Washington University School of Medicine Oral History Project

Print this window

Close this window

"C'est la Guerre" cast and orchestra, Base Hospital 21, Rouen, France, 1918
Hardly any American entertainment groups reached Base Hospital 21 at the racetrack at Rouen, so members of the unit developed an interest in amateur theatricals. “C’est la Guerre” was one of the more elaborate productions, with a book by Percy Byrns and lyrics by Edwin Dakin. (After the war, Dakin was a publicist in New York. He authored several books, including a well-received biography of Mary Baker Eddy.) The show starred James B. Costen and Calvin G. Tilton. Costen is in the beret, standing, 5th from the right. Tilton is standing 6th from the left. “The Army Blues,” one of the musical numbers, was among the award winners in a “Stars and Stripes” contest for best lyrics written by American soldiers in France. The photo is signed in the lower right by James B. Costen.