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Where to Winter


JPAE
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A book in the School Library from 1975 titled Mud, Songs and Blighty, compiled by Colin Walsh, has period advertisements throughout, including one which states:

Where to Winter. Monte Carlo. 1916-1917. Casino open all the year round.

Afternoon and evening concerts, with select orchestra of over a hundred performers, under the direction of MM. Jehin, Ganne and Lauweryns.

Special Opera Season, organised by M. Gunsbourg in February, March and April. Ballets from La Scala, and Russian Academies. Tennis, golf , Alpine excursions, Attractions and Amusements. Renowned Thermal Establishment.

Every information from the "International Riveria Agency", 71 Regent Street, W.

Now, firstly I thought this must be a spoof, but it is alongside a contrasting article about slum children playing in the road, or "some teeming street market".

Was it really possible to holiday on the Riviera in the Winter of 1916?

Phil.

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Was it really possible to holiday on the Riviera in the Winter of 1916?

After a fashion, yes

Gen John Monash had some leave there early the next year (1917) and wrote home to his family in Australia

"I was disappointed in Monte Carlo; it is a city crowded with palatial hotels, nearly all taken over as hospitals and convalescent homes. But one gets a sense of over-crowding largely perhaps because the town is literally carved out of the steep hillside, the front of one building looking down into the back yard of the next. The Casino stands in the centre of the only bit of level ground in the town. Everything is, of course, now very drab - but making allowances I was disappointed. There is not that alluring splendour which I was lead to expect. The roulette rooms are absolutely forbidden to soldiers and sailors of all ranks of all nations, so that I did not get more than a peep inside, but the adjuncts seemed to be small and dark and dingy. Of course the gloom of war is over everything. The theatre is open only three days a week. So I booked a seat for a performance of The Barber of Seville on Sunday."

from 'War Letters of General Monash' edited by F. M. Cutlack, pub. Angus & Robertson Ltd., Sydney, 1934

regards

Michael

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Hi,

I know this is out of yr time frame but my uncle's service docos show he went to Nice (thats close enough isnt it?)

from 15-2-1919 and returned to unit in France on 4-3-1919. Maybe our well paid 6/- per day had something to do

with it.

David

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Michael and David,

Spot on with early 1917, Michael, for that would be the advertised Opera season. I assumed that the advert would have been in the British press, and this caused my initial surprise. However, Generals and other High ranks must have had access to transport denied the Hoi Polloi, and been able to circulate in an almost pre-war manner. I doubt if Monash would write home and say what a good time he enjoyed, and instead took a much more tactful approach.

David. Strictly speaking, the war was not over, so your uncle managed three deserved weeks at the seaside. Wonder how long six bob a day lasted in Nice?

Phil.

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However, Generals and other High ranks must have had access to transport denied the Hoi Polloi, and been able to circulate in an almost pre-war manner. I doubt if Monash would write home and say what a good time he enjoyed, and instead took a much more tactful approach.

Phil,

I'm not sure about the quality of the transport

Monash travelled by train from the Paris area; it took him 24 hours to get to Monte Carlo, with no restaurant car and no sleeper berth

Doesn't sound too comfortable to me; I did Newcastle upon Tyne to Innsbruck by train in 36 hours when I was in my early teens

I don't think that it can have been too easy for someone over fifty

But hell, it was bound to be better than the front wasn't it!

regards

Michael

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Was it really possible to holiday on the Riviera in the Winter of 1916?

Yes, why not? It was not occupied by a foreign power and not everyone was in the armed services.

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Actually Phil he was a Sergeant so what ever that was worth in pay per diem he enjoyed himself. As to where

he went he never told me (trade secret)

david

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David, british Sergeants could also earn 6 shillings a day, as could ASC motor drivers. Royal Marines drivers earned 10s 6d a day, so they could flash their cash!

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Yes but Australian Sergeants earned more than six bob a day, anyway Angus was a strict Presbyterian and

knowing him very well I doubt if he did any playing up - just sight seeing of course.

david

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In trying to define my surprise at the advertisement, we seem to have concentrated our thoughts on the military, whereas I had a different clientele in mind. Nievely, I pictured a middle-aged baronet and his lady wife, butler and entourage setting off 1st.Class on their annual jollies.

A recent read concerning Gotha raids on London had the wealthy lady of the house occasionly bolting to Wales for peace of mind, so this scenario with the minor aristocrats on tour just sprung to mind, but on an international stage!

It has me wondering if Nile cruises and the like were possible.

Phil.

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