1881 - 1945
Although few people may recognise Alford's name, almost everyone will be familiar with his most famous march, Colonel Bogey. Born Frederick Ricketts in London in 1881, he adopted the pseudonym of Alford to cover his compositions when he started to write for military bands whilst holding the post of bandmaster of the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders following service in India. Besides writing some memorable marches, he also produced many classical arrangements and transcriptions.
Besides Colonel Bogey, Alford wrote what were to turn out to be very popular marches which seized the rather jingoistic national imagination at the time of the outbreak of the First World War and beyond. These include The Voice of the Guns, The Great Little Army, The Vanished Army, The Thin Red Line, The Mad Major and Cavalry of the Clouds. In 1927 he became Director of Music for the Royal Marine base at Deal where he composed suitably nautical pieces such as By Land and Sea.
Although he retired in 1940, he was recalled and took up re-enlistment duties at Plymouth, finally retiring on the grounds of ill-health in 1944. He died the following year.
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