WWI trail opens in Worcestershire

Deeds of local man in wartime to be marked.

The Worcestershire World War One Hundred programme is launching its first, free, World War One heritage trail, The Woodbine Willie Trail, in time for October half-term.

The Woodbine Willie Trail celebrates the life of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, better known by his wartime nickname Woodbine Willie, which captured his ability to connect with British soldiers as they faced the battlefield. As soldiers left for the front Studdert Kennedy would offer them cigarettes and a bible.

The Trail, researched and compiled by Worcestershire World War One Hundred Volunteers Cathy Broad and Vanessa Haddleton, takes in 15 locations across Worcester, starting at The Guildhall taking in Worcester Cathedral, his recently unveiled statue in the Cornmarket, the Studdert Kennedy family home and his final resting place at St John’s Cemetery.

Adrian Gregson, Worcestershire World War One Hundred Project Director said: “We are delighted to be launching the Trail in time for half term, it’s an ideal way to get out and about across Worcester and visit some of our fantastic heritage venues. Woodbine Willie is an important historical figure in Worcester and the research compiled by our volunteers has really brought him to life. We hope that young people find his commitment to the people of Worcester both at the Front and at Home as inspiring as we do.”

The Woodbine Willie Trail is free and available at Worcester TIC, The Hive and other heritage venues across the City. The Trail is also available to download free at http://www.ww1worcestershire.co.uk/

A trail commemorating the life of music hall star Vesta Tilley will be launched later in the year.