Vesta Tilley

Discussion in 'Non-Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Vesta Tilley was very instrumental in recruitment .... many a soldier joined up after seeing her !! :D

    Vesta Tilley was born Matilda Alice Powles in Worcester, England on May 13, 1864. She was the second of 13 children. Her father was employed as a theatre manager and did some acting himself. She became a child actor around age 4 or 5, and was making L.5 per week before age 6. She was billed as Great Little Tilley.
    Vesta was known as a male impersonator and began appearing as such about age 10. By age 14 she was appearing at two different music halls each evening. During the Great War, Vesta sang recruiting songs and dressed in uniform. One of her well known songs is Jolly Good Luck to the Girl Who Loves a Soldier. Vesta's father continued as her manager until his death when she was 24.
    Two years later she married Walter de Frece, who became her manager and wrote songs for her. He became active in politics and served as a Member of Parliament. De Frece was also knighted for wartime service to the country. Vesta retired in 1920 when she was 56 and died in London in 1952.
    Sir Walter De Frece, the husband of Vesta Tilly, came of a long theatrical line. As the chairman of a syndicate known as the Variety Theatres Controlling Company, he was concerned with the direction of a number of halls in the south of England. One of his chief characteristics was a talent for song writing. Many of these songs are famous. The majority, including Jolly Good Luck to the Girl Who Loves a Soldier, were performed by his wife. He also wrote Dan Leno's celebrated Waiter Song. Like Sir Alfred Butt, his interests in later life diverged to Conservative politics which eventually occupied his entire time.

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