He was known by everyone as Alan because on his first date with the woman who would become his wife she announced that she would not call him either Sidney or Ernest and certainly not Albert. Alan would have to do.
With considerable presence and style, Alan was a very generous and charming man, of whom I never heard a bad word. He loved all company, especially female. He loved music and dancing. He was just a rather special guy. Yes, we all loved him.
Alan was born in May 1920 in Twickenham and had a rudimentary education at Archbishop Cambridge’s Church of England School.
Sometime in his teens he found himself employed as the cabin boy-come-deckhand on a Thames sailing barge. There was a crew of two — the old, gnarled skipper and Alan.