suppose that in everyone’s life there are a few people who stand
out and are literally ‘unforgettable’. ‘Albert’
Hill was one such person. A quite unique character with a natural
and unaffected charisma which endeared him to everyone…..from
the rawest recruit to the CO. I swear even the CO called him ‘Albert’….everyone
else did regardless of rank!!
was difficult to work out exactly what it was about him that endeared
him to all who met him. He was not a natural comedian like some others
but there was a very special quality emanating from him which, though
hard to explain, was immediately evident to all. He was i/c Rm 114
in Gloucester House where I was billeted after New Entry training
in 1959. He was warm, friendly and very helpful and we became good
friends. I met him at the Deal reunions several times after we both
had left and I stayed with him in his flat in Stockport on a number
of occasions. I played in the orchestra for the BBCTV “The Good
Old Days” for the last 8 years of its long run on TV and would
go over to Stockport after the recordings. Albert always insisted
that I have his bedroom and he would sleep on the sofa as I was a
guest in his home.
At the time Phil (always ‘Albert’ in RMBS) was an orchestral
porter at the BBC in Manchester responsible for setting up the orchestra
each day with the correct number of chairs and stands etc..Inevitably
the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra named him “BBC Phil”!!
His famous ‘cabaret act’ was the highlight of many orchestral
tours to the utter delight of the young female members of the orchestra
who adored him. He would perform at the drop of a hat…or should
I say trousers…. In respect of this performance, witnessed by
many in the drill shed each year, I must make the obvious comment
that show business is declining in its standards. It has been noticed
by others far more eminent than myself that so few contemporary acts
possess that WOW factor…….well one thing is certain about
Albert’s performance it definitely had the WOW factor…..!!!!!
When I phoned him and his answering machine turned on I was greeted
with two three-beat rolls and Massed Bands playing “A Life on
the Ocean Wave” so his time in the RMBS had meant a lot to him.
working at the BBC Albert worked for a time as a hospital porter at
Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport and I can not imagine a job more
suited to Albert’s inimitable charm and humour. He will be missed
have booked my train ticket and shall be attending his funeral on
‘Albert’, a truly unique, charismatic and unforgettable