Skip to content

Father Laurence Brock

  • Father Laurence Brock of the 182nd Infantry sits in front of a grass hut on Fiji, just prior to the unit's departure for Bougainville. Source: National Archives.
  • This 1943 photo shows Father Laurence Brock with nuns, possibly at the St. Joan of Arc School in Sigatoka, Fiji. Source: Edward Monahan Collection.
  • In this undated photo, Father Laurence Brock of the 182nd Infantry stands in a South Pacific jungle, likely Bougainville. Source: Edward Monahan Collection.
  • In 1948, Ed Monahan married Claire McNally at St. Mary's Church in Dedham, MA in a ceremony presided over by Father Brock. Source: Edward Monahan Collection.
  • Father Laurence Brock (left) and Ed Monahan (right) pose for a photo in a 1986 visit. Source: Edward Monahan Collection.

Father Laurence Brock, from Charlestown, MA, was the Catholic chaplain of the 182nd Infantry. Prior to departing the United States for the Pacific, Father Brock blessed the regimental colors in a service. Photo #1 was taken in December 1943, on Fiji. Brock was promoted to Captain on Fiji, and was also awarded the Legion of Merit for his service on Guadalcanal. In Photo #2, Father Brock poses for a photo with nuns on Fiji in 1943. The photo may have been taken at the St. Joan of Arc School in Sigatoka. Several of the men from Company G corresponded with nuns from that school as they moved on to new Pacific locations.

Father Brock often used homemade ceremonial items for Masses, made from battlefield items. One cross was made from artillery shell casings, other items were made from parachute silk. He provided spiritual support not only to the men on the front lines, but also to their families back home. His letters were often published in Massachusetts newspapers, describing the conditions in the Pacific. He was a source of hope and inspiration to thousands.

Undated Photo #3 was likely taken in the jungles of Bougainville. Father Brock was eventually rotated home, where he continued to be a source of spiritual comfort to the families of soldiers overseas. The priest maintained lifetime connections with the men of the 182nd. He performed the 1948 wedding ceremony for Ed Monahan and his wife Claire (Photo #4), and Photo #5 was taken at a 1986 visit between the two men with Father Brock at left.