Colonial film archive, NO.1 EAST AFRICAN ENTERTAINMENT UNIT

See http://colonialfilm.org.uk/node/2756 for source and film. ‘Close-up of poster advertising a show called ‘The Boys’ decorated with the badges of 2nd Division (crossed keys) and 11th East African Division (a rhinocerous’ head) and 14th Army (sword and shield). An African band performing with a British conductor Close-ups of various musicians including a double bassist and a guitarist playing his instrument across his lap. The musicians wear their divisional patch (the rhino) on their shirts. Wide shot showing the audience and the band. Applause. A comedy sketch in which an African soldier, made to look fat and ridiculous with a cushion under his shirt, makes several very enthusiastic attempts to halt a stranger. Audience reactions. The officer in charge of the unit, Captain Jeff Seabrook of Finchley, north London, plays ‘Sweet Sue’ on a harmonium with close-up. Sergeant House, usually the unit’s stage manager and electrician, performs as a ‘lightning cartoonist’. He draws a number of lines on a board which quickly turn into an image of Winston Churchill. Close-up of an ‘astonished’ African soldier applauding and wearing a toothy grin. Banjo and accordion players accompany a tap dancing performance by an African soldier. Captain Seabrook gives an enthusiastic accompaniment on maracas. A female impersonator dances to ‘Minnie from Trinidad’. Audience applauding.NotesThe dopesheet states that this unit had given 350 performances in one year and had also toured British and Indian divisions, travelling some 60,500 miles across Ceylon (Sri Lanka), India and Burma.The 11th East African Division was formed in February 1943 and comprised troops from Kenya, Uganda, Nyasaland (now part of Malawi), Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Rhodesia. The Division’s combat debut was in August 1944, relieving the 23rd Indian Division.’

Loading...