Parties onboard

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Article highlights

  • Entertainment at sea

  • Concert parties

  • 'Sods Opera'

  • ENSA


The Entertainments National Service Association, or ENSA, was an organisation set up in 1939 by Basil Dean to provide entertainment for British armed forces personnel during World War Two.

Beatrice Lilly was a comedic actress and was very popular in America, Canada and Britain
ENSA Party in Gibraltar 1925: Beatrice Lilly performs while the crew watch (RNM)

ENSA operated as part of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) . By 1944 there were 4000 artistes on the payroll. In one month ENSA put on 13 500 stage shows and 20 000 films.

ENSA in Gibraltar performing on 'A' Turret (RNM)
ENSA in Gibraltar performing on 'A' Turret (RNM)

ENSA was superseded by Combined Services Entertainment (CSE) which now operates as part of the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC).