FATHER Benedict Webb, a monk of Ampleforth since 1950, has died aged 92. He had been a monk for just over 60 years.
Brendan Webb, who was originally from East Grinstead, went to school at Ampleforth
College and in 1938 went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, to read medicine.
With the onset of war, the three-year course was reduced to two years in order to maintain the supply of qualified doctors in future years.
From Cambridge, he joined the medical school at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, and qualified in April 1943.
He then joined the Royal Navy as a surgeon lieutenant and took part in convoy escorts in the Atlantic, the Normandy landings, and then in the Far East Fleet and the recapture of Hong Kong from the Japanese.
In 1946, after his return to the UK from the Far East Fleet, he was informed that he was being awarded a Mention in Despatches. The citation made reference to Brendan Webb saving the lives of two men after a collision in thick fog in the channel between the frigate HMS Hart and HMS Rochester as they were pursuing a German submarine in 1944.
Brendan Webb left the Royal Navy in July 1946. For some years, he had been conscious of a desire to become a monk and in September 1946 he was clothed at
Ampleforth Abbey, taking the name ‘Benedict’. He made Solemn Vows in 1950 and was ordained priest in 1953 and for the next three years worked as the monastery’s Infirmarian, as well as teaching biology in the school.
In 1956, he was appointed the first Housemaster of St Hugh’s House at Ampleforth College. Twenty years later he became the Procurator, or bursar, and then in 1979, at the age of 60, began his work on the parishes served by Ampleforth monks with a post as assistant in St Austin’s parish, Grassendale, Liverpool.
He became parish priest there in 1980 and finally returned to Ampleforth in 1997 at the age of 78. For three years he was Sub-prior and once again became Infirmarian.
Fr Benedict’s funeral will be at Ampleforth Abbey on Wednesday at 11.30am followed by burial in the vault in the Monks’ Wood.