Ways and By-Ways of a Singing Kiwi with the N.Z. Divisional Entertainers in France
Preface by — Major-General Sir Andrew H. Russell, — K.C.B., K.C.M.G., — G.O.C., New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Major-General Sir Andrew H. Russell,
G.O.C., New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
To all but a very few, if any, this book, with its account of the successful efforts of the Kiwis and other troupes to relieve the monotony of trench warfare in Flanders, will be very welcome. As events recede into the past, by a merciful dispensation of Providence, it is mostly the pleasant memories which survive. The author recalls to our mind the lighter side of war; the grimmer realities are either touched on lightly or passed over altogether. There are, we know, certain minds crabbed in their outlook, who fail to catch the humour associated with what one might almost call the indignities and absurdities of industrialised warfare as practised on the Western Front.
To those who, in the words of Shakespeare, can find sermons in stones, books in the running brooks, and good in everything, I can confidently recommend "Ways and By-ways of a Singing Kiwi," which will evoke pleasant recollections of their entertainment by Mr. McKinlay and other members of the Kiwis. Good fellows all— page 4 Dave Kenny stands out clearly in my own recollection as one whose cheerful face, as he turned to the audience with a broad smile, could dispel the nostalgia of a week in the front lines. His death was indeed a loss to the New Zealand Division and to the Kiwis. Some of the actors whose names occur in this short history have since risen to fame, and, I hope, to fortune, on a larger stage than that afforded by the Divisional. Theatre at Nieppe, Dickebusche, or elsewhere. But to none can they have given greater pleasure, or entertainment, than to those before whom they played within sound of the guns during those eventful years, 1915-1918.