Sunday, 12 October 2014

WW1 Forces Sweetheart - Gertie Gitana (1887 - 1957)

The name"Gertie Gitana" (though I hadn't a clue how to spell it!) has been going round in my head for the past few days so I had to look her up.  Mum used to talk about Gertie.

Gertie was born Gertrude Mary Astbury in Longport, Stoke-on-Trent.  Her stage name is believed to have been taken from the Spanish or Italian word for Gypsy - possibly because of Gertie's dark good looks.

She had an illustrious career as a musical hall star, drawing crowds and receiving in excess of £100 a week.  Gertie's signature tune was"Nellie Dean" and during WW1 she entertained the wounded in hospitals around the country.

Gertie, whose first professional performance was in Barrow-in-Furness in 1898, gave  her final performance at the Empress Theatre in Brixton in 1938.  She diedin 1957 and was buried in Welford Road cemetery in Wigston Magna, Leicestershire.

Source:  Wikipedia and Google Images

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