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William Anthony Hemmick

Submitted by: Patricia Daly-Lipe {great niece}


5ca385b91412a Pictures 0 mugWilliam Anthony Hemmick was born around 1886. William Hemmick served in World War 1 with a non-government service organization. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1919.

Story of Service


In 1917, the United States entered World War I. Cardinal Gibbons had been a chaplain in the Civil War and shared some of his experiences during that war with William. Thus, when William, who had by then been ordained, requested permission to serve the troops, Cardinal Gibbons agreed.

Father Hemmick arrived in Paris August, 1917, and became Captain in the "Croix Rouge." His sensitivity, his bravery, his compassion were felt by all who knew my great uncle. He served on the front lines at the battle of Picardy, giving last rights and burying the dead.

After the war, when he returned to Washington, great uncle William was proclaimed the "Patriot Priest of Picardy" by the Army and Navy. He returned to Paris and established the American Catholic Welfare Centre for all those who had been traumatized by the war.

In 1932, he was called down to Rome ultimately becoming a Monsignor and the first Canon of Santa Maria Maggiore and later the first American Canon of St. Peter's Basilica, representing the Knights of Malta to the Holy See.

His letters written from the front lines of the battle of Picardy to his sister, now in the archives of Georgetown University, are included in my book about his life: 'PATRIOT PRIEST, The Story of Monsignor William A. Hemmick.'

These letters give a personal perspective on what was happening during that battle. Included in my book are also stories of the Red Cross and much more pertaining to WWI.


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