“Who Won The War, And Why!”

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!

Humorous Musical Monologue - "Who Won The War, And Why!!" Salonika, 1918. From the collection of Kelvin Dakin.Humorous Musical Monologue - "Who Won The War, And Why!!" Salonika, 1918. From the collection of Kelvin Dakin.
Humorous Musical Monologue - "Who Won The War, And Why!!" Salonika, 1918. From the collection of Kelvin Dakin.
Humorous Musical Monologue - "Who Won The War, And Why!!" Salonika, 1918. From the collection of Kelvin Dakin.
Humorous Musical Monologue - "Who Won The War, And Why!!" Salonika, 1918. From the collection of Kelvin Dakin.
Humorous Musical Monologue - "Who Won The War, And Why!!" Salonika, 1918. From the collection of Kelvin Dakin.

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.

Gustav Holst, The Planets and Salonika

Today is the exact centenary of the premiere of Gustav Holst’s suite, The Planets. This is being marked by a concert at the Barbican in London, by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which is being broadcast on BBC Radio Three. The original performance, prepared in a hurry for an invited audience at the Queen’s Hall, was something of a leaving present, as he was soon off to Salonika – where he stayed until June 1919 – to work as musical organiser and educator with the YMCA.

This is a good opportunity to remind you of the exhibition on Holst and his time in Salonika at the Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham, which is on until 15 December 2018: http://holstmuseum.org.uk/

There is little enough acknowledgement of the Salonika campaign, so do support this exhibition if you can.

Gustav Holst in Salonika : exhibition now on!

It is nearly 100 years since composer Gustav Holst went to Salonika to work as a musical organiser and educator with the YMCA. It is very appropriate, then, that his sojourn with the British Salonika Force should  be commemorated by the Holst Birthplace Museum with a special exhibition. Continue reading “Gustav Holst in Salonika : exhibition now on!”

Christmas 1917 : It’s panto time again!

In Christmas 1917 the indefatigable 85th Field Ambulance took to the stage again with their third and final pantomime of the campaign – Bluebeard. This is what 2nd Lt Frank Kenchington, RFA, had to say about it in his introduction to Music from Macedonia by Charles H B Jacques, published after the war.

Continue reading “Christmas 1917 : It’s panto time again!”

Salonika … and all that jazz!

Yesterday (26th February) was the centenary of the what is reckoned to be the first ever commercial jazz recording: Livery Stable Blues by the Original Dixieland Jass Band (they had to change ‘Jass’ to ‘Jazz’ because naughty children kept scratching the ‘J’ out on their posters!). Continue reading “Salonika … and all that jazz!”