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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

43.1 Anzac Centenary - World War 1 - Remembering members of the Durnford Family - The Western Front - August 1914

The  First  World  War

The Great War “The War to end all Wars”  1914 - 1918  
    But it didn't.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria 100 years ago set in motion a series of events that led to the outbreak of the Great War. Within weeks after the event, all major European nations got involved in the conflict. Countries such as Australia, Canada, India, and New Zealand joined in as part of the British Empire while other overseas colonies also became involved, thus bringing in Asian and African countries.

Four photos- 101 years ago, the world changed in a split second!

The arrest
World defining moment

"It is not to be supposed," wrote a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian analysing the significance of the assassination 100 years ago on Saturday, "that the death of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand will have any immediate or salient effect on the politics of Europe."

Thirty-seven days later, Britain declared war on Germany and Europe was plunged into a worldwide conflict in which more than 16 million people died in four years.

This series of Posts is in their honour, whether they lay buried in a distant land, or returned to their homes, never again would their lives be the same.

100 Years later, none can tell their stories.  RIP.


In the UK around six million men were mobilised, and of those just over 700,000 were killed. That's around 11.5%.

On the first day of the war in 1914, British newspapers published appeals for young men to join the colours, and to fight against Germany.  Following the advice of the new Secretary for War, Lord Kitchener, the government decided to raise a huge volunteer army, hoping that in two or three years, when the other combatants were exhausted, this would tip  the scales in Britain’s favour.

Over the next few weeks, thousands of young men came forward. When the first grim news of casualties and of the retreat from Mons arrived in late August, more volunteered, and after the fall of Antwerp in early October, there was a renewed surge.

On some days, more than 10,000 men enlisted.

By Christmas 1914, hundreds of thousands had come forward, and this continued well into 1915.

Men from all social classes and all areas of Britain volunteered. Others who were overseas in August 1914 travelled thousands of miles to get back and enlist. Whole groups from individual companies, offices, and universities joined up together. There were far more volunteers than the government could arm or equip, and most had to spend months training in civilian clothes, without proper weapon

On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia and subsequently invaded.As Russia mobilised in support of Serbia, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading Britain to declare war on Germany.

The first battle in World War 1 was the Battle of the Marne (French: Première bataille de la Marne; also known as the Miracle of the Marne) was a First World War battle fought from 5–12 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German Army under Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Younger.

 After the German march on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that would change little until 1917. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. Italy joined the Allies in 1915 and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in the same year, while Romania joined the Allies in 1916, and the United States joined the Allies in 1917.

New Zealand occupied German Samoa (later Western Samoa) on 30 August 1914. On 11 September, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force landed on the island of Neu Pommern (later New Britain), which formed part of German New Guinea. On 28 October, the German cruiser SMS Emden sank the Russian cruiser Zhemchug in the Battle of Penang. Japan seized Germany's Micronesian colonies and, after the Siege of Tsingtao, the German coaling port of Qingdao on the Chinese Shandong peninsula. 

As Vienna refused to withdraw the Austro-Hungarian cruiser SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth from Tsingtao, Japan declared war not only on Germany, but also on Austria-Hungary; the ship participated in the defense of Tsingtao where it was sunk in November 1914.[47] Within a few months, the Allied forces had seized all the German territories in the Pacific; only isolated commerce raiders and a few holdouts in New Guinea remained.[

Some of the first clashes of the war involved British, French, and German colonial forces in Africa. On 6–7 August, French and British troops invaded the German protectorate of Togoland and Kamerun. On 10 August, German forces in South-West Africa attacked South Africa; sporadic and fierce fighting continued for the rest of the war. The German colonial forces in German East Africa, led by Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, fought a guerrilla warfare campaign during World War I and only surrendered two weeks after the armistice took effect in Europe

Contrary to British fears of a revolt in India, the outbreak of the war saw an unprecedented outpouring of loyalty and goodwill towards Britain. Indian political leaders from the Indian National Congress and other groups were eager to support the British war effort, since they believed that strong support for the war effort would further the cause of Indian Home Rule. The Indian Army in fact outnumbered the British Army at the beginning of the war; about 1.3 million Indian soldiers and labourers served in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, while the central government and the princely states sent large supplies of food, money, and ammunition. 
In all, 140,000 men served on the Western Front and nearly 700,000 in the Middle East. Casualties of Indian soldiers totalled 47,746 killed and 65,126 wounded during World War I  The suffering engendered by the war, as well as the failure of the British government to grant self-government to India after the end of hostilities, bred disillusionment and fuelled the campaign for full independence that would be led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and others.

These are absolutely startling numbers:
CountryTotal Mobilized ForcesKilledWoundedPrisoners and MissingTotal CasualtiesCasualties as % of Forces

British Empire8,904,467908,3712,090,212191,6523,190,23535.8
United States4,355,000116,516204,0024,500323,0187.1
GRAND TOTAL65,038,8108,528,83121,189,1547,750,91937,466,90457.5

WarNumber ServingBattle DeathsDisease & AccidentsWoundedTotal Casualties
US   World War I4,743,82653,51363,195204,002320,710*


Creation of The Western Front

During The First World War of 1914-1918 the Allied Forces of Belgium, France, Great Britain, the Dominion Forces of the British Empire (Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Newfoundland and South Africa), Portugal and the United States (from April 1918) made a stand against the Imperial German Army's advance and occupation of Belgium from 4th August 1914 and north-eastern France from 6th August 1914.

This page provides an overview of the major battles which took place in Belgium and France from the     autumn of 1914 to the 11th November Armistice of 1918. The outcome of the battles resulted in the formation of a battle front, which saw three years of attrition warfare in 1915, 1916 and 1917, with only a few months of mobile warfare at the start and at the end of four years of fighting. 

Origin of the Name

This battle front was known to the Germans as “die Westfront”, as Imperial Germany's “western front” for those Imperial German Armies engaged in hostilities against France. The Imperial German Armies engaged against Russia were in action on Germany's “eastern front”.

To the French Army the battle front, which stretched for several hundred miles within the northern, north-eastern and eastern borders of the French nation, was translated into French. The French word for “western” is “occidental”, and so the literal translation for this battle front in France became “Le Front Occidental”.

The British Expeditionary Force, fighting on the battlefields in Belgium and France for four years, also translated the German name of “die Westfront” into English, and named this battle front in France as “The Western Front”.  

The Western Front was the name the Germans gave to a series of trenches that ran 700 kilometres from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border.

The Battles and their Locations

  The grey shaded areas on the map illustrate the main areas on the Western Front where the 1914-1918 battles took place. The battlefields ranged from the northern end of this battle front on the Belgian coast to the village of Pfetterhouse on the Swiss frontier at its southern end. The map shows the Franco-German border as it was in 1914 when the war broke out. An overview of the major battles that shaped the formation of the Western Front is given below the map.

Map of The Western Front showing WW1 battlefield locations in Belgium and France.
Alsace: Battles in the Vosges Mountains, 1914 - 1915.Lorraine: Battles of the Frontiers (Moselle-Meurthe), August 1914.Lorraine: Battle of the St. Mihiel Salient, September 1918.Lorraine: Battle of Verdun (February - December 1916) and the Meuse-Argonne (September - October 1918).Champagne: Battles of Champagne 1914-1918.Marne (Champagne): Battlefields of the Marne, September 1914 and July-August 1918.Aisne (Picardy/Champagne): Battlefields of the Aisne 1914-1918.Picardy: Battlefields of the Somme, 1914-1918.French Flanders: Battlefield of Cambrai, November 1917.French Flanders/Picardy: Battlefields between Maubeuge and St. Quentin for August 1914 and August/September 1918.Artois: Battlefields of Artois at La Bassee, Loos and Lens.Artois: Battles of Loretto Heights (1915) and Vimy Ridge (1917).Artois: City of Arras and battlefields east of the city.French Flanders: Battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge and Festubert (1915), Fromelles (1916) and the Lys (1918).Belgian Flanders: Battles of The Ypres Salient, October 1914 - October 1918.Belgian Flanders: Battle of the Yser, 16 October - 10 November 1914. Area deliberately flooded to halt the German advance here.The Belgian Coast: occupied and fortified by the Imperial German Army following the fall of Antwerp in mid October 1914. Liberated by Allied forces from 17 October 1918.Battle and Siege of Liège (Belgian Wallonia): first battle action on the Western Front from 4 August 1914. City captured by the Imperial German Army on 16 August 1914.City of Namur (Belgian Wallonia): falls to the Imperial German Army on 25 August 1914. Liberated by British forces on 21 November 1918.Mons (Belgian Wallonia): First encounter between the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the Imperial German Army on 23 August 1914. Liberated by the British forces on 11 November 1918 and place where the last shots were reported to be fired on the Western Front on 11 November 1918.City of Antwerp: falls to Imperial German Army on 10 October 1914. Liberated by British forces on 19 November 1918.Alsace: Battlefields of the Alsace Plain, August 1914.Brussels/Bruxelles: Capital city of Belgium occupied by Imperial German forces on 20 September 1914 and liberated by Allied forces on 18 November 1918.

  • 1914 First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers
  • 1914 German Advance Blocked at Nancy
  • 1914 German Advance Blocked at the Marne
  • 1914 The Germans Entrench their Positions on the Aisne
  • 1914 The “Race to the Sea”: Outflanking the Enemy
  • 1914 Siege of Antwerp
  • 1915 Trench Warfare
  • 1915 Battles for a Breakthrough
  • 1916 Grinding Battles of Attrition: Verdun and the Somme
  • 1917 Allied Offensives — Aisne, Artois, Champagne, Flanders, Cambrai
  • 1918 German Offensives to Break the Deadlock
  • 1918 Allied Advance to Victory: 100 Days Offensive
  • 1918 Armistice: the Guns Fall Silent on 11 November

1914 First Encounters and Battles of the Frontiers

4 - 25 August 1914    Battlefield locations:
  • Liège
  • Alsace Plain, Alsace

Battle and Siege of Liège

The Battle and Siege of Liège (4th - 16th August 1914) was the first battle action on the Western Front, fought between the German Imperial Army and the Belgian Army. The historic Belgian city was located on high ground on the banks of the River Meuse. The city was surrounded by fortresses, built as defences to protect it because it was located on an important route into Belgium along the Meuse river valley between the Dutch border and the Ardennes forests. Twelve main forts encircled the city, being built below ground on a radius of approximately 4-6 miles from the city and with approximately 3 miles distance between each fort.

Six brigades from the German Second Army were sent to Liège capture the forts on 4th August. One German brigade succeeded in breaking through the line of forts. The Germans occupied the city on 7th August after attacks on it by a Zeppelin airship and artillery fire. From 12th - 16th August the shells from 11 huge howitzers, these being two German “Dicke Bertha” (Big Bertha”) guns made by Krupp and 9 Austrian “Schlanke Emma” (Skinny Emma”) guns made by Skoda, smashed the forts to pieces. Following the capitulation of the city the German Imperial troops marched south-westwards along the river Meuse valley to the fortified city of Namur.

French Attempts to Liberate Alsace

Within the first few days of the outbreak of hostilities between Germany and France, on 7th August the French crossed the border into German-occupied Alsace at the southern end of the Vosges mountains near Thann. Fighting took place on the Rhine plain of Alsace as the French attempted to capture Mulhouse and liberate the province of Alsace from its German occupation since 1871. In the Battle of Mulhouse (8th - 25th August 1914) this important industrial city on the Rhine river was entered and occupied two times by the French during August, but both times the German Seventh Army retook it.

A trip to the different areas of the Western Front and understanding what those brave men went through is recommended, especially if relatives fought and died there.  Years of fighting battles in horrific conditions.  While today buildings are rebuilt, trees have regrown, farmers have returned to their crops, and towns and villages dot the landscape.   The selection of photos taken at the time, provide a start contrast to the area as it is today.


At the eve of the Great War, more than one million Belgians fled their homes to seek shelter in the Netherlands, Great Britain and France. From today onwards, Antwerp’s MAS museum shows this exodus and the search for a safe haven:

Kitchener's 'New Army' Recruits training on the Great Lines at Chatham c1915. Note the Ravelin Building - R.E. Electrical School and now the Royal Engineers' Museum in the background

For WWI soldiers 'going over the top' meant leaving the safety of the trenches and running across the barren stretch of land between the front lines to attack the enemy. Artillery bombardments, barbed wire and machine guns most often led to devastating outcomes.

Tunnel warfare was a deadly game of cat and mouse taking place up to 30 meters (100ft) beneath no man’s land. Working in total silence, men set out to place and detonate mines beneath the enemy’s trenches. Carbon monoxide poisoning, tunnel collapse, the abrupt explosion of mines and the encounter of opposing forces digging the other way were ever-present risks.

The war took not only place over ground but also hidden underneath the earth. The man-made hillside Hill 60 near Ypres was a major site of this underground war. Countless soldiers died in the mine tunnels that were dug to attack opponent’s positions. Most of them are still buried beneath the clay.

In 1914 Scotland sent forth more than its share of sons, and sent them gladly. The numbers killed in the Scottish regiments were similarly high when compared to the British average. It seems fitting, then, that a generous Heritage Lottery Fund Grant has been allocated to help Scotland add to its proud military history by rolling out its Great War story project nationwide

As opposing forces abandoned fighting momentarily during the 1914 Christmas Truce, Private William Quinton from the 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment described his experience: “Suddenly, across the snow-clad No Man’s Land, a strong clear voice rang out, singing the opening of ‘Annie Laurie’ (…) No other sound but this unknown singer’s voice. To us it seemed that the war had suddenly stopped.”

On 25th November 1914, Lieutenant Frank Alexander de Pass, of the 34th Prince Albert Victor’s Own Poona Horse, was shot in the head by a sniper while trying to capture a small enemy trench in No Man’s Land at Festubert, Flanders. The day before he had demonstrated such bravery in the field as to earn the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry, recorded in the London Gazette on 16th February 1915. He was just 27 at his death, and was both the first Jewish person and the first Indian Army Officer ever to earn the VC:

Feb 12th 1915. First great Air Raid in History.

Admiralty announces that during the last 24 hours, combined aeroplane and seaplane operations carried out by the Naval Wing against German submarine bases in Zeebrugge, Blankenberge, and Ostend districts. Thirty-four aircraft took part, under command of Wing Commander Samson, assisted by Wing Commander Longmore and Squadron Leaders Porte, Courtney, and Rathborne. Flight Commander Grahame White fell into sea off Nieuport, and was rescued by French vessel.

In April 1915, German soldiers attacked the Allies with 6000 steel cylinders of chlorine gas. Caught unaware, Canadian and French soldiers were the first victims of the poison gas that destroyed the respiratory organs. Although expressively forbidden by the Hague Convention of 1907, chemical warfare was soon to be a major component of WWI.

Staff & Patients at Castlemount Military Hospital, Dover in 1915

Cheshire Regiment at the Battle of the Somme, 1916

King George V passing through rows of cheering Canadian troops, 25th & 26th Battalions, Reninghelst, August 1916

 Victorious Canadian troops following the Battle of Vimy Ridge,
April 1917'

'The Battle of Pilckem Ridge: Crossing the Yser Canal at Boesinghe, 31st July 1917'.

'A Canadian Military funeral in a war cemetery at Poperinghe, Belgium, 11 August 1917'.

'Battle of Poelcappelle: Manhandling an 18-pounder field gun through the mud near Langemarck, October 1917'

'Exhausted stretcher bearers from the 3rd Australian Division rest in the mud and drizzle of Broodseinde Ridge, during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), 11 October 1917'.

 Sleep where they could dugout on the side of trenches, and then the wire, miles and miles of it, out of the trenches, never knowing whether they will make it to the next point.
The cold weather made life even harder for soldiers during winter. The ground froze solid and soldiers couldn't dig out new trenches but had to use holes to seek cover. The harsh cold also froze clothing, food, blankets and machinery.

Photograph taken , showing members of the 12th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment viewing the German lines through a periscope, 9 January 1918. Image was taken by official war photographer Thomas K. Aitken in the Arleux sector, north of Cambrai, France.

Photograph taken showing two British officers struggling through a muddy field near Arras, 19 January 1918. One of the most reproduced images of WWI, it was taken by official war photographer Thomas K. Aitken.

From the collection of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM (Q 10626). 

'British soldiers help a French priest move statues from his shell-damaged church in Armentieres, 26 February 1918'.

'45th Australian Battalion attacking the Hindenburg Line. Ascension Valley, near Le Verguier, 18 September 1918'.

'Liverpool Irish, 57th Division, entering the outskirts of Lille, 18th October 1918'.

Gabrielle Petit was a Belgian woman who spied for the British Secret Service during the Great War. She used several false identities to collect information about enemy movements. When finally betrayed in 1916, she refused to reveal her fellow agent’s identities despite offers of amnesty. Petit was shot by a German firing squad a few months later.The photo above shows an old postcard of the statue of Gabrielle Petit in Brussels, honouring her courage and sacrifice. The statue can still be found in Brussels today.

               “Love Letters in War and Peace”

Shell shock described the reactions of some soldiers to the pain and distress  experienced in the battles of WWI. Symptoms included fatigue, tremor, confusion, nightmares and impaired sight and hearing. Unfortunately, some men suffering from shell shock were put on trial or executed for military crimes including desertion and cowardice.

Ruins of Church Armetieres January 1919

'Unveiling of the Cenotaph London and funeral of the Unknown Soldier,Armistice Day 1920

French Memorial unveiled 1936 Picture taken and sent to Centenary News by Shani Chevalier. — at Place de la République  It was designed by Leon-Ernest Driver and is in Strasbourg France and unveiled in 1936

Women’s battle to enter the war                

The names of women who served in World War One may soon be added to Cheltenham’s war memorial (, though only two local ladies are known to qualify for inclusion. If the War Office had had its way, it is likely that no women at all would have served. In the end, the war did much to advance women’s rights


The town of Ypres is synonymous now with the Western Front.  The town was almost destroyed in the War.  It was a market town, and the centrepiece was a magnificent building called the Cloth Hall.

Soon after the outbreak of The Great War of 1914-1918 the peaceful way of life in this part of Flanders was shattered by the arrival of massed military forces and their destructive weapons of war.
German Army Arrives in Ypres

On one day of 7th October 1914, and overnight into the following day, about 8,000 soldiers of the Imperial German Army arrived in Ypres. They ordered thousands of loaves of bread to be baked, raided the town's coffers and left the following day, having “passed through” Ypres

French and British soldiers arrived in the town from 13th October to put up a defence and to block the route for the German Army through Ypres to the ports on the French and Belgian coast. Soldiers in the British Army quickly turned the name of Ypres into a much easier word to pronounce. They called it “Wipers”. The British Army remained in “Wipers” for four years from October 1914 to the end of the war in November 1918.

The defence of Ypres, or Wipers, was key to the British hold on this sector of the Western Front. The town was an important strategic landmark blocking the route for the Imperial German Army through to the Belgian and French coastal ports. Many thousands of Allied troops died to maintain the Allies' possession of this place. They died in the rubble of its buildings and the shattered farmland around it, fighting in ferocious battles and living in inhuman conditions. On the German side of the wire, many thousands of German lives were also lost in the landscape around Ypres during the German Army's four years of offensive and defensive battles. The German Army carried out major offensive operations in an attempt to gain possession of the town in the autumn of 1914, the spring of 1915 and the spring of 1918. The British carried out two major offensives to push the Germans off the dominating high ground around the north, east and south of the town in 1917.

By the end of the war the entire town lay in ruins, with only a handful of buildings left standing. Visitors coming to Ypres for the first time are usually astonished to think that the busy, vibrant town with its medieval and renaissance buildings was completely flattened and that virtually the whole of the town was reconstructed from scratch, stone by stone, brick by brick during the 1920's and 1930's.

                                                                                          The Cloth Hall today, is a museum.

Ted Smout - One of the oldest WW1 Veterans
from Queensland


Every night there is a service at the Menin Gate.


A short drive from Ypers and you come to Poperinghe


Shooting Their Own

During World War 1, the town of Poperinghe, was known as the centre for recreation, of all sorts of different activities, least of not the one which would not have been anticipated is the execution of soldiers in the British Army.  Australia did not participate in "shooting their own"..

World War 1, like the other wars before it, caused men to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress.  Not recognised at all nor understood.

From the discoveries revealed with the Zulu War, men did, and said, things that had absolutely no bearing on the truth.  They didn't understand their situation, they wrote stories that some people today, in some instances, still believe to be the truth.

We spent an afternoon in this lovely old town. Not realising what stories we would find.

Confronting?  It was.  The town of Poperinghe, is rather beautiful.  The secrets it hide rather dreadful.

The town of Poperinghe, today spelt Poperinge and during the War known to the British soldier as 'Pop', is about seven miles due west of Ypres.

During the First World War Poperinghe was the centre of a large concentration of troops, and there were many camps in the countryside around it. There was generally at least one Division billeted in the town, and it was described in a very early battlefield guide as "a [wartime] centre for recreation, for shopping and for rest".

The population before the War was about 12,000, but in 1917 there were as many as 250,000 soldiers billeted in the area. Starting in the town centre, the imposing Town Hall, built in 1911, can be found on the main square. It was used as a Divisional Headquarters during the War.

Within the town hall are 'execution cells' where some of the British soldiers condemned to execution during the Great War were kept awaiting their fate - to be shot at dawn. There were originally four cells, which were used by the police here before the war.

Two of these small rooms have been restored; one with a simple pallisade bed and a lavatory bucket. In the other is one of many information plaques to be found throughout the town, this one - number 21 in the series - records that although the exact number of men shot here at the Town Hall is unknown, there is firm evidence for five.

 There are photographs of some of those executed on the wall, part of an artwork located here. The two small rooms have small barred windows and are very dark, even on a bright sunny day.


Not a nice feeling to be standing among the names and the inscriptions these prisoners wrote on the walls.  A stark reminder of the cruelty of the day.  Sign on the dotted line, devote your time for your country, live amongst the cold, the wet, the stink, the mud, until you wish somehow to end it all.  It it any wonder they wanted out.

The Shot at Dawn Memorial is a monument at the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas, in Staffordshire, UK. It memorialises the 306 British Army and Commonwealth soldiers executed after courts-martial for cowardice or desertion during World War I

The memorial was created by the British public artist Andy De Comyn. It was created in 2000 as a gift from the artist to the relatives and was unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum by Gertrude Harris, daughter of Private Harry Farr, in June 2001. Marina Brewis, the great-niece of Lance Corporal Peter Goggins, also attended the service.

Soldiers accused of cowardice were often not given fair trials; they were often not properly defended, and some were minors The usual cause for their offences has been re-attributed in modern times to post-traumatic stress syndrome and combat stress reaction Another perspective is that the decisions to execute were taken in the heat of war when the commander's job was to keep the army together and fighting.

Probably well summed up with this Poem:


Waste of Muscle, waste of brain,
Waste of Patience, waste of Pain,
Waste of Manhood, waste of Health,
Waste of Beauty, waste of Wealth,
Waste of Blood, and waste of Tears,
Waste of Youth’s most precious years,
Waste of ways the Saints have trod,
Waste of Glory, waste of God – War!

This hard-hitting poem was published by the Rev. Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy in 1919. Born of Dublin and Monaghan stock, he was rather better known as 'Woodbine Willie'.

Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, MC (27 June 1883 – 8 March 1929), was an Anglican priest and poet. He was nicknamed 'Woodbine Willie' during World War I for giving Woodbine cigarettes along with spiritual aid to injured and dying soldiers.
On the outbreak of World War I, Studdert Kennedy volunteered as a chaplain to the army on the Western Front, where he gained the nickname 'Woodbine Willie'.[4] In 1917, he was awarded 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)

During the war he supported the British military effort with enthusiasm. Attached to a bayonet-training service, chaplain Kennedy toured with boxers and wrestlers to give morale-boosting speeches about the usefulness of the bayonet


We visited the Western Front for the 90th Anniversary of the End of World War 1, and were privileged to be part of that special day.  Many of those memories are included in these posts for those who have not had the opportunity of visiting.  Probably a place, if you have an interest in your family of ancestors, that might be worthwhile placing on a "Bucket List".

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