WWII Chaplain, 1st Priest to Get M.B.E. Dies – 106

A tip of the biretta to the Catholic Key  o{]:¬)   for posting about this story in The Windsor Star.

Father Mike Dalton:

    He was 106, a month shy of his 107th birthday.

    This son of a Goderich farmer is the most decorated padre who ever served in the Canadian Army. He marched at the front lines with his fellow soldiers, often carrying their weapons when they tired of battle.

    Besides the Military Cross for bravery, Father Dalton was the first Catholic priest to receive the Member of the British Empire. The day King George VI pinned the decoration on his tunic at Buckingham Palace, he dug deep into his pockets and handed the monarch a Catholic religious medal.


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  1. David D says:

    Forgive me for being awfully British, but can I point out that MBE stands for Member of the *Order* of the British Empire. We are all members of the British Empire anyway!

  2. Joe Williams says:

    God bless Fr Dalton. Requiescat in pace.

    And what a great photo!

  3. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    From the article: “It didn’t matter if the orders were to stay clear of the front lines — he listened instead to his own heart, and drove his jeep to the brink of battle.”

    “He prayed for God to give him back his strength, so he could stand up again and say mass.”

    Rest eternal grant to him O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him. May he rest in peace. And may God bless and strengthen all those chaplains who bring God to those under fire.

  4. Bill in Texas says:

    They don’t make ’em like that any more. One of our parish priests when I was a boy had also been a chaplain (with the US Army) and was very similar to Father Dalton. It’s a poorer world without them.

  5. Fr. Guy says:

    If he was 11 months into his 107th year (because your birthday marks the completion of another year of life) then i think it’s safe to say he was 107 not 106.

  6. Stephanie says:

    That is just a fantastic story. I’ll be praying for him!

  7. Rancher says:

    As Bill in Texas said they don’t make them like this any more. Bet the TLM would have been his preference all along and if he were the NDU Pres we wouldn’t have the controversy we have today. God rest his soul. You are at ease Father.

  8. Fr. Charles says:

    Requiescat in pace. God bless him. In the monastery where I live we have two priests who are veterans of World War II. Both knew combat and the elder, 97, was already a priest at the time and served as chaplain. It was a generation that produced a lot of vocations.

  9. tecumseh says:

    Areal hero, here is another gallant priest from WWI. Fr Willie Doyle SJ.


  10. No surprise here! Did you know that in the last 70 years, four U.S. military chaplains have won the Congressional Medal of Honor (one in World War II, three in Vietnam), and they were all Catholic priests? One, Fr. Vincent Capodanno, has a cause for sainthood pending.

    Catholic priests pack the gear!

  11. Tzard says:

    I found this interesting tidbit in the article:

    “I didn’t have a scratch. I couldn’t even get a cold,” he said.

    And sometimes he was so lost in the reverie of saying mass on the hood of his jeep that he would suddenly turn to give a blessing, “and there was no one there … I was all alone. The soldiers had jumped for cover, and shrapnel was flying everywhere. I hadn’t heard a thing.”

  12. bear-i-tone says:

    A good priest till the end.

    His story of saying Mass under fire reminds me of a story my father told me of his time during the war. I posted it on my blog some time ago, here:


  13. ckdexterhaven says:

    Inspiring Story. What a holy man.

  14. Brian Day says:

    Yes, a very inspiring story.

    If I may be allowed to go OT for a second: the picture of Fr Dalton saying Mass on the battlefield made me think, would a chaplain in the battlefield have a full set of vestments in all the liturgical colors (less rose), or due to practical considerations, would he be limited to say, green and violet?

  15. Tim Ferguson says:


    From what I once heard about Mass during the Second World War, the chaplains usually had two sets of vestments, which were reversible – white on one side purple on the other, and red on one side and green on the other.

  16. Dino says:

    Tim, Brian,
    When I was an Army Chaplain’s Assistant more than 40 years ago, the vestments indeed were reversible, and often somewhat minimal(cut smaller to take up less space and reduce weight). The priests also carried what they called a “folding altar stone”, actually cloth, an antemenseum, with a saint’s relic sewn into it.

  17. Maureen says:

    That’s such a great picture of praying toward the east. It really shows that the priest is in no way “turning his back” on anyone, but rather that the whole Christian people are praying together to Christ.

  18. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    Praise God for this servant of God! I tell you, he has his reward.

  19. Ruth Lapeyre says:

    This was a great priest, he wouldn’t let those young men face such horror without the consolation of the sacraments.

  20. Joseph says:

    Somebody above said: they do not make them anymore like that. I strongly disagree. Nowadays priests have to endure worse punishments.
    Betrayals by their own bishop, ridicule by the press and verbal abuse by the parishioners, just to list a few things. One wonders, if flying bullets are almost preferable to all the garbage they have to endure these days.
    Let’s pray for our priests and bishops that they maybe fearless and faithful always.

  21. Brian Day says:

    Thanks to Tim and Dino for the information.

  22. tioedong says:


    Actually, even in today’s wars, we see priests like this…they rarely get publicity of course…neither the war nor the priesthood is PC.

  23. irishgirl says:

    May this heroic priest receive his everlasting reward!

    May St. George, the patron of England and of soldiers, escort him to the Throne of God!

    Joseph-your comment is spot on!

  24. irishgirl says:

    Ooops-I didn’t realize he was a Canadian….should have read a little closer….

    May St. Joseph, the patron of Canada, also be in his heavenly escort!

    I wonder what King George VI thought when the padre gave him a Catholic medal-that would have been quite a story!

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