson (May, 1884 - June, 1959. This
scene was captured on canvas or board by Fortunino Matania,
WW1 war and Commercial artist
(1881 - Feb 1963).
The event took place on Rue du Bois about 0.20 km. (220
yards) west of
Rue de I' Epinette.
Matania did not witness the actual event. The work
was commissioned on a description obtained by Mrs Victor
Rickard, a well known novelist in her day. It's possible
in the oral description that some detail of the shrine
may have been lost, whereas the shrine was more like
a mini chapel that was evidenced in the region.
The last new was negotiations were being conducted
with local authorities for a permanent signage to be erected identifying
the Last Absolution site.
Michel Knockaert has been in contact with the local
on behalf of the RMFA.
The Chapel Notre Dame de Seez.
The chapel name
is mentioned in Rev. Father F. Gleeson's diary for 8
May 1915 entry.The original chapel was built by the Leroy-Pottier family in
1867 and during the ebb and flow of battle
in the early part of the Great war was destroyed.
The chapel in the above photo was rebuilt in 1929 and
according to elderly locals mirrored in
the original. Notice in the background the gabled house,
this building was still standing when Michel Knockaert
took a modern day photo of the house. The above photo
is thought to be circa 1940's. Sadly the
chapel suffered the price of progress and was demolished
due to land resumption for the road realignment.
from Chapel N. D. de Seez.
Note on front of chapel two plaques.
The lower plaque describes the event of
8 May 1915.
Right photo, the recovered plaque.
cet endroit le samedi soir 8 mai 1915
Le 2� Royal
Command� par le Lieutenant-Colonel
Re�ut de son aumonier le Rev P�re
Une derni�re absolution
dans la bataille de la c�te d�Aubers
Ou le Colonel
Rickard devait trouver la mort
Avec un grand nombre
de ses hommes.
Souvenons nous d�eux dans nos pri�res!
this place (or site) on the evening of Saturday 8 May
The 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers
by Lieutenant Colonel Victor Rickard
its chaplain the Reverend Father Gleeson
Before entering (or joining) the battle
of the Aubers heights
Where Colonel Rickard met his
(together) with a great number of his men.
us (all) remember (or think of) them in our prayers!
Artefacts from the chapel, showing
signs of long storage in an outbuilding attic,
Farmhouse Behind the Demolished
Chapel N. D. de Seez.
Photo circa 2006
The house that was behind the chapel in the 1940's
photo, situated on the right side of Rue de Bois travelling
from Neuve Chapelle.
Credits: Last Absolution from an original
print, J. O'Sullivan.
other photosf Michel Knockaert.