Bullets and Daffodils performers pay tribute to Wimbledon tennis champion on anniversary of WWI

Tennis champion and WWI soldier Anthony Wilding

Tennis champion and WWI soldier Anthony Wilding

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Performers of a musical play featuring WWI soldier Wilfred Owen's poems will pay tribute to a Wimbledon tennis champion killed in action in France.

One hundred years since the outbreak of the Great War, the performance will commemorate the only time play was suspended at Wimbledon's centre court - between 1915 and 1918.

New Zealander Tony Wilding won the Wimbledon singles title for four straight years between 1910 and 1913.

On the advice of Winston Churchill he joined the Marines in 1914 and was promoted to captain the following year.

In his last letter dated May 8, he wrote: "For really the first time in seven and a half months I have a job on hand which is likely to end in gun, I, and the whole outfit being blown to hell.

"However if we succeed we will help our infantry no end."

The next day he was killed in action at 4:45pm during the Battle Of Aubers Ridge at Neuve-Chapelle, France, when a shell exploded on the roof of the dug-out he was sheltering in.

Bullets and Daffodils, by Dean Johnson, sets many of Owen's most famous poems to contemporary music, narrated by the WWI writer and soldier Siegfried Sassoon.

The production will feature a special tribute to Anthony Wilding for the performances at the New Wimbledon theatre, which fall two weeks before the tournament.

Bullets and Daffodils; New Wimbledon Theatre, 93 The Broadway; Monday, June 9 and Tuesday, June 10; £13.20; atgtickets.com

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