musical instrument, accordion

Catalogue number
  • EPH 5783
Display status
IWM North
Materials
  • leather
  • metal
  • plastic
  • textile
Dimensions
  • general: Height 538 mm
  • general: Width 450 mm
  • general: Depth 208 mm
Alternative Names
  • FULL NAME: musical instrument, accordion
  • SIMPLE NAME: CIV
Creator
Object Type
musical instrument
Category
souvenirs and ephemera
Label

Accordion associated with the Second World War service of Sapper Alexander Graham King, Royal Engineers, 127 Bomb Disposal Company. Most notably this instrument was played by him on the beach at Dunkirk during the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from France in 1940. Though offered a place in the first wave of boats returning to England he refused to go, preferring instead to stand, in trilby hat, on the beach, and play while other troops were evacuated. This selfless act earned him the nickname 'Mad Hatter.' Having avoided capture he subsequently took his accordion along on his other tours of duty, to North Africa (1942) and Italy (1943-45).

History note

Accordion associated with the Second World War service of Sapper Alexander Graham King, Royal Engineers, 127 Bomb Disposal Company. Most notably this instrument was played by him on the beach at Dunkirk during the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from France in 1940. Though offered a place in the first wave of boats returning to England he refused to go, preferring instead to stand, in trilby hat, on the beach, and play while other troops were evacuated. This selfless act earned him the nickname 'Mad Hatter.' Having avoided capture he subsequently took his accordion along on his other tours of duty, to North Africa (1942) and Italy (1943-45).

Physical description

Piano accordion; recorded on the exterior of the instrument (on a sheet of red paper covered in thick perspex) are the following 'battle honours': 'Mad Hatters / Dunkirk 1940 / North Africa 1942 / Italy 1943-45'. Accordion has one detatchable leather strap.

Inscription

Mad Hatters Dunkirk 1940 North Africa 1942 Italy 1943-45

Associated people and organisations
Associated places
Associated events
Associated themes

IWM Non Commercial Licence

The media for this item are free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Video, sound and images can be embedded with the code we offer here, and images can also be downloaded.

By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM (EPH 5783)

  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode
  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode
  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode
  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode
  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode
  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode