David De Vinny HUNTER


HUNTER, David De Vinny

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: Australian Army Chaplains' Department
Born: Banbridge, Ireland, 1876
Home Town: Ballina, Ballina, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Methodist Clergyman
Died: Killed in action, Belgium, 28 September 1917
Cemetery: Hooge Crater Cemetery
II F 16
Memorials: Ballina Municipal Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

24 Aug 1916: Involvement Australian Army Chaplains' Department
24 Aug 1916: Involvement Captain, Australian Army Chaplains' Department
24 Aug 1916: Embarked Australian Army Chaplains' Department, HMAT Anchises, Sydney
24 Aug 1916: Embarked Captain, Australian Army Chaplains' Department, HMAT Anchises, Sydney

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Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

Captain Chaplain D. D. Hunter, one of 29 Methodist chaplains at the front, was a son of Mr. and Mrs. George Hunter, 213 Darling-street, Balmain, and entered the Methodist ministry 18 years ago. He was educated at Newington College, and is the first Methodist chaplain who has fallen at the front, two other ministers of this denomination having been killed while serving in the ranks. The deceased's wife and family reside at Northbridge.

The Sydney Morning Herald Friday 18 January 1918 page 8




To say that the news of my dear friend 's death was a great shock to me is but to confess the inadequacy of language to express thought. It is surely an evidence of how little we know on active service of the whole campaign, to say that several weeks elapsed before I heard the terrible tidings, and then only by a more chance. Sometimes it would seem as if we were looking through a pin hole at a huge fire, and our knowledge of what is happening is confined to that relative range of vision. A few days before his death the senior chaplain and Chaplain Hunter passed through Abbeville. I went to the train to have three or four minute's conversation with them. My last glimpse on earth of Hunter was as the train steamed slowly out of the station. He was leaning out as far as he could, his dear face wreathed in smiles as he affectionately called out, 'Good-bye, old man, good-bye.' It was then he was so proud to toll me that he had been recommended for a military distinction. We had a precious week-end in England together at the end of July, which was spent in the home of some warm friends of Mr. Hunter in the Isle of Wight. Mr. Hunter was very solicitous about my being posted to a suitable sphere of work, and was very keen on my coming to the 3rd Australian General Hospital. In the last letter he wrote me in France, referring to the projected attack on the Ypres Menin front, he said: 'The price we will pay is awful.' He also said, 'I will soon be going be 'another country, ' and I wondered if he meant Australia or England. In both cases it was an unconscious prophecy. ' ' The price he paid was the supreme sacrifice, and the other country was a better, that is, an heavenly. Possibly others have communicated the poor meagre details of his death. I may, however, state what I have gleaned. Mr.Hunter had just established a coffee stall as near to the front line as possible. It is supposed that he had been up to the line, and was returning in company with another chaplain. A 5.9 shell came over and fell near both of them, and shrapnel killed my dear friend instantly. The other chaplain was unhurt. It was a swift and sudden end, and this brave soul had his consummation in the din and roar of battle. My personal sense of loss almost makes it impossible for me to write of him. As the Coster says in 'Spotty,''Me and him wuz pals.' For twenty years Mr. Hunter gave me the most generous, loyal and sincere friendship one man can give another. He was a great friend. He never varied in his temperament; he thought generously of all his friends; he was consistently true to his 'pals.' In his wider ministry, he succeeded in gaining a large place in the affections of men. One admirer of his wrote me, and described him as ' our beloved D. D. Hunter. ' Letters from the battalion speak of him in the same way. Chaplain Hunter possessed a fine faculty for getting hold of men. It is well known over here that his services were attended by very many who were not under his pastoral care. One officer was asked what church he belonged to. He replied that he was not quite sure, but while he was here he belonged to Hunter. An officer in extremis, a Jew by faith, waiting for the amputation of his leg, said there was one man he would like to see before they put him on the table, and that man was Padre Hunter. Chaplain Brum well says, 'I could write you volumes on the work of Hunter, but time and conditions will not permit.' Of all his ministerial work, I would say that the greatest work ho ever did was the work of an army chaplain. Mr. Hunter was a man of strong convictions fearlessly expressed. Those who know his work in the circuits of New South Wales will gratefully remember his efforts for social reform. And he was a good man. He nourished a deep spiritual life, and he was ever ready to respond to the evangelical purpose of the Christian ministry. His home-life was rich and tender and true, but that veil must not be lifted even by a hand as intimate as mine. Our New South Wales Church gave generously when it gave D. D. Hunter to army work, and he in turn gave generously, too, for he lived fully and altogether for his work and crowned his gift with sacrifice supreme. He always knew the risks he ran, and was never unmindful of the possibilities of making his life forfeit. He was a brave man, and in a braveman's fight he bravely died. It would be possible to write much more to express my sense of personal loss, and loss utterable, to his home and great and subduing loss to his Church — 'the Church that he loved so passionately and served so well. But words only serve poorly to'Praise him, soft and low, Call him, worthy to be loved.'He was all that, my dear beloved Hunter, friend of many years. With fondest affection, I pay this tribute to him who rests in a distant grave on the Ypres front.

The Methodist Saturday 02 February 1918 page 6