Tim Kendall, President
Professor of English at the University of Exeter; editor, Poetry of the First World War (OUP); presenter, Ivor Gurney: The Poet Who Loved the War (BBC TV, 2014); author, Modern English War Poetry (OUP, 2006); editor (with Philip Lancaster), Ivor Gurney: The Complete Poetical Works, vol. 1 (OUP).
Jonathan Bradley, Treasurer
Jonathan Bradley formerly taught at the University of the West of England, and is the author of a number of articles and books. He has been interested in poetry for much of his life, and more recently in war poetry. His own most recent publication was Papiliones, a collection of poems inspired by butterflies, and his next book will be published in May 2020. He is a member of the Council of the European Centre for Peace and Development in Belgrade, Serbia.
David Worthington, Chairman
Solicitor in Bristol. Interests include war poetry, literature, history and the theatre. Involved in establishing the War Poets Association; formerly Vice Chair of the Wilfred Owen Association. Monograph on T. E. Hulme ‘One of the War Poets’, Cecil Woolf’s The War Poets series. Twitter: @Worthies. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Thompson, Organiser WPA Tours, & Acting Secretary
Andy was a history teacher for 40 years although 19 years headship in a Surrey comprehensive school prevented him from spending as much time in the classroom as he would have wished.
In 1981 he travelled to the battlefields of WW1 following the story of his great uncle who was killed in Ypres on 1st November 1914. In the chaos of the fighting in the early weeks of the war his body was lost and he is remembered on the Menin Gate. It was the enormity of the names on the panels at the Memorial to the Missing of the Salient that convinced Andy that all the children in his care should visit the battlefields and thus began a lifetime interest. In the past thirty plus years Andy has managed and guided over 300 tours to the battlefields of WW1 & WW2 where he enjoys sharing his passion about the subject with his fellow travellers.
His increasing commitment to the battlefields (Andy works with several major WW1 charities and is involved with many key centenary projects) caused him to form his own specialist tour company which offer bespoke tours to individuals, families and groups who have an interest in the great European conflicts of the 20th century.
Andy is a member of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides and has been a member of the WPA for ten years. He acts as clerk to the WPA committee and co-ordinates the biennial tours.
Fran Brearton, Committee Member
Professor of Modern Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast and Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. She is author of The Great War in Irish Poetry, and recently edited Robert Graves’s Good-bye to All That for Penguin Classics.
Merryn Williams is the editor of the upcoming War Poetry Review, she has published four collections of poetry and a brief life of Wilfred Owen (Seren Books). She has also edited two anthologies, In the Spirit of Wilfred Owen (Wilfred Owen Association) and The Georgians 1901-1930 (Shoestring Press), which includes several of the First World War poets.
Paul O’Prey – Committee Member
Professor Paul O’Prey CBE was Vice-Chancellor at the University of Roehampton, London, for fifteen years, until 2019. He is currently Chair of the Edward James Foundation which among other things runs the West Dean College of Art and Conservation in West Sussex. He also runs a small independent publishers, Dare-Gale Press, which has a particular focus on poets of the First World War who served at the Front, but not with a gun in their hand. This includes Mary Borden, the nurse who wrote The Forbidden Zone, and Laurence Binyon, John Masefield, Vera Brittain and others. His books include First World War: Poems from the Front, published by the Imperial War Museum in 2014, and Counter-Wave Poetry of Rescue in the First World War, which came out in 2018. He is also the editor of Robert Graves’s poetry, essays and correspondence with other writers.
Geoffrey Taylor – Committee Member
Geoffrey Taylor was born in Gloucestershire, in the west of England, in 1963. At a village below the hill where the custom of cheese-rolling is raced. He first began experimenting in poetry at the age of twenty, which coincided with a first excursion to France. He started publishing his work in earnest in 1995. He has had his poems published in magazines such as ‘Rubies in the darkness,’ and ‘Awen’. Geoffrey won an international poetry competition with his poem, ‘Unpractised’. Geoffrey works in the arts and has attended many of the Eye Witness tours of the Somme & Flanders. Recently, he commissioned and sited a marker stone at the grave of Richard Aldington, at Sancerre.
Bel Mooney – Committee Member
Bel Mooney has been a well-known journalist for fifty years, and is also the author of over thirty children’s books, six novels, two memoirs and a book on Somerset. After a simultaneously successful side-career in broadcasting, she is now also an art collector, dog lover and aspiring poet. Her love of war poetry began when she was given Edmund Blunden’s edition of Wilfred Owen as a grammar school prize.
Mike Scott – Webmaster & WPA Tours
Mike was a teacher for 30 years, taking his own pupils to the battlefields since 1985. Having retired Mike became a tour guide and tour manager almost full time, with some of his remaining time devoted to writing and lecturing. Mike has university qualifications in Politics and History, Computing and Management. He runs Eyewitness Tours who provide bespoke and tailor made tours for large and small groups..