MAD sparks memory of 
walrus moustached ‘Tommy’

The Better 'Ole

The Better 'Ole

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Meeching Amateur Dramatics, a Newhaven based theatre group, have secured funding from Newhaven Town Council and Lewes District Council to revive a West End production The Better ‘Ole for this First World War commemoration year.

Bruce Bairnsfather is remembered by military historians, but surprisingly by many people in Seaford and Newhaven, as well.

They can recall humorous drawings of a blob-nosed, walrus moustached ‘Tommy’, called ‘Old Bill’ from the Great War.

Captain Bruce Bairnsfather served in France with the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His cartoons were incredibly popular and published from 1915 for the duration of the war and after. Due to the popularity of ‘Old Bill’ a stage play followed. This took the West End by storm between 1916-18 and two films, one by Warner Brothers, followed.

Meeching Amateur Dramatics members feel honoured and privileged to bring Bairnsfather’s brilliant and humorous West End stage success, The Better ‘Ole, to The Fort at Newhaven.

The play, with its original songs, will be performed for three nights over the bank holiday weekend, August 21 to 23, at 7.45pm. Tickets cost £10 (concessions available) from Newhaven Fort. Call 01273 517622.

Tony Gibbs, chair of MAD, said: “I wish to thank Newhaven Town Council, Lewes District Council, Wave Leisure and The Bruce Bairnsfather Society for their enormous support in this exciting project – a play last seen in this area in October 1918”.