Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, MC (June 27, 1883 - March 8, 1929)
Born in Leeds in 1883, Kennedy was the seventh of nine children born to Jeanette Anketell and William Studdert Kennedy, a vicar in Leeds. He was educated at Leeds Grammar School and Trinity College, Dublin, where he gained a degree in classics and divinity in 1904.
After a year's training, he became a curate in Rugby and then, in 1914, the vicar of St. Pauls, Worcester. On the outbreak of war, Kennedy volunteered as a chaplain to the armed forces on the Western Front, where he gained the nickname 'Woodbine Willie'. In 1917, he won the Military Cross at Messines Ridge after running into no man's land to help the wounded during an attack on the German frontline. He wrote a number of poems about his experiences, and these appeared in the books Rough Rhymes of a Padre (1918), and More Rough Rhymes (1919).
After the war, Kennedy was given charge of St. Edmund King and Martyr in Lombard Street, London. Having been converted to Christian socialism and pacifism during the war, he wrote Lies (1919), Democracy and the Dog-Collar (1921) (featuring such chapters as "The Church Is Not a Movement but a Mob," "Capitalism is Nothing But Greed, Grab, and Profit-Mongering," and "So-Called Religious Education Worse than Useless"), Food for the Fed Up (1921), The Wicket Gate (1923), and The Word and the Work (1925). He moved to work for the Industrial Christian Fellowship, for whom he went on speaking tours of Britain. It was on one of these tours that he was taken ill, and died in Liverpool.
THERE'S a broken, battered village
Somewhere up behind the line,
There's a dug-out and a bunk there
That I used to say were mine.
I remember how I reached them,
Dripping wet and all forlorn,
In the dim and dreary twilight
Of a weeping summer morn.
All that week I'd buried brothers,
In one bitter battle slain,
In one grave I laid two hundred.
God! What sorrow and what rain!
And that night I'd been in trenches,
Seeking out the sodden dead,
And just dropping them in shell-holes,
With a service swiftly said.
For the bullets rattled round me,
But I couldn't leave them there,
Water-soaked in flooded shell-holes,