Like many Jewish families living in eastern Europe at the end of the 19th century Wolf Weintrop knew if his family were to survive it would mean leaving Poland for the safety of another country, he chose to come to England.
Settling into Whitechapel he opened a barbers shop to support his growing family of ten children, his youngest Chaim Reuven Weintrop was born in their new country on the 14th October 1896, young Chaim went to school in Petticote Lane, but when he was just ten years old he found himself a job as call boy at the local Cambridge Theatre, it was probably here that the young Chaim got his taste for show business, two years later he entered a local talent show as "Fargo, The Boy Wizard". Its not recorded whether he won the competition or not.
In 1910 at the age of just fourteen he sailed to America aboard the SS Majestic, once it docked in New York he jumped ship, and for the next five years supported himself any way he could, by then Britain had entered World War One and now Robert Weintrop, for he had changed his name some time before, decided his place was in the country that gave him birth.
Once back home in England he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery with whom he saw service in France, This war everyone must agree was the must horrendous ever waged, but it was made worst for Robert because of one particular vicious and sadistic sergeant, but Robert vowed to get his revenge, and when the war was finally over and he was demobbed he sought out the sergeant and told him that because of his treatment of him he was going to make his name a joke, every time someone hears the name, he told him, they will laugh. The sergeants name was Flanagan.
As good as his word in 1919 he formed a double act called Flanagan and Roy, in 1925 he married Anne Quinn who was the daughter of the then well known Irish singer Johnny Quinn 'The Singing Clown', a year later their son Buddy was born.
By now he had met Chesney Allen and formed a new partner ship, Ches was the dapper one in the smart suit, Bud usually wore a battered straw hat and moth eaten fur coat, they appeared in many films and shows together, as a double act or part of 'The Crazy Gang'. but in 1963 Chesney Allen retired due to ill health, ironically he was to live until 1982, outliving his stage partner by fourteen years.
In their time they were as popular as the 'Goons', but their humour was at its best seen live, like so many other comedians it didn't transfer to film, and although they were credited with being the Queen Mother's favourites, just like the Goons they had a wide streak of irreverence, Spike Milligan remembered how they would often stand in the queue for their own show and stage fights amongst themselves before sitting in the stalls and loudly heckling the rest of the bill before being thrown out in time for them to do their spot.
Although as Flanagan and Allen they had recorded many songs which would encapsulate wartime era such as, 'Underneath the Arches' which was to become their signature tune, 'Dreaming', 'Hometown' and 'Run Rabbit', 'Any Umbrellas and 'Down Forget-Me-Not Lane, it was to be a TV programme that would bring his voice, and that time in our history, to a new audience. That programme was 'Dad's Army', and the song 'Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler' which Bud recorded just before his death in 1968.
Tragically, Bud was to lose a son Buddy to leukemia. In 1969 the executors of his estate set up the Bud Flanagan Leukaemia Fund for research into and treatment of the disease and the relief of its victims. Over the last ten years, the fund has raised and distributed more than £1m, mainly to the Royal Marsden Hospital.
In 1983 Roy Hudd was awarded the "Best Actor in a Musical" Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for his role in 'Underneath The Arches', as Bud Flanagan. Christopher Timothy played the part of Chesney Allen, the pair were later played on TV by Bernie Winters as Bud and Lesley Crowther as Ches.
So should you ever be in Hanbury Street look just above Rosa's Cafe and you will see a blue plaque marking the house where Chaim Reuven Weintrop was born, and Bud Flangan came to life. Run Rabbit Run