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Remembered Today:

songs again!

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#1 Deleted_thatc_*

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 07:03 pm

I would like to thank those who have responded to my previous queery, but I am still looking for any info on the concert parties held during the great war. these can be official of impromptu events. unfortunatly 'soldiers songs and slang' is no longer available, therefore any help or advice would be greatfully recieved.

#2 jhill



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Posted 20 January 2003 - 07:18 pm

The "Dumbells" were the 3rd Canadian Division Concert troup. There is a good write up including a few references at the National Library of Canada website at: http://www2.nlc-bnc....c/dumbellse.htm

#3 Cliff. Hobson

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 07:28 pm

There was a Concert Party operating in the Dickebusch area
in 1917/18 called the "Sparklets"
Cliff. Hobson.

#4 Terry Carter

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 08:05 pm

In the latter stages of the war the concert party for the 16th Royal Warwicks (3rd Birmingham Battalion) was known as the "Brum Boys."
I have photo of them, with the Bn. CO Lt Col Graham Deakin, if you are interested. In early 1919, they returned to Birmingham and were top of the bill for one week at the Grand Theatre of Varieties in Corporation Street.

The 5th Division Concert Party was known as the 'Whizz-Bangs.' One of their party was Will Kings of the 14th Royal Warwicks (1st B'ham). He was an original cast member of the 'Archers' radio series when it first started.

ta ta


#5 Bob Coulson

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Posted 21 January 2003 - 04:56 am

If you go back to the main site home page and go to "War Diaries" there are quite a few mentions of concert parties, especially in the 2nd KRRC section.

#6 Deleted_J.Woodward_*

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Posted 21 January 2003 - 01:49 pm

The 29th Division had the Diamonds (The Divisional insignis was diamond shaped), the Jocks were the 15th (Scottish) Division, The Balmorals the 51st (Highland) Division, the Chequers the 34th (the Divisional patch ws achess board). The Yorkshires had The Tykes, the Northumberland Fusiliers the Jesmond Jesters and the Aussies the Anzac Coves, whilst perhaps the most famous were the Verey Lights of the 20th Division

#7 Andrew P

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 10:30 am

I recall reading in one of the Australian unit histories about a concert party the men of that unit attended.
The name of the concert party was the 'Whizz Bangs'. It could have been the same group that Terry mentioned or an Australian equivalent.

The mini series 'Anzacs' which came out in the 1980's portrayed the men of the 8th Battalion AIF attending one such concert.


#8 AndrewThornton



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Posted 22 January 2003 - 10:39 am


A good source for you to track down would be:

Fuller, J. G.: Troop Morale and Popular Culture in the British and Dominion Armies, 1914-1918, (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1990).

The book is a bit "academic" I suppose, but it does include a useful appendix listing unit concert parties, from individual battalions up to Army level, and even lists if a particular division had a cinema!

#9 Annette Burgoyne

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 12:27 pm

The 20th Division's troupe of Pierrots, known as the "Verey Lights" was began in about November 1916, and continued until 1919.

From 20th February 1917 the "Verey Lights" had been performing at the Carnoy Coliseum. Fortunately many men of the 12th King's were attending one of their Concerts on the 15th March, when a hugh explosion wrecked the King's camp. Nevertheless 12 officers and men were killed and 53 wounded and one man was missing.

Info. from The History of the Twentieth (Light) Division, by Captain Inglefield.


#10 paul guthrie

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 02:11 pm

What an amazing amount of deaths for one family and what a sad percentage of all who served. We will remember them.

#11 Joe Sweeney

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 02:16 pm


Here is an incomplete list of concert parties (from Stand to):

4th Div The Follies
5th The Whizz Bangs
6th The Fancies
9th The Thistles
12th The Spades
15th The Jocks
17th The Duds
19th The Follies
20th The Very Lights
21st The Soarers
23rd The Dumps
29th The Diamond Troupe
34th The Chequers
36th The Merry Mauves
lst Can The Volatiles
ANZAC The Shrapnels
37th The Bam Owls
40th The Gamecocks
42nd Th' Lads
46th The Whizzbangs
47th The Follies
49th The Tykes
50th The Jesmond Jester
51st The Balmorals
52nd The Thistletops
56th The Bow Bells
58th The Goods
59th The Crumps
60th The Roosters
62nd The Pelicans
3rd Can The Dumbells
4th Aus The Smart Set

Joe Sweeney

#12 Annette Burgoyne

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 07:22 pm

Was there a concert party called the Drop Shorts, I think it was mentioned in the mini series 'Anzacs' but my memory may be wrong the series was back in the 80's.

Paul, the list of my family who lost their lives comes from three sides of the family, so it may not be that amazing, I am sure many other families lost as many or more. I have seen the post about the five son from one family being killed, as a mother this makes a chill run down my spine. One of my 14 year olds wants to join the British Army (now) so he can go and fight in the possible war to come, I am just glad he's to young to join up. I told him that he would not be so b****y keen when he got out there and saw the reality of war, sorry I've gone off the point a bit.


#13 Kate Wills

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 01:36 am

Thatc (?? - peculiar, how did you arrive at Thatc?)

Major Tom Bridges was, I believe, serving with the Dragoons, when he used a little music to enliven the dispirited troops at St Quentin on 27 Aug 1914:
2 or 3 hundred men lay exhausted in the town square, so jaded it was pathetic to see. If we only had a band, I thought. Why not? There was a toyshop nearby, which provided my trumpeter and I with a drum and tin-whistle. We marched around the fountain playing The British Grenadiers and Tipperary. They sat up and began to laugh and even cheer. Soon they fell in and eventually we moved off into the night to the music of our improvised band, now reinforced by a couple of mouth organs..."

#14 Andrew P

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 04:18 am

Hi Annette

I think the name of the concert party in the mini series Anzacs was Whizz Bangs or Shrapnels or something similar and it was one of the soldiers who commented that after the performance provided the group should be re-named the 'Drop Shorts' laugh.gif

Thatc - If you go to the Australian War Memorial's collection database and type in 'Concert party' several photos of these concert parties will be shown.


#15 Annette Burgoyne

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 01:53 pm

Thats right Andrew I remember now, they then started fighting.


#16 Andrew Marshall

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 07:52 pm


In the History of the 47th London Divsion are several photographs of the "Follies" and also a small write up of the original members. One of the photographs also lists the members present.

If you would like a copy of these post me your address off group and I will make you some copies.