AN EXHIBITION celebrating the work of chaplains during the First World War will be opening next month at Bradford Cathedral.

Authors Jilly Cooper and Sarah Reay will be special guests at the exhibition, which tells the story of vicars and priests from Bradford and further afield who risked their lives on the front line.

Both women’s grandfathers were chaplains during the war, and they will share memories of their grandfathers at the reception, which takes place at 7pm on Wednesday, November 9.

It will celebrate the men who were killed in action, those who survived, and those who were honoured for supreme acts of bravery.

Reverend Cat Thatcher, assistant curate at Bradford Cathedral, said: “The exhibition tells of the difficulties they faced in trying to do their job of faith in such a difficult situation.

“It also shows men of different denominations - Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Congregational etc - worked together to support the troops as best they could.

“We are also really pleased that at the same time, we have an information banner which contains the stories of some of the men whose names are listed on the Cathedral’s war memorial.

“One of our congregation has researched the stories of these men, and has found some of their descendants. This is really exciting for us, because up until a year or so ago, there was no one left at the Cathedral who knew who any of those men were - so this really brings their stories to life.”

Jilly Cooper’s grandfather, Rev Richard Whincup, was Canon of Heaton and of Bradford Cathedral, along with serving in the 1/6th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. He served in the Battle of the Somme, and Ms Cooper, of Ilkley, recounted a story typical of her grandfather. She said: “He comforted the men so much. There is one story where he was conducting a funeral and shells were landing all around him, the congregation were all hiding but he stood there with his tin hat rattling as he delivered the service.

“The men said they would go through hell as long as he was with them, and was awarded the Military Cross for his work in the trenches.”

The Chaplains of the First World War free exhibition will open on Friday, November 4, and will run until Saturday, November 26. It will be open from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 12pm to 4pm on Sundays.