B1506. HARRY LAUDER. A Minstrel in France. New York, Hearst’s, 1918. 338pp. Photos. A very moving account of the great comedian and singer's tour of the trenches of World War I after his son was killed in battle.
“Lauder’s understanding of life, its pathos and joys, endeared him to all. Gigli and others commended his singing voice and clarity. Lauder usually performed in Highland regalia (Kilt, Sporran, Tam o'shanter and twisted walking stick) and singing songs with a Scottish theme. When World War I broke out, Lauder was in Melbourne on one of his Australian tours. During the war, he led successful fundraising efforts for war charities, organised a tour of music halls in 1915 for recruitment purposes, and brought his piano to the front lines where he entertained the troops under enemy fire in France. Through his efforts in organising concerts and fundraising appeals he raised £1,000,000 to help servicemen return to health and civilian life, for which we was knighted in 1919. He suffered personal tragedy during the war, when his only son, John, a captain in the 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was killed in action on 28 December 1916 at Poiziers. Harry wrote the song ‘Keep Right on to the End of the Road’ in the wake of John's death and had a monument built for his son, who was buried in France, in the little Lauder cemetery in Glenbranter. Winston Churchill stated that Lauder, ‘...by his inspiring songs and valiant life, rendered measureless service to the Scottish race and to the British Empire’."
- Ned Ludd