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my latest find... WW2 "the Joly rogers" ALI BABA programme

Article about: Hi everyone, just wanted to share my latest acquisition: ALI BABA programme A pantomime takes place, somewhere in italy, whilst all these men were serving with army artillery regiments durin

  1. #1

    Default my latest find... WW2 "the Joly rogers" ALI BABA programme

    Hi everyone, just wanted to share my latest acquisition:

    ALI BABA programme

    A pantomime takes place, somewhere in italy, whilst all these men were serving with army artillery regiments during ww2. They had been part of the African campaign and the following Italian campaign, so had certainly seen some action.

    Its amazing to me, to think that during ww2 , for "Ali baba" they could find an orchestra, corps de ballet, and a full cast of twenty five men, (reminds me a little of "It 'aint Half hot mum!")

    A few interesting little facts (well, they're interesting to me anyway)
    Douglas Kidgell, Kenneth carter and harry Edington who appear in the pantomime in various guises, and it seems were responsible for most of it, were all army pals of the brilliant comedian Spike Milligan, and feature to some extent in his books on army life. They all also later played in a band with Spike.

    Harry Edgington, was Spikes best friend for life. He was the inspiration behind the Goon shows most famous song which originated when Harry Secombe incorrectly refered to Milligan's friend as Edgerton. Spike corrected him: "its Edgington, Edgington" and enphasised it by saying "YINGTON YINGTON" Secombe ended the sentence with a "tiddle-i-po" and so the nonsense Goons song "ying tong ying tong tiddle-i-po" was born!

    It is a little disappointment that Spike doesnt appear in the programme, but it may be that this was the time when he had been wounded in action and was in hospital.

    Anyway sorry to bore everyone with me bimble-ing on, i just love these little bits of history!
    Ed

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    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...."
    - Major-General John Sedgwick, 9 may 1864.
    Killed by a sniper during the battle of Spotsylvania..

  2. #2

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    Good stuff!

    Regarding Milligan's being wounded in action and his friendship with Harry Secombe reminds me of a correspondence he had with a disgruntled fan, Stephen Gard, a school teacher, who wrote to Spike to complain about the autobiography 'MONTY: His Part in my Victory' Vol.III, which prompted the following letter:


    28th February, 1977

    Dear Stephen,

    Questions, questions, questions. If you are disappointed in my book ‘MONTY’, so am I. I must be more disappointed than you because I spent a year collecting material for it, and it was a choice of having it made into a suit or a book.

    There are lots of one liners in the book, but then when the German Army are throwing bloody great lumps of hot iron at you, one only has time for one liners. In fact, the book should really consist of the following:

    “Oh f***”

    “Look out”

    “Christ here’s another”

    “Where did that fall?”

    “My lorry’s on fire”

    “Oh Christ, the cook is dead”

    You realise a book just consisting of those would just be the end, so my one liners are extensions of these brevities.

    Then you are worried because as yet I have not mentioned my meeting with Secombe and later Sellers. Well by the end of the Monty book I had as yet not met either Secombe or Sellers. I met Secombe in Italy, which will be in vol 4, and I am arranging to meet Peter Sellers on page 78 of vol 5 in London. I’m sorry I can’t put back the clock to meet Secombe in 1941, to alleviate your disappointment — hope springs anew with the information I have given you.

    Another thing that bothers you is “cowardice in the face of the enemy”. Well, the point is I suffered from cowardice in the face of the enemy throughout the war — in the face of the enemy, also in the legs, the elbows, and the wrists; in fact, after two years in the front line a mortar bomb exploded by my head (or was it my head exploded by a mortar bomb), and it so frightened me, I put on a tremendous act of stammering, stuttering, and shivering. This mixed with cries of “mother” and a free flow of dysentery enabled me to be taken out of the line and down-graded to B2. But for that brilliant performance, this letter would be coming to you from a grave in Italy.

    Any more questions from you and our friendship is at an end.

    Sincerely,

    Spike Milligan.

    I've quoted this from 'The Spike Milligan Letters' of which I have a well thumbed copy.

    Regards, Ned.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

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    What a brilliant letter, Spike Milligan was a very funny man. Did they ever bury him in a washing machine like he requested?

  4. #4

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    Quote by sandgroper View Post
    What a brilliant letter, Spike Milligan was a very funny man. Did they ever bury him in a washing machine like he requested?
    Hi Dave,

    He was buried underneath a tombstone that said "I told them I was ill" (written in Gaelic, as the church authorities weren't too keen on it being in English) in Sussex. He said on learning of Secombe's death in 2001, "I'm glad he died before me, because I didn't want him to sing at my funeral....." Harry got the last laugh though, a recording of him singing "Cwm Rhondda" being played at Spike's funeral less than 12 months later.

    He also was quoted as once saying, "I spent many years laughing at Harry Secombe's singing until somebody told me that it wasn't a joke.”

    Good old Spike.
    Last edited by big ned; 06-26-2014 at 04:18 PM.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  5. #5

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    [QUOTE=big ned;
    He also was quoted as once saying, "I spent many years laughing at Harry Secombe's singing until somebody told me that it wasn't a joke.”

    Good old Spike.[/QUOTE]


    Ha Ha I'd have expected nothing less of him! I heard a funny story about how he actually met Harry Secombe but I don't know how dinkum it is, it went that somewhere in Italy Milligan had climbed out of a tank for a smoke or something and the tank rolled down a hill and crashed into the road below narrowly missing a vehicle carrying Secombe. The story I heard was that he ran down the hill, went up to Secombe and said "Any of you chaps seen a tank around here?" Secombe answered, "Not sure, what colour is it?" As I said, I don't know how true it is but It's a good story and sounds like something they'd have said to each other.

  6. #6

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    Quote by sandgroper View Post
    Ha Ha I'd have expected nothing less of him! I heard a funny story about how he actually met Harry Secombe but I don't know how dinkum it is, it went that somewhere in Italy Milligan had climbed out of a tank for a smoke or something and the tank rolled down a hill and crashed into the road below narrowly missing a vehicle carrying Secombe. The story I heard was that he ran down the hill, went up to Secombe and said "Any of you chaps seen a tank around here?" Secombe answered, "Not sure, what colour is it?" As I said, I don't know how true it is but It's a good story and sounds like something they'd have said to each other.
    Apparently the tale is a bit different, but along the same sort of lines.

    "Then one morning his platoon was dug in with 7.2 howitzers as the Africa campaign reached its height. Suddenly a gun came spinning by after it was fired, missing him by a few feet.

    A face appeared over the parapet. It was Spike Milligan who said: "Has anyone seen a gun?" "What colour?" Harry replied. It was the first time they met. Later they got together for a concert party."

    Still, another fine story regarding the Goons.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for pointing out the letters book Ned, I havent read that one.....
    in fact i have literally just ordered it of the Fleebay due to your post!

    Such a genius, and soo funny..... (I mean Spike by the way, not you Ned!)
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...."
    - Major-General John Sedgwick, 9 may 1864.
    Killed by a sniper during the battle of Spotsylvania..

  8. #8

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    I love that programm Ed

    I would really like to see more of this wartime 'concert party' ephemera

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  9. #9

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    Quote by Woolgar View Post
    I love that programm Ed

    I would really like to see more of this wartime 'concert party' ephemera

    Nick
    many thanks, yes i love these little bits, i dont know if much of this type of stuff would have survived?
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...."
    - Major-General John Sedgwick, 9 may 1864.
    Killed by a sniper during the battle of Spotsylvania..

  10. #10
    kc1
    kc1 is offline
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    Default

    Christ is it really 12 years since he died. Would Spike have been what he was if it wasnt for his wartime experiences, did the shell shock make him what he was or was he always demented?

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