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Cotton, William Edward [Billy] (1899–1969), bandleader and radio and television broadcaster, was born on 27 May 1899 at 31 New Tothill Street, Westminster, London, the youngest of the ten children of Joseph Cotton, a water turncock, and his wife, Susan Harmer. He was educated at ...

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William Edward Cotton (1899–1969) by Yousuf Karsh Karsh / Camera Press, London

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Henry Robert Hall (1898–1989) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hall, Henry Robert (1898–1989), dance-bandleader and radio broadcaster, was born on 2 May 1898 at 23 Bonar Road, Peckham, London, the eldest son in the family of three sons and three daughters of Henry Robert Hall, blacksmith, and his wife, Kate Ellen Smith...

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Robertson, Alexander Thomas Parke Anthony Cecil [Alec] (1892–1982), musicologist and broadcaster, was born on 3 June 1892 at 5 Western Parade, Southsea, Hampshire, the son of John Robert Stevenson Robertson (1859–1923), medical practitioner, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Macrory, of Scottish descent. He was educated at ...

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Secombe, Sir Harry Donald (1921–2001), entertainer, was born in Swansea on 8 September 1921, the younger son and third of four children of Frederick Ernest Secombe, a commercial traveller for the wholesale grocery firm Walters and Batchelors and an amateur cartoonist, and his wife, ...

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Sir Harry Donald Secombe (1921–2001) by David Poole, 1968 © David Poole / The Army Benevolent Fund; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Robert Wilfred Levick Simpson (1921–1997) by Suzie E. Maeder © News International Newspapers Ltd

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Simpson, Robert Wilfred Levick (1921–1997), composer and radio producer, was born on 2 March 1921 in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, the son of Robert Warren Simpson, of Scottish descent, and his wife, Helena Hendrika, née Govaars, of Dutch descent. Both parents worked for the ...