It’s Panto Time!

Pantomimes were by no means unique to the British Salonika Force but – with a lack of home leave and limited sources of entertainment, especially ‘up country’ – they seem to have been a notable feature of the campaign.

28th Division’s 85th Field Ambulance stand out, producing Dick Whittington in just a fortnight for Christmas 1915. They went on to bigger and better things – even with the Division’s move to the Struma valley – with Aladdin in Macedonia in 1916/17 and Bluebeard in 1917/18 and even performed their shows into the 1920s.

I’ve long thought how good it would be to hear some of the music from these shows one hundred years on, so I was delighted to be contacted by Philip Edwards who wanted to do just that. Philip used lockdown to produce, what can only be described as audio-visual extravaganzas! Thank you, Philip.

So settle down and imagine yourself in the Kopriva Palace Theatre and enjoy this number from Aladdin in Macedonia

… then this traditional Greek Christmas Dance …

… and finally, the touching song “Farewell”, sung by Dick and Alice in Dick Whittington …

And, on that wistful note we wish all our members, friends, visitors and their families a very happy and safe Christmas and all the very best for 2021.

Photo from the front cover of the December 1939 issue of 'The Mosquito'; the pit orchestra for "Bluebeard"
Photo from the front cover of the December 1939 issue of ‘The Mosquito’.

Author: Andy Hutt

Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served in Salonika as a sapper with the Royal Engineers from 1916-1918. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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