Trench Raiders WW2 Concert 2017
Saturday November 18th 2017
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The Trench Raiders Concert Party is a group of entertainers originally conceived in 2013 by Kenneth Wright (Past President and War Historian) and also including a further two Past Presidents : Paul Thatcher and John Harris (guitars, ukulele, vocals,) and Alan Roden (Hon. Secretary) on accordion - seen here with the President.
Song sheets are organised by Annabelle (Kenneth's wife) who also does a magnificent job of decorating the venues with banners and all kind of artefacts.
In recent years they have helped to raise £thousands for Forces Charities with their Word War 1 program and were recently invited by Hagley Rotary Club to devise a similar program based on World 2. After much hard work, they developed the World War 2 variant - which helped to raise some £1600 for Charities at Hagley Community Centre to over 130 people on November 10th and was most favourably received.
The same concert was performed at the Club a week later on Saturday November 18th to some 47 members and guests and that in turn raised £329 net for Forces Charities - many thanks to all who came.
Anyone interested in raising money for Forces Charities - contact us via their web page: www.trenchraiders.org
The Concert Party for the World War 2 event emulates the type of entertainment one would have expected from ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) in World War 2. Kenneth, Paul and John wore the type of ENSA "uniform" that would have been appropriate and Alan portrays the "French busker" brought along to help the cause.
Kenneth kicked off as a very passable "Renee" from 'Allo 'Allo, introducing the concert.
Alan and John played the well-known signature theme, giving Kenneth and Paul chance to change for the next phase which was a medley of Flanagan and Allen songs.
The concert continued in quick succession with Kenneth telling the story of the War, attired to look like "Winston Churchill", referencing his many famous speeches and expressions.
The singing resumed with old favourites from Arthur Askey , Gracie Fields , Anne Shelton, and Vera Lyn ranging from "Kiss me goodnight sergeant major" to "White Cliffs of Dover" all interspersed with stories of the War.
A typical London medley was followed by a selection of George Formby songs - including a Ukelele solo from Paul on "Cleaning windows".
We were then treated to one of Tim's buffets and a chance for everyone to chat and be sociable for a while.
The second "half" kicked off with a rousing chorus of "Bless 'em all" and then attention was turned to the contribution from the air force with "Coming in on a wing and a prayer" followed by the "Dam Busters March" with full audience flying actions!
Brief consideration was given to the American input with "Chattanooga Choo Choo" .
No WW2 evening would be complete without the husky voice of Marlene Dietrich and all sang to the strains of "Lili Marlene".
The "jungle" war was referenced by singing "Whispering Grass" from "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" with Kenneth doing Windsor Davies's comedy words and John the solo as performed by the wonderful Don Estelle.
More audience involvement was invited, with Kenneth requesting audience participation of the motions in "Under the spreading Chestnut Tree" followed by a rousing chorus of "There'll always be an England".
The concert concluded with a burst of medley tunes, finishing off with the eternal "We'll meet again".
The audience were reluctant to go home so the Trench Raiders gave a final encore of Roll out the barrel, Long way to Tipperary, Pack up your troubles....and Knees up Mother Brown".
The President thanked the Trench Raiders for the wonderful evening's entertainment and also all of those who made it possible - the audience and Tim and Tracey and their catering and preparations.