Pupils from Year 10 GCSE History spent an afternoon in Leeds Parish Church reflecting upon the life of a well known World war One Chaplain.


Woodbine Willie was his nickname. His real name is Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy. Born in 1887 he was ordained a priest in 1910. During World War One he served as an army Chaplain in the trenches. He gave out Bibles and cigarettes to soldiers, hence his nickname. He became very respected and as a result famous. After the war he served as a Vicar, became Chaplain to the King and wrote many Christian Books. He promoted the ideals of the Christian Labour Movement.

Quotes from pupils


The trip was really educational.  In history we didn’t really learn about religion in WW1, so it was a refreshing change of topic and interesting to learn about the life of Father Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy.



I found the trip very interesting and I found out more about what it was like to be a soldier in WW1.  I also found out about the life of “Woodbine Willie” and what he did to improve the lives of soldiers in and after the war and also how he improved the lives of their families as well.



Woodbine Willie – I found out he joined the army as a church minster and gave cigarettes to soldiers. He also went out to no-mans land to bring back soldiers who were hurt, this earned him the military cross and after the war he became Chaplain to the King.


I really enjoyed the trip to Leeds Parish church because:


• It was interesting to find out about how a person from a normal background became such a hero within the community and even a friend to the King.


• It was good to see someone who had done something good and selfless to help others during the war instead of seeing what people did to harm other people as we are more likely to learn in history.


• It was interesting seeing History and RS mixed, instead of being separate.


• Finally instead of only learning facts we could give and learn other peoples’ opinions.



The exhibition about Woodbine Willie was really interesting, it’s always good to revisit and learn about the war, particularly individuals stories.  The fact that he was born in Leeds made it very relevant to us as well.  Taking time out to reflect and discuss issues to do with war was also good and made me think again about what each of us can do to follow Woodbine Willie’s example of living a selfless life.



It made you realise how lucky we are, not to have to experience war like many including Woodbine Willy who put others before themselves, they risked their own life to help and save others.  It made you realise just how hard it is to put yourself second to others, especially when it involves your own life.