Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy came into the world in 1883 at Leeds, England, son of an Anglican vicar, William Studdert Kennedy. Geoffrey graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, with a degree in classics and divinity, then served parishes in Rugby and Worcester.
Kennedy volunteered as a military chaplain on the Western Front after the outbreak of World War I. Along with his ministry to the wounded and dying, he was remembered for his doling out Woodbine cigarettes to the soldiers, thus earning the nickname "Woodbine Willie".
Even a cursory reading of some of his many poems gives a clue to his literary skill. He published several volumes of religious poetry, one of them called Rough Rhymes of a Padre, based on his experience as a chaplain. A good example of his strength of character, compassion, and respect for his fellow soldiers comes through in his poem Woodbine Willie: