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y separately published work icon The Minced Spy single work   drama   sketch (theatrical)   humour  
Issue Details: First known date: 1920... 1920 The Minced Spy
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

A comic sketch involving General Nosecap, Lieutenant Hartburn, Private Flapper of the Y.W.S.S.W.M.P (Young Women's Society for the Suppression of Wowsers and Military Police), Colonel Krayfissh (a German spy), and an orderly.

The storyline begins with the general lamenting his failure to capture 100,00 prisoners and 200 guns: he succeeded only in capturing a broken-down field cooker, eight tins of German sausage, two mules, and a sergeant major, and advancing three yards on a front of eighty-one feet. The lieutenant then shoots down a carrier pigeon with a message warning the Germans that the Allies intend attacking at 4 am. Private Flapper enters and warns the general that, while in London, she saw Colonel Krayfissh signalling Zeppelins with a cigarette, and later spotted him on the East Coast floating on his back and semaphoring to the U-Boats with his feet. A false message is sent back, saying that the attack is to be delayed a hour (a second pigeon is later shot).

In the meantime, a romantic interlude occurs between Lieutenant Hartburn and Private Flapper, who is really Lady Hermentrude Joyed Llorge. She informs the lieutenant, however, that she cannot think of love until the spy is brought to justice. When Krayfissh learns he has been fooled, he swallows a Mills hand grenade. The two lovers embrace, and plan a celebration with minced pigeon pie.


  • Although Johnny Marks held the copyright of this sketch, as per the copyright agreement between himself and Pat Hanna (see note 4.1 in the AustLit entry for the Famous Diggers), the Pat Hanna Collection manuscript appears to have been written by Bert Reid (q.v.). It is not clear if this is a copy, a cribbed version, or an adaptation of Marks's original.

Production Details

  • 1921: Temperance Hall, Hobart, ca. May. Director/Producer Pat Hanna ; Troupe The Famous Diggers ; Cast incl. Pat Hanna.

    1921: New Zealand tour, ca. June - October. Director/Producer Pat Hanna ; Troupe The Vice Regals ; Cast incl. Pat Hanna.

    1922: Esplanade, St Kilda (Melbourne), ca. January. Director/Producer Pat Hanna ; Troupe The Famous Diggers ; Cast incl. Pat Hanna.

  • This entry has been sourced from on-going historical research into Australian popular theatre being conducted by Professor Richard Fotheringham and Dr Clay Djubal.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1920
      Extent: 12p.
      Description: Handwritten
      (Manuscript) assertion
      • Dated 16 October 1920.


      Held at: Performing Arts Museum Research Library
      Local Id: 2001.025
      Pat Hanna Collection
Last amended 15 Oct 2013 10:22:09