Tag Archives: Concert

Arthur Linfoot regularly records his attendance at concert parties throughout his service in France. These appear to have been a mixture of planned concert parties and impromptu events.

8 September 1918; Sunday

Arrived at Paris at about 6 o’clock1. Taken by motors to A P M place2 where we were lectured and afterwards taken to the Hotel Bleriot†. Cleaned up and had breakfast, then walked round the town. After dinner3 got room and lay down for a while. Went to Army and Navy Club at night and heard fine concert by Miss Lena Ashwell’s4 party.

Arrived at Paris.

  1. ALL arrived at 6:00am, having travelled all night. 

  2. “APM” probably means “Assistant Provost Marshall“, essentially the local head of the military police. “Place” probably means the APM’s HQ. This possibly explains the lecture – servicemen on leave in Paris were put on notice to behave themselves? 

  3. “Dinner” means “lunch”, as usual. 

  4. Lena Ashwell: previously transcribed as ‘O’Dell’, without identification, but ‘Ashwell’ appears probable; Lena Margaret Ashwell 1872-1957; OBE 1917; born Lena Margaret Pocock (Ashwell was her adopted stage name), suffragist, trained at Royal College of Music, London; with War Office resistance but patronage from Princess Helena Victoria, she organised numerous drama and good-quality music parties for advanced locations in France from 1915 (said to have been the first to do this on a large scale: 25 parties by 1918). Is it verifiable that one of her parties performed at the Army & Navy Club in Paris on 8 September 1918? 

11 July 1918; Thursday

Up at 4.30 am. Paraded at 6 o’clock. Got in the buses at the top of the hill and rode to Auchel1, a mining town near Lillers etcetera. Rotten billet in the top of a house, next to the roof. Took out a pan-tile to make light. Went to a concert at night given by a concert party, Camouflage, and it was splendid. The best I have seen in France. They sent an invitation for 100 of us and we were marched up. Turned in and slept well.

  1. Auchel (B): About 30km SE of Ouve-Wirquin (A) and 8km S. of Lillers; Michelin square G4. 

20 March 1918; Wednesday

Up about 6.30. on duty at 7 o’clock. Kept pretty busy all morning. Didn’t do much in afternoon. DMS 1 round and made drastic change in the ward. Concert of Number Nines2 at night. Pretty good considering the †compère and merriment†1 vile3. Had short walk afterwards. Little chat with John Dory and A B Watt and Watt lent me a paper to read an article on the “Chance of peace”

  1. “DMS”: Director of Medical Services 

  2. The Number Nines (assuming as always that the transcription is correct) were presumably a Forces concert party (and if so, presumably based on some medical unit) – ALL had previously mentioned the Number 9s [sic] on 15 August 1917

  3. The transcription is uncertain: “compère” assumes a nasalised “o”, ie no written “m”; ‘merriment’ is the only word which seems to fit the second outline, but is dubious; the sense appears to be that the environment for the concert was difficult.