Albert Elms was a composer and musical director that was particularly active in the 1950,s and also worked steadily through the decade of the 1960,s scoring television shows and motion pictures. Elms was also a well known composer of military music. He was born in Newington Kent in the United Kingdom in 1920. He had always showed a keen interest n music and in 1934 he joined the Royal Marines Band, taking to sea in 1937, after three years of active service and taking part in the evacuation of refugees during the Spanish Civil war Elms returned to dry land but the second world war interrupted his plans to involve himself more in music and he spent much of the next six years serving on cruisers such as AJAX, and ARETHUSA, it was whilst on ARUTHUSA that he took part in the Norway evacuations in the April of 1940 and a year on also took part in the shelling of Vichy French ships which were in Algeria, the action was ordered by Winston Churchill to stop the ships falling into the hands of the Nazis.
During 1941 elms also saw active service on escort duties for convoys that were heading for Malta, he was reassigned to the Orion at one point and it was at this time that the ARETHUSA was bombed by German aircraft and was hit badly in fact the section of the ship where Elms had been serving was destroyed and all of the Marine contingent in that part of the cruiser were killed. Elms was demobbed in the summer of 1949, it was at this time that the young composer found work with the music publishers Francis Day and Hunter in Soho London, where he began to work on composition of popular music and also acted as an arranger. Whilst at Francis day and Hunter Elms gained a lot of experience in composition and also in arranging and decided to become a freelance composer, he began to work on the incidental music for British TV shows such as THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1955) which starred Richard Greene and also provided the background scores for THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT (1956) which featured a very young William Russell plus he wrote rousing compositions for other popular shows such as THE BUCCANEERS (1957), WILLIAM TELL (1957) and worked on 26 episodes of IVANHOE (1958) which was one of roger Moore’s first starring roles for television. In the 1960,s he began to move into the composition of music for movies and worked on THE BREAKING POINT, BLUEBEARD’s TEN HONEYMOONS and TREASURE IN MALTA. He became a much in demand composer and worked on THORNDIKE for the BBC plus wrote the incidental music for prime time 1960’S series such as THE CHAMPIONS, THE PRISONER and MAN IN A SUITCASE.
In the 1970,s Elms continued to work steadily and wrote the music for the big screen version of the comedy TV series LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR and became the musical director for THE BENNY HILL SHOW after which Elms decided to return to the composition of military music and it was this that kept him gainfully occupied for the remainder of the 1970,s. His compositions during this period included, BLAZE OF LIGHT, ON PARADE and WEMBLEY WAY. Which was a piece that had been commissioned especially for the 100th F.A. CUP FINAL in 1972. In 1973 Elms was approached by the director of music for the Royal Marines band who wanted a piece of music to commemorate the battle of Trafalgar, Elms obliged and his march BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR was premiered at the 1974 Royal Tournament, the composition which became a favourite of the Royal Marines Band and was also performed at St Paul’s Cathedral as an orchestral work with choir being conducted by sir Charles Groves in 1981 and later was performed at The Royal Albert hall at the 200th Anniversary of Trafalgar. Albert Elms passed away on October 14th 2009 he was 89 years of age.
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Thank you indeed Mr.Mansell for this great info about Maestro. I have never known about his Navy years especially. With my sincere respects to Maestro Elms. R.I.P.