Apr 21, 2008

The Anzac Coves

For Australians and New Zealanders the 25th of April is Anzac Day; an annual commemoration of Antipodean soldiers who died in war.

Anzac Coves were not always beach inlets where valiant soldiers fought, there was a group of men who called themselves the Anzac Coves and dressed in Pierrot costumes.

These soldiers took temporary leave to perform sentimental songs to the troops and then went back to the trenches. Some were killed between shows.

The concert party subsequently performed "Direct from the Firing Line" from the 29th of April 1918 at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith, London.

Identified above are: Rannall Carlisle (manager) of Sydney, Harold Shaw (comedian) of Sydney, F H Crossley (comedian and raconteur) of Melbourne, Hugh Gannon (ragtime and light comedian) of Sydney, Fred Reade (light comedian and dancer) of Christchurch, NZ, Harry Ross (tenor) of Melbourne, Ben J Davies (second tenor) of Sydney, Jack L Davey (baritone) of Horsham, VIC, Leslie H Williams (bass) of Adelaide, A Roberts (comedienne) of Sydney, Ralph Sawyer (female impersonator and dancer) of Sydney, J Gibb (monologuist) of Sydney, Frank J Donovan (pianist) of Melbourne and W J Smith (mechanic).


TMF said...

The W J Smith (mechanic) referred to as being one of the men in the top photo of the Anzac Coves was married to my great grand fathers niece. He was William Joseph Smith born in Warracknabeal, Victoria 1881 died in Warracknabeal 1943, he also served in the Boer War.

Unknown said...

In the first photograph of the “Anzac Coves”, I can identify the gentleman on the left end of the back row, in military Uniform. He is John Cecil Jessop (known as “Cec”). I understand he was treasurer for the troupe.

Cec had the rank of Private, His Service Number was 3822 and he served as a Stretcher Bearer with 8 Infantry Battalion - 10 to 12 Reinforcements.

He was my great Uncle, and I knew him during the last 20 years or so of his life. There are other extant photographs of him that also show his characteristic central part in his hair.

On return from the war he was quite traumatised by the experience. He became a prominent Councillor in Greensborough area of Victoria before being appointed to the Board of the MMBW. He became Chairman of the MMBW and over about 16 years oversaw its huge growth in size and responsibility.

Some of his story is given at: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/jessop-john-cecil-10626