Thursday, September 19, 2013

Woodbine Willie

Woodbine Willie

An Unsung Hero of World War One

By Bob Holman

Published by Lion Books, March 2013

This long overdue biography of the remarkable Anglican priest, Fr Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, makes for remarkable reading indeed. 

When the First World War broke out, Fr Geoffrey was quick to volunteer his services and was sent to the Western Front where he soon captured the hearts of his fellow soldiers. He was quite simply, one of them, and earned the nickname of Woodbine Willie for his work in distributing bibles, encouragement, spiritual advice and cigarettes wherever needed.  His courage was inspirational and legendary - he earned the Military Cross for his bravery under enemy fire as he attempted to get essential medical supplies and to rescue those injured, British and German alike.

After the war, he felt strongly that he was needed to minister amongst the poor and to campaign on their behalf to improve their life, becoming heavily involved in the Industrial Christian Fellowship and preaching and writing on a truly remarkable and punishing scale until his tragically early death. His books were extremely popular and bear witness to his faith and commitment to God and those whom he felt called to serve.

This is a truly fascinating book, painstakingly researched and pieced together to give an account of this wonderful priest whose life truly was an inspiration to so many and I am glad that his memory will live on as a result of this book. 

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1 comment:

margaret said...

I may actually buy this!

My dad's friend was a clerk in North Africa in WWII (think Radar!) and I always remember him saying how much cigarettes kept the men's sanity :/ He also told me the white soldiers got a better grade of cigarettes than the black soldiers which shocked me terribly at the time. Thirty-five years later I'm sorry to say it doesn't :(