KENNETH J. ALFORD (1881 - 1945)
Frederick J. Ricketts (1881-1945) composed under the pseudonym Kenneth J. Alford. When he was just fourteen he lied about his age in order to join the First Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment and, after seeing service in India, he joined the Royal Military School, Kneller Hall. He is supposed to have helped a number of other students who were given the task of composing music but were not as proficient as he was. In 1930 he became director of music for the Plymouth Division, Royal Marines. Under his leadership this ensemble achieved worldwide fame, with tours to France and Canada. During the Second World War, Alford, by then promoted to the rank of major, took the ensemble all over England. He retired a year before his death. His most famous march is Colonel Bogey, not least because of the prominent role it plays in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). It also became extremely popular during the Second World War among British soldiers, who provided it with texts unsuitable for printing.