Phil 'Albert' Hill
Deceased 10 December 2014 ~ by Adrian Brett

I 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!!

It 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.

After 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 by many.

I have booked my train ticket and shall be attending his funeral on December 29th.

RIP ‘Albert’, a truly unique, charismatic and unforgettable character.


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