Friday, 17 July 2015

Musical appeal

Whilst looking for something in the Durham Advertiser, my eye was inevitably drawn to something else.  In this case, it was an appeal by some men from the 8th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, for a melodeon (a type of accordion).
Letter requesting a melodeon, Durham Advertiser 23 July 1915
Letter requesting a melodeon, Durham Advertiser 23 July 1915

“An appeal from the 8th  Durhams
To the editor of the Durham County Advertiser.

Dear Sir.  Just a line, if you would kindly oblige us by asking the Durham people if they could spare us an old melodeon.  We are four old 8th Durhams, but attached to the Divisional Cyclist Company, 30th (Northumbrian) Division, British Expeditionary Force, France.  Our names and dwelling places are: Gunner Baty, of Esh Winning; Private H. Hall of Birtley; Private H. Sawyer, of Sacriston; Private T. Jolly, of Easington.  We have an hour or two to spare after coming from the trenches and we would like something to liven us up a bit and make it like being at home.  A few mouth organs would be very acceptable, as we have some good players in our company.  If any of your numerous readers send any of the above, will they kindly state name and address?  We have had it a bit rough since we came out, and we want to try and make things a bit different…” (Durham Advertiser, 23 July 1915)
A melodeon (Image by F. Lamiot, Creative Commons license, 
To us, it might seem like an odd thing to ask for but after having a quick search of the British Newspaper Archive, requests for melodeons were not uncommon. Music was one of the main forms of entertainment as it was cheap and could you create it yourself.

An appeal by Private J. Bolam of the Royal Engineers who was with some Durham Light Infantry and West Yorkshire men was extremely successful.
“Many thanks for inserting in your paper my appeal for a melodeon. I am pleased to say that it has been answered, not by one, but by four of your readers.  I got three melodeons and a concertina, and I gave three away to some of my comrades.”

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