SCS Chair, Alan Wakefield, has provided two contrasting accounts of Christmas 1915 from the BSF, showing the differences between being ‘up country’ and at the Base.
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.
Are you enjoying the hot weather? I don’t mind it hot as long as I can sit in the shade and not do anything! When it is particularly hot I often think about the BSF and the trials of putting up with hot weather – day after day – along with the dust and flies and having to dig or lug around ammunition boxes and stores or maybe a Lewis gun. Continue reading “What a scorcher!”
Browsing through back issues of The New Mosquito I came across an article about members of the Highland Mountain Brigade (TF), RGA, celebrating Hogmanay in 1918.
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! Continue reading ““Who Won The War, And Why!””
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.
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!”
Whilst the First World War Centenary theme of Friday night’s opening concert of the BBC Proms season isn’t in doubt, you may look in vain for any explicit acknowledgement of the Salonika connection. So you read it here first! Continue reading “First Night of the Proms : A Salonika Special!”
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.
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!”