The Showmen' Guild of Great Britain
Showmen's Guild
The Showmen's Guild of Great Britain, Midland Section
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Showmen in the Community

Even though their profession takes them far and wide across the country, travelling showmen still take part in the life of the wider community.

Most importantly, they have always been ready to bear arms in the defence of their country. Twice in the last century, they responded to the nation’s call, some making the ultimate sacrifice. Their names appear on the Showmen’s Guild’s Roll of Honour, a specially-created monument at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire.

Walsall Arboretum
The Showmen's Guild Roll of Honour at the National Memorial Arboretum

In the Second World War, the Showmen’s Guild launched an appeal among its members to buy a fighter aircraft for the RAF. Within ten days of the launch in August 1940 over £1500 had been donated, the target of £5000 being reached by the following January. The money paid for a Spitfire, built in 1941 as part of a batch of 450 by Supermarine Aviation Vickers Ltd. In recognition of the gift, the Spitfire was named ‘The Fun of The Fair’.

Spitfire W3764 – The Fun of The Fair
The Spitfire given to the RAF by the Showmen's Guild

Many showmen have played a part in local government. The most famous of them all, Pat Collins, was a notable contributor to the life of his adopted home town of Walsall. For over 20 years he was an elected councillor in the borough, serving as mayor in 1938. More spectacularly, he stood and was elected as Walsall’s Member of Parliament during the turbulent early years of the 1920s. Others have followed his example, successfully combining civic duties with the demands of their own businesses.

Pat Collins
Pat Collins: showman, councillor and MP

The Showmen's Guild of Great Britain will be holding a Service of Remembrance next to its Roll of Honour at the National Memorial Arboretum, on Sunday 4 November, commencing at 10.45am.

All are welcome.