(February 25, 1900-August 14, 1978)
Born in Wembley, Middlesex, United Kingdom
Dancer, musician and bandleader
1917 Italian Bronze Medal of Military Valour
With partner Phyllis Clarke, won the first World Ballroom Championship (1922)
Wrote 'Modern Ballroom Dancing' (1927)
Host of ‘Dancing Club’ (BBC)
Singles include ‘You’re Dancing in My Heart,’ ‘Mexicali Rose,’ ‘Don’t Say Goodbye,’ and ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (1961)
Why he might be annoying
His middle name is ‘Marlborough.’ Yes, it sounds just like the cigarette brand.
He was educated at no fewer than four different schools — all from which he would run off.
When he enlisted in the British Army in World War I, he made himself out to be four years older than he actually was.
Before recruiting authorities found him out, he had served on several execution squads.
When he was offered a spot at the Royal Military College (Sandhurst), he left almost as quickly as he had come in.
He received a reference in Leo Sayer's obscure 'Long Tall Glasses.'
Why he might not be annoying
But he still did his part for the war effort, acting as a stretcher bearer for Italian servicemen.
He refused medical treatment after his leg was damaged by a burst shell… until the other wounded were tended to (hence the medal awarded him for gallantry).
To be fair, the execution squads under which he worked targeted – and executed – mainly deserters.
As the winner of the 1922 World Dancing Championship, he opened up his own chain of academies en route to becoming Britain’s foremost ballroom instructor.
Having already had private piano lessons, he would go on to study music at Trinity.
He became so successful that he inspired a wave of dancers – including his own son – to set up their own strict-time bands.
He became the subject of a 1957 episode of This Is Your Life.
Credit: Cool It All Right?
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