Born Frederick Joseph Ricketts and better known by the professional name Kenneth J. Alford, this composer of military marching band music wrote such famous pieces as The Vanished Army, The Voice of the Guns, and Colonel Bogey. His compositions made the saxophone a fixture in military bands.
When he was just fourteen years old, he joined the band of the Royal Irish Regiment. Later, after graduating from the Royal Military School of Music, he moved to South Africa and became the 2nd battalion bandleader for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders infantry regiment.
In 1921, he turned down an opportunity to rise through the Royal Army's ranks in order to continue his musical career. He maintained his low military status, but happily led the Royal Marines band.
His marriage to Annie ("Nan") Holmes resulted in four sons (Kenneth, Jose, Gordon, and Leo) and two daughters (Paula and Sheila).
He and John Philip Sousa were both important early 20th-century composers of marches.