Thursday, 24 April 2014

Pierrots entertain internees

596 Corporal Harold Le Plastrier Jackson, Prisoner of War

Harold Jackson, son of Charles and Marion and past pupil of Coburg State School, was a 24 year old civil servant when he enlisted in October 1916. His war service was brief. A member of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF), his ship, the SS Matunga, was captured by German raider en route to Rabaul in July 1917, effectively ending his acitve service.

Studio portrait of 596 Corporal (Cpl) Harold le Plastrier Jackson.
Image courtesy AWM. Image P09591.004

By early 1918, Harold Jackson found himself in a POW camp at G├╝strow, Germany. Here he remained until he was repatriated on 31 December 1918. While in the camp, he performed as a member of the the ‘Bing Boys’,  a Prisoner of War (POW) entertainment troupe. The following photos were taken on the occasion of the Second British Pierrot Entertainment at POW camp, Gustrow, Germany.

8 September 1918. Germany: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Gustrow. Theatrical billboard advertising the ‘Bing Boys’, a Prisoner of War (POW) entertainment troupe on the occasion of the Second British Pierrot Entertainment at POW camp, Gustrow, Germany. (Jackson is probably the man in the circle under the name of the group.)
Image courtesy AWM. Image P01981.034

September 1918. Informal group portrait of Prisoners of War (POW) artists of the ‘Gustrow Bing Boys’ entertainment troupe at a POW camp at Gustrow, Germany. ‘The Bing Boys Are Here’ was the first of a series of revues which played at the Alhambra Theatre, London during the last two years of the First World War and they are the origin of the name used by the POWs for their production. The performers are wearing pierrot costumes. Harold Jackson is in this group.
Image courtesy AWM. Image P03236.214


  1. Hard to believe they got up to that sort of stuff in POW camps. I guess the Germans were equally entertained by them and therefore allowed and assisted the troupe.
    Interesting uniform Harold is wearing. Looks more like a chauffeur - or a German!

  2. I agree about the entertainment. It certainly doesn't fit the image of POW camps we've got from WW2, does it? I think maybe the uniform that Harold is wearing is his POW uniform. That would explain why it looks nothing like an Aussie uniform.