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#51 Doug Johnson

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 03:28 PM

Hi Kate,

The London Scottish had an active theatrical troupe prior to the war which gave performances in top London theatres.

Do you have any information on these performances and do you know if Harold Charles Phelps took part? Apart from being one of the Guestrow Bing Boys he was a leading light in the British entertainment in Guestrow from 1915 onwards (in 1914 there was no opportunity for entertainments at Guestrow). Several other London Scottish also took part, including my Grandfather, but they were clearly not natural performers. Both Phelps and Forbes Checketts (1/Berkshire Regiment) were awarded the MSM for services in the camp but Stanley Thompson was another significant character, writing many of the sketches that were performed. Unfortunately he dissappears from the credits later in the war so he may have been moved or repatriated and I have no other information about him.

I note that PoWs were not included in your list. Do they appear in your database?

Doug

#52 Kate Wills

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:17 PM

Thankyou all.

Marika,

Nice one!!

We have a talk on Geoffrey Malin's Somme films at WFA next week, so yours is a very timely find.


Stephen

I've added those too, and in return here are a couple of Tank Corps entertainers for you:
Eric Page and Gerald Carne.


mtaylor

I've run a few checks without success. Ethel is not listed as a Lena Ashwell (Concerts at the Front) performer, but that isn't to say she did not 'do her bit'. Do you have any furher info?


Doug

Phelps is not listed in the 1912 performance programme. Do you know when he enlisted in in the LS?

I will record POWs in time, but I think I should start a separate database for them. I know some established active service entertainers became POWs, and pesumably continued to tread the boards in captivity. It would be interesting to track any previous form of those you mention, and of course everyone who mounted what were often very elaborate performances in specially-constructed facilities. Indeed, Germany hosted a four-year international festival of the performing arts, with productions by the French, British, Belgian, Russians etc etc. It is a vast subject.

I am interested in entertainments in all spheres during the war, though I concentrate on active service concert parties as they were mounted despite the circumstances, rather than as a consequence of them.

#53 delta

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:45 AM

Thanks Kate

S

#54 mtaylor

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:22 AM

Hi Kate - Ethel Rodney was the stage name of Ethel Cobb whose married name was Crozier. She was in Scarborough at the time of the bombardment in Dec 1914 and as she had no obvious reson for being there, it made me think that she might have carried on with her stage career in some form.

#55 CarylW

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 10:51 PM

Kate

Two more (if you don't already have them) from Salonika







(Source: War Illustrated May 1916)


Caryl

#56 Kate Wills

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:30 PM

Thanks Caryl,

They are members of 85th Field Ambulance RAMC, who wrote and produced their pantomime within the space of a fortnight at Christmas 1915, having only arrived in Salonika the previous month. It was such a success the Divisional commander, General Briggs, ordered them to tour it around every unit of 28th Div, and they also performed it aboard ships in Salonika Harbour.

Eddie Dillon (Alice) was later commissioned into the RFC, and died in a training flight over Norfolk in 1917.

#57 CarylW

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 11:13 AM

Thanks Kate. Interesting history and sad that Eddie Dillon lost his life; he looks as though he enjoyed the role of "Alice"

Caryl

#58 Canadawwi

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 12:12 AM

A number of entertainers performed in a May 1916 military concert at Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. The soldiers involved were with the 113th Battalion Lethbridge Highlanders (also known as the Kilties), a C.E.F. unit. Here's a direct link to the original newspaper report entitled "Military Night at Majestic Gave Surprises" published in the Lethbridge Herald, 22 May 1916. Link

Highlights from the article:

The Kilties have demonstrated before that the battalion possesses an abundance of amateur stage talent...

The pipers are always favourites and their appearance on the stage was the signal for much animation among the audience. The Highland Reel by Pipe Major Hosie, Sergt. Whyte, Pipers Buchanan, McArthur and McBeth was rendered in approved fashion in this act.

The musical selections and recitations were splendid. In Pte. Vaughan the Kilties have an artist. His song, "By the Yukon Trail," and the "Bedouin Love Song," with the monologue "Dismal Jimmie," made him a favourite with the audience. Lieut. Asquith too achieved a triumph in his recitation, as did Lance-Corpl. Jackson in "Two Little Drummer Boys" recitation, and his "We're All Under the Same Old Flag" song.

Piper Buchanan is as good with the violin as he is with the pipes, and his Scottish airs brought him an avalanche of approval when he left the stage.


Using the search engine for "Soldiers of the C.E.F", these are links to the attestation papers of some of the men mentioned.

Major Lionel Asquith. Born Ramsgate, Kent. Occupation: Gentleman. Previous service with the East Kent Regiment. Kings & Queens South African war medals. Officer's Commission for the 113th Lethbridge Highlanders (C.E.F.) dated 24 Dec. 1915 at Lethbridge, Alberta.

William Henry Vaughan, 736785. Living in Cardston, Alberta at time of his enlistment in the 113th. Born in Cardiff, Wales. Occupation: Gentleman. Previous service with the Alberta Rangers and with the Glamorgan Yeomanry.

Pipe Major Alexander Hosie, 736399. Living at Medicine Hat, Alberta at time of enlistment in the 113th. Born Forfar, Scotland. Occupation: Caretaker.

Hugh McBeth, 183192. Born Strathy, Sutherlandshire, Scotland. Labourer. Living in Calgary, Alberta at time of enlistment.

Alfred Theodore Jackson, 736465. Although his first name was not mentioned in this article, his initials come up in another article from 23 May 1916 reporting on another concert. Link. Jackson was born in Bristol, England, and worked as a Fireman. He was living in Lethbridge at the time he enlisted.

The above names were easy to locate as they are relatively uncommon. For the other men who were mentioned - Piper Buchanan, Sgt. Whyte, and McArthur, the identification is unclear as there are at least two or more possibilities.

- Marika

#59 Canadawwi

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 03:50 AM

Ivor Ernest Ayre enlisted in Toronto (Canada) in the 170th Battalion C.E.F. He indicated on his military attestation that he was a professional pianist. Another form with his attestation notes that he was with the 3rd Canadian Division Concert Party. Ayre was born in Devonshire, England, but was living with his wife in Toronto when he enlisted.

Link to attestation forms.

#60 grabur

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 03:47 PM

Kate and Grant

Tom Burrows was my grandfather.

I have a silver Inkstand presented to him by Jean Nolan inscribed with thanks to him for saving her and dated at the time of the incident.

I also have a copy of Lena Ashwells book about the entertainers the text of which is less than specific about Tom nevertheless has a preface thanking him personally for helping her with the book!?

I have no idea about his entertainment abilities other that a photo with his dummies. I cannot find reference to him in music hall entertainers of the time so any articles or letters would be most helpful.

There is a family story that he was one of the magicians that met with Devant when he formed the Magic Circle although they are not helpful on this point

Has anyone any further information?

Grahame Burrows

#61 Jim_Grundy

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:45 PM

Kate


Do you have Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Calladine on your list of performers? I can let you have some details or, if you're on facebook, take a look here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Small-Town-Great-War-Hucknall-1914-1918/117600881609310#!/notes/small-town-great-war-hucknall-1914-1918/lizzie-calladine-entertaining-the-troops-junejuly-1916/187865367898875.

Regards,


Jim

#62 Kate Wills

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 03:09 AM

Jim,

I don't know if you found my note on your article about Lizzie on facebook, but here it is again:

Thankyou for posting this. It's good to get to meet one of the 600+ artistes who entertained in France under the auspices of the YMCA, and thanks to the unflagging efforts of Lena Ashwell's Concerts at the Front initiative.

Mixed groups of entertainers, such as the combination of singers, musicians and cemedian related by Lizzie, were send out in groups throughout the war, some going as far afield as Malta and Egypt.

There are several candidates for the Scotch comedian. The lady cellist could be Gwen Farrar, Adelina Leon or Beatrice Evaline.

#63 Jim_Grundy

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 06:19 PM

Kate


Sorry, no, I don't seem to be able to find your note on my fb page. Many thanks for taking the trouble to post it again here.

I've added it to the fb note now, suitably acknowledged.

Thanks again.

Regards,


Jim

#64 CarylW

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 04:22 PM

Kate

Do you have this lady on your database? Found here:
http://www.nationala...-1229&cid=-1#-1

"During the World War I period Violet (Gilchrist) was a member of a Pierrot Troupe which travelled around local hospitals entertaining
the soldiers. Violet is kneeling on the left. Entitled: The Fool and her Follies. In manuscript: With love from "one of the Follies" 17.12.15. Photographer: Arthur Spencer, York House, Edith Road, West Kensington, W. 1229/6 1914-1918"


Contents:
Negative Sheet Number 1/C24/34 1229
Covering dates 1908-1952
Held by Greater Manchester County Record Office

Of no interest to me, except that she married a man from Birkenhead, found it while looking for something else.
If interested, wonder if some kind soul would obtain a copy of the photo for you from Manchester RO?

Caryl

#65 daggers

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 10:47 AM

Kate
Sorry if you have this already: 'Diary of an Old Contemptible, from Mons to Baghdad 1914-1919', ed by Peter Downham, iwas edited from the writing of Pte Edward Roe, an Irish East Lancs regular.
Two mentions of concert parties, first at Amara in Mespot, 21 October [1916] "The Middlesex concert party gave a performance at Battalion Headquarters from 7.00 until 10.00 p.m. - a good show." [page 195]
I November "The Amara 'Perriot Company' gave a splendid show at Brigade Headquarters ..." [page 196] [the editor corrected the spelling].
There may be more, as I have not finished the book, which is a good read.
Daggers

#66 Martin JST

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 08:42 PM

Hi Kate, I have found these postcards of concert parties in my collection from my grandfather, I hope they are of interest? There are no details on the back of when or where are you able to identify them?

In my granfathers diaries he mentions the Barnstormers as entertainment a few times were they a concert party I have not been able to find any reference while doing web searches, only get the flying circus sort of stuff, which I am sure is not what he was talking about.

Attached Files



#67 Kate Wills

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 03:59 PM

Sorry for the delay. Aside from spam patrol, I've been out of circulation for a week.

Caryl,

Thanks for this. It looks as though I'm going to have to start another database devoted to civilian entertainers. At present I only have military performers, and notes on Lena Ashwell's artistes and other interesting civilians, scu as this lady. The subject spreads ever wider.

:::::::::::

Daggers,

Many thanks for those. It's always good to add new parties to the list. I have three Middlesex units so far. Any idea to which Middlesex battalion this party belonged?

Happy reading!

:::::::::::::

Martin,

The Crotchets were a civilain troupe, active during the pre-war years. I think the different costumes related to indoor/evening and outdoor shows.

What really interests me is your first photo. These are The Roosters of 60th Division, initially a brigade concert party, and by all accounts one of the very best concert parties in the entire army, and one which had a long post-war career. You have also solved a little mystery for me as to the identity of an image in my collection of the central figure on your card.

#68 Kate Wills

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 04:56 PM

Martin,

Knowing your interest in the 2/14th Londons, you may be interested in

Unknown concert party - now identified

#69 gareth50h

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 10:41 AM


Dear KateI have a grand uncle who was in the concert parties for some time both in France and Newcastle in the 1914-18 war. His name was Joseph Abrahamson number 17263 but changed his name for Joe Rae. He was in the 9th Duke of Wellingtons and he was a principal Comedian.
Cheers,
gareth


#70 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 08:07 AM

Kate
You probably have them since they have been mentioned elsewhere on the forum, but just in case - I've often seen concert notices for The Cavalry Cripples concert troupe in the Eastbourne local papers of WW1.


There was also a letter from the Cavalry Command Depot in the Eastbourne Gazette in February 1917 to 'correct a misapprehension as to the military status of the "Cavalry Cripples" and their comrades...Every member of the troupe has been in the fighting line in France, Gallipoli, Egypt or German Africa...' evidently in response to the sort of censorious gossip Eastbourne was always good at.

'You can appreciate, Sir, the feelings of men who have fought on one, two and in some cases three of the fronts in this war when they hear that local rumour has it that their ranks are largely composed of non-combatants, conscientious objectors, et hoc genus omne.'


No one minded the name, of course - times change!
Liz

#71 Kate Wills

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 11:51 PM

Indeed they do Liz. Thankyou for that.

Entertainment in Eastbourne seemed heavily dependent on crocked soldiers during the war. Aside from the Cavalry Cripples, the convalescents in Summerdown Camp also ran regular shows, often at the Winter Gardens in the summer.



Hello Gareth,

I have added Joe to the database. Do you have the name of his concert parties? I have had a look at Joe's service record online. His papers are in the name of Joseph Rae:

Name: Joseph Rae
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1890
Age at enlistment: 25
Residence: 56 Mile End Road, E
Document Year: 1915
Regimental Number: 17263
Regiment Name: West Riding Regiment

He gives his occupation as farm hand, and there are mentions of the 6th and 8th Duke of Wellington's, but not the 9th.

Do you have any more info on him?

#72 gareth50h

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 07:55 AM

Dear Kate,

I gleaned the information from my Uncle Joe's first world war letters and he mentions the two places he performed as well as the acts he did. I suspect he got involved after he got trench foot in January 1917 and was hospitalised in England. I am very interested that you have located a Joseph Rae with the same regimental number 17263 as I have been struggling to locate him. He was born in 1896 and had come from Leeds. Please let me know if you have more details about his service record as I have been struggling to locate him. In 1911 he was working out of Birmingham as a porter.
Cheers,
gareth

#73 gareth50h

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 04:44 AM

Dear Kate,

Thanks for the information regarding war record of Joe Rae-This was indeed my man and was a Now we have located this photo of Joe performing in the army under the banner of the Ducks. Gareth

Attached File  ducks.jpg   36.64KB   0 downloadsmajor help for me.






#74 Kate Wills

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 10:26 AM

Gareth,

Did you locate Joe's service record online?

Thankyou for posting The Ducks. I'm interested in why troupes chose particular names. Jokes and wordplay are often involved, and I wonder if The Ducks is is wordplay on The Dukes. Maybe someone mispelt, misread or misprounouced Dukes as ducks on one occasion.

#75 NigelS

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 05:10 PM

Kate,

Have you come across the 'Woodsnippers'? I came across this article on what may well have been their final performances in the Surrey Advertiser & County Times.

Surrey Advertiser & County Times: Saturday, February 1st, 1919

BYFLEET
GIRL CARPENTERS RETURN
“WOODSNIPPERS” CONCERT PARTY
Mr WG Tarrant’s lady carpenters on their return from France, gave two enjoyable entertainments at Byfleet Village Hall last week - on Thursday evening to the firm’s employees and their friends, and on Friday to the general public – in aid of St. Nicholas Home for crippled Children.
On both occasions the building was filled with an enthusiastic audience, and the splendid programme carried out by the girls’ concert party, known as the ‘Woodsnippers’ was appreciated just as heartily as many similar entertainments had been by the British Tommies in France. Hundreds of flags were in evidence, being used both in stage setting and for the decoration of the hall; and the smart and dainty costumes worn by the girls added greatly to the charms of their entertainment which had been arranged by Lieut. H. Kennerley, who had trained them in France, and obtained leave to accompany them home.
The humorous element predominated in the programme, which in addition to concerted numbers, comprised admirably rendered songs by Miss Barrow, Miss French, Miss Langdon, Miss Dunster, Miss Berry, and Miss Thomson; a clever dance by Miss Norman representing the flutterings of a moth round a candle, a graceful minuet, charmingly executed by Miss Passmore and Miss Barrow with vocal accompaniment by Miss French; Highland Fling and Sword Dances by Miss Thomson; a diverting ragtime duet and dialogue by Miss Dunster and Miss Barrow, who respectively took the lead in two popular concerted items; and a most effective tableau, representing Britannia and he allies with which the entertainment concluded. Encores were numerous and enthusiasm reached its height when Mr Tarrant gallantly mounted the stage in response to the irresistible “Won’t you promenade with me?” of chic Miss Langdon in her song ‘Gay Paree.’ Miss AP Smallpiece, ARCM, was an admirable accompanist.
Some interesting particulars of the work carried out by the girls in France were given by Mr Tarrant, who mentioned that altogether about 150 had crossed the channel to engage in hut construction for the troops. Their camp near Calais was constantly subjected to air roads, and frequently bombs fell quite close, but fortunately there were no casualties, and throughout their stay the health of the girls was remarkably good, no fewer than 22,000 Missen
[Sic] huts and 15,000 Tarrant portable huts were turned out by the firm, representing a total length, if placed end to end, of some 300 miles; and when the work was in full swing, 50,000 lb of nails were used per week. Collections by the girls on behalf of St Dunstans Hostel for Blinded Soldiers had realised £100.
On Friday evening reference to the work of St. Nicholas Home, Pyrford, was made by Mr FC Stoop and the proceeds of this entertainment amounted to over £20.

TARRANT’S WAR WORK
SOME INTERESTING FIGURES
Mr WG Tarrant has kindly supplied us with the following particulars of his firm’s war work operations: 35,000 huts constructed by the women carpenters; the total made by the firm was many thousands larger. About 100 military camps which had accommodated a quarter of a million men. Many stable and veterinary hospitals – sufficient to stand 80,000 horses. Ten hospitals each sufficient to accommodate 1,000 beds, together with staff, baths, equipment, etc. Various RE stores, petrol dumps, ammunition dumps, hangars, many miles of water main, roads, sewers etc. Sufficient timber was secured and joinery made from the Byfleet and West Surrey area to keep three boats continuously crossing to France for a period of 18 months.


Pre & post War WG tarrant's construction company had a reputation for building high quality houses. During the war huts were fabricated at the company's workshops in Byfleet then dismantled before transport by lorry to the Surrey Commercial Docks on the River Thames at Rotherhithe and shipping to France in what we'd call 'flatpack' form today.

NigelS