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  • Famous Knights

    Second son of Richard, Earl of Cornwall. Knighted 18th May 1257, on the day of the accession of his father, King Henry III, as King of the Romans at Aachen.

    Knighted and created Prince of Wales on 13th July 1346 by his father, King Edward III, after landing at La Hague in his expedition to France. Thereupon the Black Prince himself created further knights.

    A fearless judge, who refused to obey an order from King Henry IV to sentence Archbishop Scrope and Earl Mowbray for their connection with a rebellion in the north of England in 1405.

    He was a resident in London in 1379, when he subscribed to a city loan. He was thrice Lord Mayor of London and took a leading part in London affairs. He was knighted by Henry V for his financial services.

    SIR THOMAS MORE (1478–1535)
    Statesman and writer. He was Chancellor of England after Wolsey. His Utopia, a well written sketch of an imaginary ideal government, is still admired. He was too honest to assent to the King's religious supremacy and was tried and executed for treason.

    SIR HUGH WILLOUGHBY ( C .1500–1554)
    The leader of an expedition which resulted in our first intercourse with Russia through the port of Archangel on the White Sea. He was sent in 1553 by some London merchants on a voyage of discovery, but a storm separated the ships, and Willoughby and his men were cast ashore and perished in Lapland.

    SIR THOMAS GRESHAM (1519–1579)
    A wealthy London merchant, who helped to consolidate and improve English trade by founding the Royal Exchange. He devoted much of his wealth to educational and charitable purposes.

    SIR THOMAS WYATT (1520–1554)
    One of the adherents of Lady Jane Grey, on whose behalf he headed a rebellion in 1554 and, being taken prisoner, was executed.

    SIR JOHN HAWKINS (1520–1595)
    Seaman and navigator. He holds the unfortunate distinction of being the first Englishman to engage in the slave trade, taking negroes from Africa to sell in the West Indies. He acted as Vice-Admiral against the Spanish Armada in 1588 and was knighted for his services. The failure of an expedition against the Spanish in the West Indies proved a great blow to him, and he died of fatigue and disappointment on board his ship off Puerto Rico in 1595.

    One of the greatest of Elizabeth's statesmen. A zealous Protestant, he travelled abroad during Mary's reign, and acquired an invaluable knowledge of Continental politics. He is said to have done more than any other to bring about the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

    SIR FRANCIS DRAKE (1539–1595)
    Helped to wrest the supremacy of the sea from Spain and prepared the way for Britain's world-wide Empire. He made four voyages to the West Indies, with great loss to the Spaniards both in wealth and prestige. His most famous voyage was in 1577–9 when he passed through the Straits of Magellan into the Pacific and Indian Oceans and reached home after rounding the Cape of Good Hope. In the battle with the Spanish Armada (1588) Drake was Vice-Admiral to Lord Howard.

    SIR MARTIN FROBISHER (1535–1594)
    Discovered Labrador in attempting to reach China ( Cathay ) by the North West Passage. He assisted Drake in the West Indies and was knighted for his prowess in fighting against the Armada.

    SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT (1539–1583)
    An English navigator. He attempted the North West Passage in 1578–9 in company with his nephew Sir Walter Raleigh. The voyage ended in failure, but a second attempt was made in 1583.

    One of Queen Elizabeth's sea-captains and a cousin of Sir Walter Raleigh, whom he assisted in his attempts to colonize Virginia. He is famous for a heroic fight against a fleet of Spanish warships, off Flores, in the Azores, in 1591. With his single ship he maintained the unequal contest for 14 hours. He died soon after surrendering to the enemy. This extraordinary battle is described in spirited verse in Tennyson's ballad ‘The Revenge'.

    SIR WALTER RALEIGH (1552–1618)
    Explorer, courtier, soldier, and historian. As a youth he served in France and Ireland. In the suite of the Earl of Leicester he went to the Netherlands and on his return was much favoured by Queen Elizabeth. He attempted without success to colonise in North America the district which he named Virginia. On the accession of James I (1603), Raleigh was accused of complicity in a plot for placing Arabella Stuart on the throne. He was condemned to death, reprieved on the scaffold, and sent to the Tower, where he spent some of his fourteen years in writing A History of the World. On being released in 1616 he led an unsuccessful expedition to Guiana in search of a gold mine. When he returned in 1618 he was executed on his former sentence.

    SIR PHILIP SIDNEY (1554–1586)
    A nephew of Queen Elizabeth's favourite, the Earl of Leicester, he was a refined, cultured, and chivalrous gentleman, whose life reflected both the ardour of mediaeval knighthood and the generous refinement of the Renaissance. He was knighted in 1583.

    SIR THOMAS LYNCH (1603­–1684)
    Served in the army which went out to Jamaica in 1655. In 1660 he offered a paper of suggestions and considerations concerning Jamaica, showing himself well acquainted with the circumstances of the island and was appointed the Provost-Marshal of the island for life. He returned to England in 1665 and it was not until the end of 1670 that he was ordered out as Lieutenant-Governor. In 1671 he received a commission from the Duke of York to be Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's ships in and about Jamaica. He was knighted in 1670.

    SIR THOMAS FAIRFAX (1612–1671)
    Succeeded the Earl of Essex as Commander-in-Chief of the parliamentary forces during the Civil War, with Cromwell acting as his Lieutenant-General. He worked hard for the restoration of Charles II, co-operating with General Monk, and he was the leader of the deputation commissioned to treat with Charles II at Breda for his return.

    SIR MATTHEW HALE (1609–1676)
    A famous judge and Chief-Justice. He wrote numerous works, especially upon law and history. Many of his manuscripts are preserved in the library of Lincoln's Inn.

    SIR JOHN BERKENHEAD (1616–1679)
    The author of Mercurius Aulicus. During the Civil War, while the king and court were at Oxford, Berkenhead was a leading spirit. Events compelled almost daily publication of news. The parliament had their Mercurius Britannicus. The Royalists had Mercurii Aulic i. In 1648 he was in exile with the Prince of Wales (afterwards Charles II). The Restoration brought Berkenhead to the winning side.

    SIR PETER LELY (1618–1680)
    A portrait painter who had as patrons Charles I, Cromwell, and Charles II. For the latter monarch he painted the well-known Court Beauties now exhibited at Hampton Court.

    SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN (1632–1723)
    The architect of St Paul's Cathedral, was also a Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, and one of the founders of the Royal Society. Wren prepared plans for the restoration of old St Paul's, but the fire of 1666 rendered a completely new building necessary. He designed this after the style of the cathedral of St Peter in Rome. He also presented plans for a complete re-building of the city which had been wrecked by the fire, but his work was confined to the building of the Royal Exchange and some fifty churches. Among his other notable works are the Monument, Greenwich Observatory, Chelsea Observatory and Chelsea Hospital. He was buried in St Paul's and his tomb is marked by the inscription ‘Si monumentum requiris, circumspice' (If you see his monument, look around).

    SIR ISAAC NEWTON (1642–1727)
    A famous mathematician and philosopher. The discovery by him of the law of gravitation marked an epoch in science. He made great researches into the nature and phenomena of light. In practical life also his services were great for, as Master of the Mint, he made many improvements in the coinage.

    SIR GODFREY KNELLER (1647–1723)
    The finest portrait painter of his time, he received the patronage of five English sovereigns, including Charles II and George I. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

    Entered the navy as a cabin-boy, and by his abilities raised himself to the command of a ship and finally became an admiral. He was knighted for his share in the battle of Bantry Bay. He afterwards assisted in the victory of the Hague, commanded in the expedition against Dunkirk, 1694, and took a prominent part in the Battle of Malaga, 1704, and the capture of Barcelona, 1705.

    SIR GEORGE ROOKE (1650–1709)
    An English admiral. Captured Gibraltar in 1704, a prize the value of which was not fully recognised at the time.

    SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS (1723–1792)
    An eminent painter. At the age of eighteen he journeyed from Plympton, Devon, to London and entered the studio of Robert Hudson, a portrait painter. He next went to Rome, where he studied the works of Raphael and Michelangelo. In the Vatican he caught a chill which resulted in deafness. His studio in Leicester Square became a meeting place for Burke, Johnson, Boswell, and the literary wits of the day. His portrait of Mrs Siddons as the Tragic Muse, his Strawberry Girl and Simplicity are well known. He was the first President of the Royal Academy and was knighted in 1769.

    He was apprenticed to a barber but took great interest in the machinery used in cotton manufacture. He invented the spinning frame and made other improve­ments in the process of carding and spinning. With the help of two wealthy partners he established mills at Nottingham and at Cromford in Derbyshire and amassed a large fortune. He was knighted by George III in 1786.

    SIR JOHN SOANE (1753–1837)
    The leading architect of his time. Trained at the Royal Academy, and afterwards travelled abroad to study. Held many public appointments such as architect to the Bank of England, and the Department of Woods and Forests. He bequeathed his house in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, and the art treasures therein to the nation. These form the ‘ Soane Museum '.

    SIR HENRY RAEBURN (1756–1822)
    He was apprenticed to a goldsmith but turned miniature painter. He studied in Italy, returned to Edinburgh, and became celebrated as a portrait painter. Nearly all the great Scotsmen of his time sat for him.

    SIR SAMUEL ROMILLY (1757–1818)
    Chiefly remembered for his persistent advocacy of the reform of the criminal law, especially with regard to the limitation of capital punishment, and the reduction of penalties for lesser crimes. Solicitor General.

    Gained a commission in the Navy for bravery at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1780 and rose rapidly in the service. One of the most active commanders all through the Napoleonic Wars but his duties lay chiefly in the Eastern Mediterranean. In 1799 he captured the French ships co-operating in Napoleon's attack on Acre.

    Was the most prominent and prolific of the great 19th century engineers. Driven from France in 1792 by the French Revolution, he took refuge in the United States where he became an engineer, supervising the fortifying of New York and established an arsenal and cannon foundry. He came to England in 1799, and while in the employment of the British Government invented a machine for making pulley blocks, which is still used.
    He designed plans for the construction of the Thames Tunnel, opened in 1843 and still in use as a railway tunnel. Many of his structures and pioneering inventions are still in use today, adding an air of invincibility to his life's work. He was knighted in 1841 for his contribution to engineering in Britain.

    SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE (1769–1830)
    A famous portrait painter, he had the support of George III, became the most fashionable portrait painter of his day, and was President of the Royal Academy.

    An eminent sculptor, he received part of his training in Rome from the great Canova. Many of the monuments in Westminster Abbey and St Paul's are by him, also the ‘Achilles' in Hyde Park.

    SIR HUMPHRY DAVY (1778–1829)
    A great natural philosopher and chemist, he was the first to discover that such substances as potash, soda, etc. were not elements, but compounds of oxygen with a metallic base (potassium, sodium, etc.). His efforts founded the science of agricultural chemistry, and his investigation of the nature of fire-damp led to his invention of the miner's safety-lamp.

    SIR STAMFORD RAFFLES (1781–1826)
    He began his career as a clerk in the India House. In 1805 he was sent as Assistant-Secretary to Penang, and later became Chief Secretary. He became Lieutenant-Governor of Java in 1811, when it was taken by the English. He founded Singapore.

    SIR JOHN RENNIE (1794–1874)
    A famous engineer, starting as a workman for Meikle, the inventor of the threshing machine. Constructor of bridges, canals, and docks, in particular the old Waterloo Bridge.

    SIR JAMES BARRY (1795–1860)
    Architect. Designed St Peter's Church, Brighton, the Reform Club, Pall Mall, and the Houses of Parliament.

    SIR CHARLES LYELL (1797–1875)
    The father of modern geology. He showed that the earth today has been produced by continuous gradual change, and not by great and sudden changes at long intervals, the view previously accepted. It was the study of his ‘Principles of Geology' that set Darwin to work to prove the same law in Biology.

    SIR EDWIN LANDSEER (1802–1873)
    An eminent English animal painter who, like Millais, exhibited at the Academy whilst still a youth. Among his most popular works are High Life and Low Life, Dignity and Impudence, The Challenge, and the famous lions of the Nelson monument in Trafalgar Square.

    SIR JOSEPH PAXTON (1803–1865)
    A famous horticulturist, who rose from humble origin. He was knighted for his suggestion for the design and building of Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

    SIR ROBERT McCLURE (1807–1873)
    A famous Artic explorer. He took part in the search expedition organised to find Sir John Franklin in 1848.

    SIR GILBERT SCOTT (1811 – 1878)
    The most eminent ‘Gothic' architect of his time. He built many churches and was also engaged in restoration of many of the English cathedrals, including St Alban's, Hereford, Ely, Lichfield, Durham, and Ripon. His other works comprised the Foreign Office, India Office, the Midland Railway Terminus and Hotel in London, Exeter College Chapel and the Martyrs' Memorial at Oxford, the new Quadrangle at St John's College, Cambridge, and the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens .

    SIR ISAAC PITMAN (1813 – 1897)
    The originator of a well-known system of shorthand. He was originally a school teacher and published a treatise of shorthand in 1836.

    SIR HENRY IRVING (1835 – 1905)
    An actor. He began his career at Sunderland in 1856 as Gaston in Richelieu . In 1866 he first played to a London audience at St James's Theatre and in 1871 made his first appearance at the Lyceum, where during the next thirty years he not only bought himself to the top of his profession but did much to raise the profession itself in public estimation. His fame began with his representation of Mathias in The Belle, was reinforced by his interpretation of Hamlet, and firmly established by a long series of successful performances in association with Miss Ellen Terry, who joined him in 1878. He was knighted in 1895.

    SIR WILLIAM GILBERT (1836 – 1911)
    Best known for his words for musical operettas by Sir Arthur Sullivan. With the profits from his plays he built the Garrick Theatre. He was knighted in 1907.

    SIR JOSEPH LOCKYER (1836 – 1920)
    Astronomer and discoverer of Helium. From his long interest in the Sun's atmosphere, he initiated the observation of Sunspots in 1866, which led to his identification of the Sun's chromosphere in 1868. His spectroscopic method of exploring the Sun without need for a Solar eclipse eventually caused him to locate the element Helium in the Sun's solar spectrum almost three decades before it was found on Earth.
    On the foundation of the Royal College of Science he became director of Solar Physics and Professor of Astronomical Physics. He built a private observatory for himself at Sidmouth.

    SIR ARTHUR SULLIVAN (1842 – 1900)
    Musician. Best known for music for the operettas which made his name and that of W.S Gilbert famous – HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, The Mikado, etc.

    SIR ARTHUR QUILLER-COUCH (1863 – 1944)
    Cornish novelist and editor of anthologies. His titles include Dead Man's Rock (1887) Hetty Wesley (1903) and Troy Town (1988). In 1898 he completed R.L Stevenson's unfinished novel, St Ives.
    He was editor of many popular anthologies including the Oxford Book of Verse (1900) and the Oxford Book of English Prose (1923). He was known under the pseudonym of ‘Q'.

    SIR DAVID CAMERON (1865 – 1945)
    A Scottish painter and etcher, compared to Whistler. In 1933 he was appointed the King's Painter and Limner in Scotland and became a trustee of Scottish National Galleries and the Tate in London.

    SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON (1874 – 1922)
    Antarctic explorer. Accepted as Third Lieutenant on board the Discovery with Captain Scott in an attempt to reach the South Pole in 1902. Led expedition in 1907 – 8. Died of angina at sea in 1922.

    SIR THOMAS BEECHAM (1879 – 1961)
    Educated at Oxford. Was the first in England to perform The Mastersingers of Nuremberg by Wagner. Established the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947. A conductor of legendary good humour, he was renowned for his personal and surprising arrangements of Handel and for his instinctive and enthusiastic interpretations of music.

    SIR ALEXANDER FLEMING (1881 – 1955)
    Scientist and expert on bacteriology. Discovered the active substance penicillin from his observations of bacteria in 1928.
    Served as a captain throughout World War One in the Army Medical Corps. In 1918 he returned to his teaching post at St Mary's Medical School, London University, where he was duly elected Professor of the School in 1928, and in 1948, became Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology. He was jointly awarded the 1945 Nobel Prize in Medicine which he shared with Sir Ernst Chain and Sir Howard Florey. He is buried in St Paul's Cathedral.

    A barrister, judge, and Master of the Rolls, a position he held for twenty years. In retirement he wrote several books, offering opinions on the common law through his writings and in the House of Lords. Known by the public for his report on the Profumo Affair, he was noted for bold judgments that sometimes ran counter to the law at the time. As a judge he made numerous large changes to the common law, particularly while in the Court of Appeal, and although many of his decisions were later overturned, several were confirmed by Parliament. Acknowledged for his support for the individual, he attracted controversy for his campaign against the common law principle of precedent, for comments he made regarding the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four, and as Master of the Rolls for his conflict with the House of Lords.

    SIR LEARIE CONSTANTINE (1901 - 1971)

    West Indian cricketer, lawyer and politician who served as Trinidad's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and became the UK's first black peer. He played 18 Test matches before the Second World War and took the West Indies' first wicket in Test cricket. An advocate against racial discrimination, in later life he was influential in the passing of the 1965 Race Relations Act in Britain. He was knighted in 1962 and made a life peer in 1969.

    SIR ERNST CHAIN (1906 – 1979)
    A biochemist and pathologist of great skill. Born in Berlin, Chain came to England to escape the Nazi rise to power in 1933. In 1945, he shared with Sir Alexander Fleming and Sir Howard Florey the honour of a Nobel Laureate in Medicine for his work towards the discovery of penicillin. He took the post of Professor of Biochemistry at Imperial College London from 1961 – 73, after which he became a Fellow of the College. Today, the Ernst Chain Prize is awarded at Imperial to outstanding students.

    A world famous actor, producer and director for stage and screen. The son of a clergyman, he was considered the greatest actor of the 20th century. Winner of two Academy Awards, he starred in such films as Yellow Ticket, Fire Over England, Wuthering Heights, and Hamlet.
    He married actress Vivian Leigh. Widely respected also for his theatrical performances, he was the first in his profession to be elevated to a life peerage.

    SIR ALEXANDER TODD (1907 - 1997)
    British biochemist whose research on the structure and synthesis of nucleotides, nucleosides, and nucleotide coenzymes gained him the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

    SIR DAVID LEAN (1908 - 1991)
    English film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor, best remembered for films such as , Great Expectations (1946); Oliver Twist (1948); The Bridge on the River Kwai(1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and Doctor Zhivago (1965). Nominated seven times for the Academy Award for Best Director, for which he won twice; for The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Lawrence of Arabia.

    SIR DONALD BRADMAN (1908 – 2001)
    Born in Australia. A champion cricketer of remarkable skill and sportsmanship. In 1930, at the age of only 21, he toured England with his Australian side with great success. He worked hard to restore the popularity of the game in the 1950s as Chairman of the Australian Board of Control. In 1979 he was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) and in 2000 he was selected as one of five Wisden cricketers of the century.

    SIR NICHOLAS WINTON (1909-2015)
    British banker and humanitarian who established an organisation to rescue children at risk from Nazi Germany. Born to German-Jewish parents who had emigrated to Britain at the beginning of the 20th century, he supervised the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War. His work went unnoticed for nearly 50 years, until 1988 when he was invited to the BBC television programme That's Life!, where he was reunited with several of the children he had saved. He died at the age of 106.

    SIR PETER SCOTT (1909 – 1989)
    A world renowned naturalist and painter of animal life. Graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge . Founder of the Severn Wildfowl Trust in 1946 (now known as the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust). The son of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott.

    SIR DOUGLAS BADER (1910 – 1982)
    World War II ace who proved he could still fly an aeroplane even after having his legs amputated. He joined the RAF in 1928 and, following the Battle of Britain, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1941 he was captured by the Nazis and imprisoned in Colditz where he stayed until the end of the war.

    SIR BERNARD LOVELL (1913 - 2012)
    English physicist and radio astronomer, he was the first Director of Jodrell Bank Observatory, overseeing many discoveries about the origins of the universe. In 1960 the telescope identified the first quasars and in the same year it transmitted signals to the US Pioneer V deep space probe to release it from its carrier rocket - the only device capable of doing so at a distance of over 22 million miles. Afterwards, Bernard Lovell took a telephone call from Lord Nuffield. 'Is that Lovell?' 'Yes, my Lord'. 'How much is still owing on that telescope?' 'About £50,000.' 'Is that all? I want to pay it off'.

    SIR NORMAN WISDOM 1915 - 2010)
    English actor, comedian, and singer-songwriter, he was best known for a series of comedy films produced between 1953 and 1966 featuring the hapless Norman Pitkin. He gained a celebrity status in many places, including South America, Iran, and some Eastern Bloc countries, particularly in Albania, where his films were the only ones by Western actors permitted.

    SIR PATRICK LEIGH FERMOR (1915 - 2011)
    British author, scholar, and soldier, he played a prominent role fighting behind the lines in the Cretan resistance during the Second World War and was involved in the capture of a German general. He wrote many fine travel books, including A Time of Gifts (1977), and was once described as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene'.

    SIR LEONARD HUTTON (1916 - 1990)

    English cricketer who played as an opening batsman for Yorkshire County Cricket Club from 1934 to 1955 and for England in 79 Test matches between 1937 and 1955. He set a record in 1938 for the highest individual innings in a Test match in only his sixth Test appearance, scoring 364 runs against Australia, a milestone that stood for nearly 20 years (and remains an England Test record). Following the Second World War, he was the mainstay of England's batting. In 1952, he became the first professional cricketer of the 20th Century to captain England in Tests; under his captaincy England won the Ashes the following year for the first time in 19 years.

    SIR HUW WHELDON (1916 - 1986)
    A BBC presenter, producer and later an executive, he through the ranks to become a senior executive. A notable success was the arts programme, Monitor; Wheldon was both presenter and editor, and its driving force. In the mid-1960s he became controller of programmes for BBC Television, and later managing director. He was responsible for some notable programmes, such as Till Death Us Do Part, Dad's Army, Sir Kenneth Clark's Civilisation. Dennis Potter's Casanova, Alistair Cooke's America, and Dr Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man. Following retirement, he became a noted presenter, with programmes such as Royal Heritage, and The Library of Congress.

    SIR ROBERT MARK (1917 - 2010)
    Served as Chief Constable of Leicester City Police, and later as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the first to have risen through all the ranks from the lowest to the highest (a route followed by all his successors). He is remembered particularly for tackling corruption in the Metropolitan Police, commenting at the time that a 'a good police force is one that catches more crooks than it employs'.

    SIR ALEC BEDSER (1918 - 2010)
    A Surrey and England cricketer, a medium-fast bowler and one of the finest English cricketers of the 20th century. He played for Surrey with his identical twin brother Eric, and Test cricket for England from 1946 to 1955, taking 236 wickets in 51 Test matches, passing the world record for Test wickets in 1953, holding the record for 10 years. He later became chairman of selectors for the English national cricket team and was president of Surrey County Cricket Club.

    SIR GEORGE SHEARING (1919 – 2011)
    Jazz pianist, he was born blind, in Battersea. His early performances were playing the piano and accordion in the Mason's Arms in Lambeth, and during the war performed with Stéphane Grappelli in London and on tour. He emigrated to the United States in 1947. He led a popular jazz group for many years, composing over 300 tunes, including the jazz standards Lullaby of Birdland and Conception.

    SIR LUDOVIC KENNEDY (1919 - 2009)
    Best known to television audiences in the 1960s and 1970s as the presenter of programmes such as Panorama, 24 Hours, Midweek and Tonight, He spent many years investigating miscarriages of justice, including the case of the Birmingham Six. He contributed to the abolition of the death penalty and was also president of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. He was married to ballet dancer and actress Moira Shearer.

    SIR DAVID WILLCOCKS (1919 – 2015)
    Choral conductor, organist, composer, and music administrator. He was particularly well known for his association with the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, which he directed from 1957 to 1974, making frequent broadcasts and recordings. Several of the descants and carol arrangements he wrote for the annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols were published in the series of books Carols for Choirs which he edited along with Reginald Jacques and John Rutter. He was also director of the Royal College of Music in London.

    SIR IAN WALLACE (1919 - 2009)
    English bass-baritone opera and concert singer, actor, and broadcaster. He played a range of buffo parts in operas, at Glyndebourne and internationally, while also maintaining a career in revue, straight theatre, and broadcasting. He was a long-time panellist on the BBC radio panel game My Music. Flanders and Swann wrote several songs for him, and The Hippopotamus became particularly associated with him.

    CAPTAIN SIR TOM MOORE (1920-2021)

    A former professional army officer who served during the Second World War and later became a businessman, Tom Moore inspired millions worldwide during the darkest period of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. On 6 April 2020, at the age of 99, he began to walk 100 lengths of his garden in aid of the NHS, with the aim of raising £1,000 by his 100th birthday on 30 April. By the time his walk ended on his birthday, Tom Moore had raised over £32.79 million. On 17 July 2020, he was personally knighted by HM The Queen at Windsor Castle.

    SIR JOHN CHARNLEY (1922-2021)

    Aeronautical engineer and chief scientist to the RAF whose work enabled smooth landings in poor weather. As the superintendent of the Blind Landing Experimental Unit (BLEU), a division of the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), he was a driving force in the creation of reliable guidance and automatic landing systems shaped by the military and adapted for civil aviation.

    Journalist, writer, and broadcaster. Spent much of his career at the Telegraph newspaper titles, later becoming editor of The Sunday Telegraph.


    English actor, film director, film producer, and entrepreneur. President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he won two Academy Awards for Gandhi in 1983, four BAFTA Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. As an actor, he is best known for his roles in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, 10 Rillington Place, Miracle on 34th Street and Jurassic Park. One of the most significant supporters of British film and the performing arts in the last century and credited by David Puttnam as saving the British film industry.

    SIR DONALD SINDEN (1923-2014)
    Actor in theatre, film, television, and radio. He appeared in the 1953 film The Cruel Sea and achieved early fame as a Rank Organisation film star in the 1950s in films including Doctor in the House, Simba, Eyewitness and Doctor at Large. He was an associate artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared regularly on stage.

    SIR PATRICK MOORE (1923-2012)
    Attaining prominent status as an English amateur astronomer, he was a writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter who popularised astronomy. President of the British Astronomical Association, he wrote over 70 books on astronomy, and for many years presented the world's longest-running television series with the same presenter, the BBC's The Sky at Night.

    An Australian conductor, an authority on the operas of Janácek and Mozart, and the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Long associated with the English National Opera and Welsh National Opera, he was the first Australian chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.


    Sir Geoffrey Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest-serving Cabinet minister, successively holding the posts of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary, and finally Leader of the House of Commons, Deputy Prime Minister and Lord President of the Council. His resignation on 1 November 1990 is widely considered by the British press to have precipitated Thatcher's own resignation three weeks later.

    SIR GEORGE MARTIN (1926-2016)

    English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer, and musician. He was referred to as the ‘Fifth Beatle’, due to his close involvement with each of the Beatles' original albums. Before working with the Beatles and other pop musicians, he produced comedy and novelty records in the early 1950s, working with Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, and Bernard Cribbins, among others.

    SIR COLIN DAVIS (1927-2013)
    An English conductor best known for his association with the London Symphony Orchestra. He had a broad repertoire, while being particularly associated were Mozart, Berlioz, Elgar, Sibelius, Stravinsky and Tippett. He held conducting appointments with the BBC Scottish Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sadler's Wells Opera, and the Royal Opera House, where he was principal conductor for over fifteen years.

    SIR JOHN DANKWORTH (1927-2010)
    English jazz composer, saxophonist, and clarinettist, who formed a small group, later expanding to a big band in 1953. The jazz singer, Cleo Laine became a regular feature of his recordings and public appearances; they married in 1958. Dankworth was also a popular composer of film and television scores, for example, The Avengers, Tomorrow's World, and the films Darling and Modesty Blaise. He performed with many famous jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, George Shearing, Benny Goodman, and Oscar Peterson. He had an enthusiasm for jazz education, and was professor of music at Gresham College, London.

    SIR PETER HALL (1930-2017)

    Theatre, opera, and film director. In 1955, he introduced London audiences to the work of Samuel Beckett with the UK premiere of Waiting for Godot. He founded the Royal Shakespeare Company, and was later director of the National Theatre and artistic director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera. His obituary in The Times said that he was the ‘most important figure in British theatre for half a century’.

    SIR VIDIA NAIPAUL (1932-2018)

    Known as VS Naipaul. Trinidad and Tobago-born writer of fiction and nonfiction, he published more than thirty books. In 1971 he won the Booker Prize for his novel In a Free State. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

    SIR HENRY COOPER (1934-2011)
    English heavyweight boxer known for the strength of his left hook, 'Enry's 'Ammer' and his near knockout of Muhammad Ali. He held the British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight titles several times throughout his career, and unsuccessfully challenged Ali for the world heavyweight championship in 1966. He is only one of three people to twice win the public vote for BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and to date the only boxer to be awarded a knighthood.

    SIR JOHN TAVENER (1944-2013)
    An English composer and organist, regarded as one of the most important English composers of his era. His music was mostly inspired by religion and was often played at the Proms. His Song for Athene was performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.