Recollections of Vesta Tilley

TitleRecollections of Vesta Tilley
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1934
AuthorsDe Frece, Matilda Alice Powl
Number of Pages295

Matilda Alice Powles (1864–1952) was an English music hall performer who, at age 11, adopted the stage name Vesta Tilley and became one of the most famous male impersonators of her era. At the height of her popularity, during World War I, Powles ran military recruitment drives, performed in hospitals, and sold war bonds. She was nicknamed "England’s greatest recruiting sergeant" since young men were sometimes asked to join the army during her show. Over the course of a week in Hackney, she enlisted so many people they became known as "The Vesta Tilley Platoon". However, Tilley was also prepared to question the carnage of war. In "I'm Glad I've Got a Bit of a Blighty One", she sang about a soldier who was delighted to have been wounded in battle because it would allow him to go back to England.

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