Great War Theatre

Researcher's Summary:

The Ten Jutland Boys entered into a contract to perform together for one year on 4 December 1916. On 12 March 1917 it was announced that the group was under the management of Dave Hyman. They performed together until 23 June 1916. However around this time eight of the 'boys' separated from the troupe and began performing as the 'Eight Jutland' Boys, under the management of Florence Smithson. It appears to be only at this point that the work was submitted for licence to the Lord Chamberlain. On 8 August a court case was brought by two of the original troupe, Paul Lang (or Long) and Gerald Warner against four of the others who were continuing to perform. This failed and on 25 October they brought an action against Florence Smithson, claiming she had enticed the other 'boys' away. Smithson claimed she was helping the stranded performers and judgement went in her favour. An appeal was heard on 18 March 1918 at the King's Bench Divisional Court and the original verdict was upheld.

Licensed On: 14 Jun 1917

License Number: 1006


British Library Reference: LCP1917/13

British Library Classmark: Add MS 66168 C


20 Nov 1916 ?, EustonOther
27 Nov 1916 ?, Balham and ChelseaOther
4 Dec 1916 ?, East HamOther
11 Dec 1916 Gaiety Theatre, HastingsOther
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'Ten Naval men disabled and invalided out of the Navy have styled themselves "The Jutland Boys," and they will appear in a great scena next week at the Gaiety in conjunction with Miss Victoria Monks. This special engagement has been made at the last moment, and is in addition to the artistes already announced' (Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 9 December 1916). '"The Jutland Boys" are simply "great". We are sure Miss Monks will pardon us for saying these"Boys" deserve to be "starred" ...Their entertainment is one of the best we have ever seen. There is a freshness about it which captivates the audience at the start and holds it all through. Anybody who can see these"Boys" and not be moved to admiration must be without a heart...The show by these "Boys" is a tonic which we advise readers to take, and as many doses as can be got in during the week' (Hastings and St Leonards Observer 16 December 1916)
18 Dec 1916 ?, Golders GreenOther
8 Jan 1917 Vint's Palace, Neath, GlamorganOther
15 Jan 1917 ?, LlanelliOther
29 Jan 1917 Royal Osborne Theatre, ManchesterOther
5 Feb 1917 Hippodrome, WiganOther
5 Mar 1917 Grand Theatre, HanleyOther
9 Mar 1917 Hanley War Hospital, HanleyOther
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A one-off performance to a large audience of wounded soldiers, whilst the troupe were performing at the Grand Theatre, Hanley.
12 Mar 1917 Empire, RochdaleOther
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Introduced by Dave Hyman. The Era on 14 March noted that the general management of the group had been taken over by Dave Hyman. The Rochdale Observer noted that the turn was 'exceptionally well received' (17 March 1917) An advertisement in the Era on 4 April quoted a letter from the manager of the Empire, Mr Albert Jones 'Your boys have done exceedingly well for me and I can only say that they have packed the Empire and compelled us to turn so many away EACH SHOW that they must have done the opposition a bit of good'
19 Mar 1917 ?, BoltonUnknown
26 Mar 1917 Tivoli Theatre, Barrow-in-FurnessOther
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'Proved one of the biggest successes ever played at the Tivoli, Barrow, enthusiastic receptions and packed houses at every performance' (advert in Era, 4 April 1917)
2 Apr 1917 Palace, BlackpoolOther
9 Apr 1917 Hippodrome, DarlingtonOther
23 Apr 1917 Surrey Theatre, LondonOther
7 May 1917 Empire Palace, MiddlesboroughOther
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Performed twice nightly and advertised as Signor Pepi's Grand Variety Company: 'Most expensive engagement of the Jutland Boys presenting 'Jack Ashire' in their vocal, dancing, fencing and boxing act' alongside George Hyam (comedian), Ward and Partner stealing a bike, Noblett (a French burlesque protean impersonator), Hayes and Doree (comedy entertainers), Ethel Castaldini (soprano), the Flying Reos (comedy trapeze act) the Famous 5 Gratos (a lightening tumbling, balancing and smart dancing act) (Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 7 May 1917). A later advertisement stated 'On Satur’ay night, May 12, at Empire, Middlebrough, the house was so densely packed in all parts that the management were obliged to obtain the assistance of the police in coping with the hundreds who could not obtain admittance' (Era, 16 May 1917)
10 Jun 1917 Alexandra Theatre, BirminghamOther
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Performed as part of a charity matinee on behalf of the Y.M.C.A Hut Fund, local Wounded Soldiers' Entertainment Fund and the Red Cross Fund. Organised by officials of the Wounded Soldiers' Entertainment Fund in conjunction with the Rocket Club, a Birmingham musical and social organisation. Other acts performing were Myra Hammond, Ernest Shand, Jack Hulbert, John Lunn, Wee Georgie Wood, Norris Stanley, and Ernest Maclee.
15 Jun 1917 Collins' Music Hall, Islington, LondonUnknown Licensed Performance
9 Jul 1917 Royalty Theatre, ChesterOther
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Performed twice nightly and presented, for the first time by Miss Florence Smithson and as 'The Eight Jutland Boys' Other acts on the bill included Katy Keith, Larry Lewis, Harry Taylor (Canadian Scot), Violet Stockelle, Andy Carr, a bioscope, andAlexander Prince. The Jutland boys 'got a tremendous reception from the large audience. As their entertainment does not pretend to be (on the admission of one of their number who acts as spokesman) a professional one, criticism is completely disarmed, and we are content to speak in appreciate terms of their efforts. They are indeed a jolly crew singing with a heartiness that is quite infectious. The well known 'One grass hopper jumped right over the other grass hopper's back', was the hit of the evening, the audience joining in lustily. One of the boys acts as the comedian Needless to say, his buffoonery is of the rough and tumble order, but is most acceptable to those in front. Mention must be made of the gentleman who plays with considerable artistic insight 'Somewhere a voice is calling' on a one stringed fiddle. His is easily the best item, also a Naval Pensioner 80 years of age, who sings with unmistakeable sincerity, and who by reason of his venerable appearance lends a distinct picturesqueness to the scene' (Cheshire Observer, 14 July 1917)
16 Jul 1917 Hippodrome, DerbyOther
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Presented by Florence Smithson. 'Apart from the fact that here we have in being an octette of brave heroes who have done their bit in one of the hottest naval battles of recent times, the Jutland boys will give an entertainment in songs, music, and fun that will be pleasing to all' (Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 13 July 1917)
30 Jul 1917 Hippodrome, CoventryOther
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Billed as 'seven wounded and discharged sailors, several of whom took part in the Jutland naval battle, and a naval veteran, now in his 80th year' H. G. Wilkins was advertised as having been on a raft of 14 hours, whilst 'Gus Keeling' was personally instrumental in the rescue of the Duke of Fife and his family on the wrecking of the 'Delhi' and another R. J. Westley, was an instructor to the first Naval Division which landed at Antwerp. (see Coventry Standard, 27 July 1917). The act had top billing as one of 10 entertainments.
13 Aug 1917 Queen's Theatre, LeedsOther
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The Eight Jutland Boys presented by Miss Florence Smithson.
20 Aug 1917 Empire Theatre, BarnsleyOther
10 Sep 1917 Hippodrome, DevonportOther
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Adverts now note in particular the appearance of Gus Keeling as comedian.
24 Sep 1917 Hippodrome, AstonOther
26 Nov 1917 Palace Theatre, AberdeenOther
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The Eight Jutland Boys
30 Nov 1917 Oldmill Military Hospital, AberdeenOther
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Performed as part of a hospital entertainment whilst at the Palace, Aberdeen.
3 Dec 1917 Palace Playhouse, DundeeOther
10 Dec 1917 Empire, CoatbridgeOther
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Including a Sunday concert in aid of the Town Council's fund for providing gold wristlet watches to local soldiers who have distinguished themselves on the battlefield.
17 Dec 1917 Empire Theatre, MotherwellOther
21 Jan 1918 Palace Theatre, AberdeenOther
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'the bright particular star being Gus Keeling, the popular naval comedian. This should prove an irresistible draw' (Aberdeen Evening Express, 19 January 1918)
25 Feb 1918 Olympia, GlasgowOther
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Twice nightly and advertised for the first time as 'assisted by Winnie and May'.
4 Mar 1918 Alhambra, StirlingOther
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'Featuring the popular Naval Comedian Gus Keeling' and assisted by Winnie and May.
11 Mar 1918 Alhambra, LeithOther
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'By the sanction of the Admiralty, they have been allowed to wear their uniform on tour. Their reception last night was exceedingly hearty at both houses. Apart from the personal interest they fully deserve their place as entertainers' (Scotsman, 12 March 1918)