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Remembered Today:

Capt. Noel Chavasse VC & Bar, MC


Blueblood
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Just to wish all those involved with the play that commemorates the life of Capt. Noel Chavasse RAMC Medical Officer of the Liverpool Scottish, the best of luck for tonight's performance at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and the performances to held on Friday & Saturday nights.

I think that Richard Gardner (Paul) the producer is an occassional visitor to this forum so good luck to him and the actors.

Blueblood (Phil) :D

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In reply to my own topic.

I must commend all those that took part in the 'Chavasse Play' for an excellent performance and thank you all for doing the subject a great service.

I hope that the play can reach other parts of Britain in the future as I think everyone needs to know something of Capt. Chavasse.

Thanks to Alan Bower (writer) and Richard Gardiner (producer) Capt. Chavasse now may be able to find some notice as a true hero, who must be honoured with the statue that is hoped to be built in Liverpool.

I highly recommend the play to anyone who gets a chance to see it and once again thank you to all those who took part.

Yours Aye

Blueblood (Phil)

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Thanks for posting, Phil - hopefully it can get more of a national exposure. Can you tell us any more about the play? Are there any plans for a touring production?

Alan

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Alan,

Unfortunately I don't know if there will be a touring production, Richard Gardiner would know that better than I, I think there is a thread somewhere on the forum about the play which I didn't spot before I initiated this topic and if you spot it he may be able help or of course he may spot this thread and reply to you.

If I catch up with him I will ask of any plans. I hope it does go on tour, Oxford would be an obvious choice as that is where Chavasse was born but that of course is up to Richard.

As for the play itself it took us through the various stages of the war from pre war to 1917 when Chavasse was killed and explained this very well using a narrator who sometimes interacted with the cast and the play move at a good pace and at the end very moving even though most of us knew how it would end.

The best comment about the play was from a young american student who sat in front of me who at the end turned round with tears in her eyes and said 'I now know more about WW1 than I have ever done." (Alan the writer and Richard the producer will be saying 'Job done' after that comment.)

I'm sorry not to be able to give a Times Arts critic type of report, if Ian Riley spots this thread he may be able to explain things better, but I hope you get a chance to see it and anyone who knows of Chavasse will remember that young american students words and also say 'Job done'.

Blueblood (Phil)

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Blueblood seems to have cast me as critic; I doubt that I can do the same sort of job as my cousin Joe, who is the real thing for the Liverpool Echo but ...

A note to Radio Merseyside

I saw the first performance last night. The play was excellent with a very well-balanced script that showed soldiers' humour and avoided sentimentality and bathos but reflected the quiet and total dedication of Chavasse and his stretcher bearers as men saving lives in a way that made the fundamental heroism seem unconscious but implicit. The Cathedral itself, very much the product of Chavasse's father, gave as good a performance as the cast. The actors obviously identified strongly with their rôles and fully deserved the standing ovation they got. I should say that I am not totally disinterested here as the Liverpool Scottish Regimental Museum hosted the first reading of Alan Bower's new script but it has been a privilege to give a little assistance to him and Richard Gardiner, the director, when the result has been this powerful play which is a credit to everyone at Dingle Community Theatre, a group that obviously makes a major and popular contribution to the culture of the city. They deserve every success for the next two nights.

A note to the Director and the Author (who worked really hard on the research but we agreed that this was not to be a spot-on factual account - some incidents have been constructed to make a point)

I thought that the script was intelligent, well-researched and the direction had obviously been done with considerable discipline. I thought you solved the [stage] problem of Chavasse's death cleverly and very poignantly. The Kaiser concert sketch was brilliant; I have been to Liverpool Scottish smoker concerts in the days when the home-grown talent was descended from a pre-telly age and the scene had the same feel. It gave a true sense of the triumph of comradeship over adversity and I could have imagined I was in some miserable French or Belgian barn clutching my weak beer, Woodbine in hand, but ... with my mates. The subsequent transition and change of mood towards the interval was electric.

Inevitably there are a few things that will upset the purist (e.g. saluting without head-dress). One (otherwise very impressed) veteran mentioned that he thought the uniforms could do with a bit of a pressing; I didn't extend the discussion to the availablity of steam irons in the Wieltje Dressing Station on 31 July 1917.

I am not sure there are plans to tour - Dingle Community Theatre

http://www.dinglecommunitytheatre.co.uk/

However, it would be a shame if it were to sink without trace but it is not for me to make work for people who are busy enough with everyday life.

Practical hint - if anyone is going, dress 'warm'. I was in jacket and sweater and did not freeze but the Cathedral, not unsurpsingly, becomes quite chilly towards 9:30.

Now back to the Supreme War Council and the Prosecution of the War (I'm not serious - it's a mild joke inspired by a document in front of me)

Ian

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I should add before it become a major topic of discussion as to whether Noel Chavasse served with the 1/5th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment as implied on the ticket (accidentally), he did not (although I am sure he would have felt privileged to do so).

The ticket for the play shows two VCs, the Liverpool Scottish bonnet badge (P1908 version), a 55th Divisional cloth badge (with 5 leaves on each side of the rose, for the purist, for 55 I am told although I gather later versions had seven - I can't find Peter Brydon's excellent book just at the moment) and the 'Legs Eleven' distinguishing badge for the Liverpool Scottish, two vertical black stripes worn at the back of the collar. The Legs Eleven sign has come from Coop's Story of the 55th Division and I think they have accidentally scanned in the caption for the badge below (1/5th Loyal N Lancs, another battalion of 166 Brigade). Their distinguishing badge was a black square.

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I have searched the(Liverpool) Daily Post which is the sister sheet to the Echo, and found no review of the play which seems a great pity. I am telling them so in the next thing I type.

Daggers

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Ian,

Thanks for the mention,the 7 leaf pattern of the 55th (West Lancs ) Div. was the first pattern changing later to the 5 leaves on each side of the stem representing 55.

Although I think that Noel Godfrey is well known amongst those with an interest in WW1 any means of bringing further attention to him and to the history ( and terrible conditions and losses ) of WW1 is to be applauded.

Peter

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Saw the final performance last night. An excellent, well researched play which deserves far wider exposure. I can't imagine anyone not having a lump in their throat nor a tear in their eye during the second half.

Well done to the Dingle Community Theatre, the writer Alan Bower, and producer Richard (Paul?) Gardiner.

Thanks for organising the tickets for my Paul sorry we didn't get to meet. A wonderful end to a great day in Liverpool having seen the mighty toffees win 7-1 in the afternoon

Peter

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Saw the final performance last night. An excellent, well researched play which deserves far wider exposure. I can't imagine anyone not having a lump in their throat nor a tear in their eye during the second half.

Well done to the Dingle Community Theatre, the writer Alan Bower, and producer Richard (Paul?) Gardiner.

Thanks for organising the tickets for my Paul sorry we didn't get to meet. A wonderful end to a great day in Liverpool having seen the mighty toffees win 7-1 in the afternoon

Peter

Peter,

Did they have a good house on Saturday night?

After the 7-1 win I don't think we will hear from Blueblood (who initiated the thread) for weeks as he runs round Goodison Park cheering and waving.

'Richard' is the stage name, I understand. There was already a 'Paul'. Alan took a lot of trouble with the research with us www.liverpoolscottish.org.uk and Richard Gardiner is very sure hand anyway http://www.tommyatkins1418.co.uk/content.p...ac=richard.html

Mods: If that constitutes advertising I will delete but I am just putting the play's director into context.

Ian

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  • 2 weeks later...

Andy

Thanks for the photograph and what a good website you have. Are any of the chaps you are researching Liverpool Scots?

Blueblood (Phil)

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To all,

Thank you for your kind comments on the Chavasse Play and an apology for not getting back sooner, I went straight from the Chavasse project to directing “Jack and the Beanstalk” in Preston, I am sure Noel would find something amusing to say about that.

I met with Alan, the writer, today and we have both been bowled over by the response to the show, our main aim was always to pay tribute to the men who served and to honour Chavasse himself, looking at some of the comments both ourselves and the cast have managed to achieve our aims.

If the play is taken up I shall keep the Forum informed.

Well guessed on the name game, my name is indeed Paul but on my Equity card its Richard (we are one and the same).

Thanks again,

Paul.

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