Extract from the Changi Newspapers

”THE BEACHCOMBERS”. Congratulations to the Empress of Asia lads on their
excellent concert on Saturday night — a refreshing change from the usual
Changi fare. "Bones" Kirby, who directed and produced the show, deserves
credit for a well-staged for a well-staged and unaffected concert with con-
tinuity aid variety that Kept the large crowd interested from the first
"squeak" into the "mike." of the C.B.C.. The fun was chiefly in his capable
hands, assisted admirably by Dick Lee, "The Changi Twerp,” and Bill Gick, who
clowend his way through the whole show, culminating in his excellent "sobbing
song.” Albert Halliewell, (Mr. Chips,) and Dick Rowlands in "straight" songs
received a good hand and Bob Storer introduced variety with his dancing.

Lloyd and Glockworthy staged a burlesqie boxing bout in which "Tarzan"
wrested the honours from "Gorilla." Stan Crowley put over some neat humour
and comic songs and Madame Paleale, (Albert Paley, whose birthday that night
was honoured by a presentation bouquet,) enhanced "her" reputation. Kick
Carter brought unusual touches to his job as "compere” and the harmony trio,
(Dick Lee, Billy Wright, and Bob Storer,) gave some pleasant numbers with
ukulele and madnolin, leading the audience to a community singing finale.

The lads expressed their thanks to Bbbby Eisinger, (who gave some of his de-
lightful solo numbers at the piano as well as accompanying the ensembles,)
Sandy Ross for his work as accompanist to the soloists, and to W. McDermott
for his assistance with the stage decorations which, by the way, struck an
all-time "high” for Changi. A lot of the credit for t he costumes goes to
Tommy Diamond. The concert will be repeated in D Yard tonight.

In our report of the concert given to Sir Shenton Thomas and
the other departing internees last week, we omitted to mention that Bobby
Eisinger was a solo performer as well as a member of the band.

BEACHCOMBERS; The South West corner of the main yard is rapidly being transform-
ed into the small rural railway station of Koonville located, we guess, not many
miles from the lower Mississippi. Here a train will draw up bearing a troupe of
nigger minstrels who will alight to give a performance for the benefit of the
local populace. This is the idea behind the Beachcombers’ show next Friday and
Saturday night. The show is produced by Fred (Bones) Kirby aid the performers
are drawn from the personnel of the "Empress of Asia". Mr. McDermott, as the
stage manager, is responsible for the admirable setting and scenery. The Camp
will owe a debt of gratitude to the originality of Mr. McDermott and the willing
work of the Asia boys, for much of the work being done on the stage will be of
permanent value and will provide Changi with its first real concert stage

The BEACHCOMBERS”. Song and dance, patter and burlesque characterised
the snappy show by -The Beachcombers” on Saturday evening, making it a
most enjoyable variety performance Revived by special request, there were
a few changes in the programme given last year when the ”Empress of Asia”
boys first presented this show, and the introduction of a "female com-
pere, Phil Tankard , nearly brought down the house, so succinct and orig-
inal were '‘her” introductions. The moving spirit of "Bones” Kirby, as pro-
ducer, was, apparent throughout whether he was on the stage or not, and
the opportunity taken for the re-appearance of Bobby Eisinger and Bill
Morton in their two-piano selections was cause for much satisfaction to
the audience. Madame Paleale” made a welcome re-appearance and concert-
goers hope to hear her
: again xausnx before long, The company were assisted
by Jock Carr and T Edwards behind the scenes, and Bobby Eisinger and
"Sandy‘ Ross gave willing help with the accompaniments, The reception acc-
orded this repeat show after a long interval seems to indicate that revi-
vals of some of the other excellent shows and turns of the early days of
the Changi Theatre could be considered with profit and enjoyment to the
whole Camp.



Dear Mother,

All the mail has been delivered and the Camp is sympathising
with those men who have not received any news of their wives and families
for nearly fifteen months. Most of us are envying Dick Lee, one of the
lads from the "Empress of Asia," — he ran a confectionery in Bristol be-
fore he joined the merchant service during the European war — who received:
no less than fourteen letters, and one or two of the Salvation Army men
who got even more. Some of us have had bad news; others, as I told you in
an earlier letter, have smiled at the compliments flung at them for "staying
behind" and at the instructions given for safe-guarding the interests of
their correspondents in Malaya; We have heard, too, of people who left the
island on the night of the capitulation and even a day or two afterwards
who succeeded in getting through to India or Australia. Some of them will
have amazing tales of adventure to tell; and, of course, there are plenty
in Changi who have also had their share of adventure. Our Jewish friends
in Camp have christened their home "Noah's Ark" and are beginning to settle
down. Although booked at short notice, the orchestral concert on Saturday
turned out to be one of the best musical entertainments we have yet had
in spite of the lack of opportunity for rehearsal. The baton of Mr. C. W.
Crofts never fails to bring out all that is best in the instrumentalists
technique. One interesting feature was the appearance of Jim Merrifield as
a saxophonist instead of a piano-accordeonist. Jim only commenced playing
the saxophone since coming into Camp and that he has achieved sufficient
mastery of the instrument to take it over in the orchestral arrangements
constitutes an that effort in concentration the whole Camp applauds.

        Love from your affectionate son




Back to the Merchant Navy Page

Back to Addendum Page