Over a year ago, Kelvin Dakin very kindly sent me a scan of a souvenir copy of a humorous monologue written on 1st October 1918 which explains, “Who Won the War, and Why!!”. This seems an appropriate time to publish this vital document so, move over Wakefield, Moody and Palmer, the real reason for the allied victory can now be revealed!
In addition to the scan, which was brought home by Kelvin’s grandfather, he also provided some biographical details of Private Sweetapple of the GHQ Concert Party who performed the monologue. This really was his name, although he sounds like a character from one of the Salonika pantomime.
Private George Lawrence (Laurie) Sweetapple was born on 5th September 1888 in Lamorbey, Kent. In 1911 he was working as a bookbinder and living with his parents in New Cross. He served with the 1st County of London Yeomanry and after the war he started – or continued – a career on the stage with Grossmith and Laurillards Entertainers, London. Laurie moved to New Zealand in about 1927 and continued a successful career as a stage act and later a voice-over artist with the New Zealand Film Unit. Kelvin has found a cutting from October 1928 for the Grand Opera House, Wellington, announcing ‘Dorrie and Laurie’:
… who will entertain you with two ukes and a few songs …
Dorrie was Doris Nation who would become Laurie’s wife.
My thanks go to Kelvin for allowing me to reproduce this wonderful document, a reminder of the lighter side of the campaign.