A selection of photographs relating to a Christmas production of Aladdin as performed by the staff of RNAS Culdrose.

Preparing for the performance of Christmas production of Aladdin as performed by the staff of RNAS Culdrose, 1957. MSS ref: DAU/201
The panto season is upon us again; CinderellaJack and the BeanstalkPeter Pan and of course Aladdin with his magic lantern and Genie. The selection for this festive season’s Item of the Month are photographs relating to the 1957 Christmas production of Aladdin as performed by the staff of RNAS Culdrose, and a handmade Christmas card, from the Director of Manning and his staff.

The photographs and card are from the Museum’s HMS Dauntless collection, which contains numerous black and white photographs for the period 1954 to 1958.

The first HMS Dauntless, of 1804, was a sloop of 18-guns, which after running aground in 1807 was forced to surrender to French forces. The current Dauntless is a type 45 destroyer launched in 2007.

The fifth HMS Dauntless was a Women’s Royal Naval Service training establishment near Reading in Berkshire, England. Such shore base establishments were referred to by the Royal Navy as 'stone frigates'. The Dauntless shore base was a WRNS 

Pantomime of Aladdin as performed by the staff of RNAS Culdrose, 1957. MSS ref: DAU/202.

establishment from 1947 until its closure in 1981.The three photographs are of Wrens plus cast members preparing, and in costume for their 1957 Christmas pantomime of Aladdin. The photographs, which were taken for publicity, are of staff from RNAS Culdrose, a Royal Naval Air Station near Helston in Cornwall. Culdrose, originally a wartime airfield, was intended as a Royal Navy Fighter School, but soon developed many further roles and today is a major helicopter base.

The WRNS, generally known as the Wrens, were formed in 1917, disbanded in 1919 and reinstated at the outbreak of World War II. WRNS undertook various duties as mechanics, stewards, electricians, cooks, despatch riders and radio operators. During Word War II their duties also included flying transport aircraft. Eventually, in 1994, the WRNS was incorporated into the regular Royal Navy.

Christmas card, from the Director of Manning and his staff, 1957. MSS ref: DAU/155.

Finally, the Caird Library staff wish you a Merry Christmas and best wishes for a new year of happiness and prosperity.

Colin, Archive and Library

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