# 30087


[WORLD WAR ONE] Wattler’s Theatre. Some where in ….. Grand Christmas Pantomime “Robinson Crusoe”. Nightly 6 p.m. Produced by The Wattlers. Presented at popular prices. Officers: 2 francs. Other ranks: 50 cents. Programme 1d.

$300.00 AUD

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Hazebrouk : Imp. Stoven, [December, 1917]. Octavo bifolium (245 x 160  mm), lithograph printed on thickish green paper, centre pages with full cast for the evening’s entertainment, rear page with humorous notices such as ‘If you want anything done come to us [The Wattlers]. Our speciality is beershifting. We do this free providing you have got plenty of BEER’, and ‘Where do these wonderful working Wattlers live? Why some where in Telegraphic address “WATTLE”‘; old folds, some toning, but complete and well preserved.

We can find no information on the unofficial concert party known as The Wattlers, who were perhaps only formed for this one occasion, a Christmas 1917 panto presented to troops behind the front line near Hazebrouck on the Western Front. Were The Wattlers an Australian troupe – or at least, a troupe with an Australian element? Both the name, as well as the irreverent humour evident in this apparently unrecorded programme, would strongly suggest that they were. However, only further research into the identities of the performers based on the names printed on the programme would be able to confirm this. The names are as follows:

Dainty Attwood; Jennie Sutton; Gladys Sale; Sadie Eames; Bob Wright; Billy Murden; Tom Martin; Jimmy Culleen; Tom Aird; Davy Hunter; Bert Mann; Tiny Beadle; Vic Beecroft; Jimmy Mitson, Bert Town; Tich Marrett; Fred Milton; Aubrey Taylor.

Many Australian soldiers would, of course, meet their fate only a few months later in the Battle of Hazebrouck during the German Spring Offensive of April, 1918.