Comedy postcards 1939-1945

Comedy postcards 1939-1945

These comedy postcards, Kobus Kwak and his Musical Cow play for the allied troops and Greetings from Liberated Holland, are part of a scrapbook collection by Jimmy and Lena Grant Anderson who toured as army entertainers with their little variety company during World War II for ENSA.

As soon as war was announced on 3 September 1939, the theatre producer Basil Dean set up ENSA and by 11 September, had taken over the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane as its headquarters. Dean had been a pioneer of troop entertainment during World War I. Even with his experience, it was a huge project to administer and from the outset there were problems. One theatre manager recalled arriving at an army base in north Yorkshire to find that no-one was expecting them. Only 150 men could be rustled up as an audience, and then they were interrupted mid-show by a furious brigadier. They had been sent to completely the wrong place and 2,000 troops had been waiting elsewhere for an hour and a half.