Chapel of St Nicholas, HMS Nelson Postcard

HMS Nelson was one of just two battleships built between the two world wars. It was highly unusual in having 16 inch guns and all its main armament forward of the bridge which gave it a very odd appearance. Like other capital ships, then and now, the ship had its own chapel used to provide religious service to members of the ship’s company. In the case of HMS Nelson, this chapel was consecrated to St Nicholas, appropriately enough the patron saint of sailors.

The chapel was lined in wood and had the usual altar and pews. The most obvious signs that this was not on land being the porthole on one wall:

This particular postcard was sent in 1938 by a tourist to Portsmouth who perhaps went round the ship itself during her visit:

Although dating from 1964, the following description of the duties of a ship’s chaplain equally applies to the period this postcard dates from:

Some of the Chaplain’s Duties

One is to lead worship.

Worship is the public acknowledgement of God’s supremacy. Church attendance is voluntary; but needless to say, it is the natural duty of believers to practise their religion and to take part in corporate worship.

Another is to instruct in the Christian faith. There will be many men who will wish to know more about their religion. Wherever men foregather religion comes in for discussion and the messdeck is no exception. Difficulties may arise which require more explanation. Do not hesitate to ask the chaplain; he is ready and willing to help you in this matter to the best of his ability, just as he is ready and willing to help and advise you in other matters of a more personal or domestic nature. The chaplain is regarded as the friend and advisor of all on board.

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