Guide to the Entertainment for the Troops Collection. Collection number: Souvenirs 4




The collection contains a diverse range of items such as invitations to afternoon teas, dances, dinners, parties and receptions, maps and guides to cities, accommodation and transport, and details of tours and excursions. There is material produced specifically for the troops as well as items of a more general nature, and the collection spans the period from the First World War through to Vietnam.

SERIES 1: Dinners, lunches and mess dinners, 1912-1991. Description: Invitations to a variety of meals and other entertainments, ranging from a moonlight excursion for the 29th Infantry (Australian Rifles) in 1912, to an invitation to dinner with a Brigade Commander (Unit not specified) in May 1991.; SERIES 2: Parties, 1914-1951. Description: Invitations to parties, cocktail parties, smoke socials, afternoon teas, dinners, a steamer trip, dances, and the theatre.; SERIES 3: Receptions and welcomes, 1918 - 1975. Description: Invitations to and programs for receptions and welcomes to troops in England, Australia, Italy and South Africa.; SERIES 4: Tourist activities for the troops, 1914-1945. Description: Guidebooks, maps, accommodation and tour information written to inform troops in Great Britain, France, Italy, Egypt, Palestine, South Africa, India, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.; SERIES 5: Commercial advertisements and publications, 1913-1972. Description: Advertisements for accommodation, restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions, tours, shops, products, auctions and services. While these and similar items would have been seen and used by troops, they were not specifically produced for troops, but rather for any prospective customer, though in some instances, establishments do advertise special rates or arrangements for troops.; SERIES 6: Admission tickets for entertainment, 1914-1945. Description: Tickets to enter tourist attractions, sporting events, concerts, theatres, cinemas, and lotteries.; SERIES 7: Entertainment aboard ship, 1939-1945. Description: Souvenirs of entertainment held on ships. Some items include Rolls of Officers and some are autographed.;

A key element in the success or failure of any military endeavour is the morale of the troops. During the First World War it was realised that an important factor in morale was having a wide range of recreations available for the soldier on rest (approximately three-fifths of a soldier's overseas service was spent in the rear of the lines). Faced with the grim reality of conflict, troops sought entertainment as a form of escape, in order to mentally survive and continue functioning effectively. The Second World War saw an even greater emphasis placed on recreation and entertainment as a result of this Great War experience. Many of the entertainments available to service personnel were intended to remind the troops of home and its normal civilian pursuits, such as dances, parties, dinners, clubs and visits to other establishments providing familiar food and drinks. In this way troops made a connection with the home front and were reminded of what they were fighting for. Sightseeing was also a popular form of entertainment and provided service personnel with the opportunity to visit places that they may otherwise have never been to. These activities included tours of the Holy Land, sightseeing in cities such as London, Paris, Rome and Cairo, and admission to the cricket at Lords or to the State Apartments at Windsor Castle. Like humans everywhere, troops did what they could to make their lives and environment endurable. As J.G. Fuller says, they had """"""""learned from long experience that it was better to concentrate on pleasures than hardships, that the best way to render tolerable the worst conditions was to make a joke of them, that moments of escape ...should be exploited to the full.

Contact Senior Curator, Published & Digitised Collections, Australian War Memorial.

Open - Contact Senior Curator, Published & Digitised Collections, Australian War Memorial.

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Anzac Day souvenirs; Books; Cinema; Concert parties; Concerts; Entertainers; Entertainment; Female impersonators; First World War; Greeting cards; Korea; Leaflets; Menus; Music; Official Records; Photographs; Postcards; Private Records; Second World War; Serials; Theatre; Troopship serials; Variety shows; Vietnam



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2012-05-30 23:40