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Short poem

Selected Poetry of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)

from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

  1. Indifference
  2. Missing -- Believed Killed: On reading a Mother's letter
  3. A Scrap of Paper
  4. The Secret
  5. The Spirit
  6. To Stretcher Bearers
  7. War
  8. What's the Good?
  9. Woodbine Willie

Notes on Life and Works

Born June 27, 1883, in Leeds, Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy was educated at Leeds Grammar Shool and Trinity College, Dublin, where he obtained a degree in classics and divinity in 1904. He then studied for the Anglican priesthood at Ripon Clergy College and went on to minister in Rugby and at St. Paul's, Worcester, in 1914. Volunteering as an army chaplain in World War I, Studdert Kennedy earned the nickname Woodbine Willy for his habit of giving Woodbine cigarettes to soldiers in distress. He served with the 46th, 24th, and 42nd Infantry Divisions and was awarded the Military Cross for risking his life to comfort the wounded at Messines Ridge. During the war Woodbine Willy wrote verses for soldiers in the trenches. Llewellyn H. Gwynne, Deputy Chaplain General in France, caused these verses to be printed for the army, among which they enjoyed popularity. Archbishop William Temple said that Studdert Kennedy was "the finest priest" he had known. He ministered at St. Edmund King and Martyr, Lombard Street, London, in 1922. He died on March 8, 1929, in Liverpool and is interred in Worcester. Leeds Parish Church, where his father was curate, has a chapel dedicated to his memory. Woodbine Willy's books of poems include:

See the entry on Studdert Kennedy in The Dictionary of National Biography: Missing Persons, ed. C. S. Nicholls (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993): 647-48.

Biographical information

Given name: Geoffrey Anketell
Family name: Studdert Kennedy
Honorific: Reverend
Birth date: 27 June 1883
Death date: 8 March 1929
Pseudonym: Woodbine Willy
Nationality: English
Family relations
          wife: Emily Studdert Kennedy
          Trinity College, Dublin to 1904
          Ripon Clergy College
          Leeds Grammar School
Religion: Anglican
Honour: M.C. (Military Cross)
Literary period: modern
Occupation: Priest
Buried at: Worcester
First RPO edition: 2002