Strictly For Patriotism


Feted as a fashion icon, star of Broadway and one half of a husband and wife partnership who revolutionised ballroom dancing, Vernon Castle had the show business world at his feet when he gave it all up to serve ‘King and Country’ at the height of the First World War. Steve Snelling charts the remarkable story of the Royal Flying Corps’ own celebrity hero.


The undisputed king and queen of ballroom dancing Irene and Vernon Castle show off their moves at the height of their fame. (ALL IMAGES VIA AUTHOR)

There was an inescapable irony about the end. For nine months, Vernon Castle had flirted with death in the warring skies above the Western Front, defying murderous odds to return to his adopted Stateside home, only to succumb to a freak flying accident. It was hard to comprehend. The consummate showman, one half of the world’s first celebrity couple credited with sparking a dance revolution, had gone, a dazzling light extinguished in a strangely anti-climactic flash.


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