For The Boys Beyond The Blue

Anthony Green


Compared to the better known Second World War entertainment organisations , like ENSA, Stars in Battledress and the RAF Gang Shows, the Bengal Entertainment Services Association (BESA) was small and short lived. Yet it was in the right place at the right time and became a key component in General Bill Slim's plans to rescue Burma Corps' morale following the retreats of 1941-1942. Its contribution to forces welfare was equally important in 1943-1944 after the creation of the 14th Army, destined, under Slim, first to stand firm then throw back the Japanese foe. Necessity dictated that BESA used available personnel (civilian and Services) and self-generated resources to entertain British, Indian and Allied troops based across a vast area of Eastern India.

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