Harry Secombe

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Sir Harry Donald Secombe CBE (8 September 1921 – 11 April 2001) was a Welsh entertainer with a talent for comedy and a noted fine tenor singing voice. He is best known for playing Neddie Seagoon, the central character in the BBC radio comedy series The Goon Show (1951-60). He also appeared in musicals and, in his later years, was a prominent presenter of television shows incorporating hymns and other devotional songs.

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Early life

Secombe was born in a council house in the St Thomas district of Swansea, the third of four children of Nellie Jane Gladys (née Davies), a shop manageress, and Frederick Ernest Secombe, a grocer.[1][2][3][4] From the age of 11 he attended Dynevor School, a state secondary school in central Swansea.

His family were regular church-goers, belonging to the congregation of St Stephen's Church in Danygraig. A member of the choir, Secombe would - from the age of 12 - perform a sketch entitled The Welsh Courtship at church socials, acting as "feed" to his sister Carol. His elder brother, Fred Secombe, was the author of several books about his experiences as an Anglican priest and rector.

British Army

After leaving school in 1937, Secombe became a pay clerk at Baldwin's store. In 1938 he joined the Territorial Army, serving as a Lance Bombardier in the Royal Artillery. He would refer to the unit in which served during World War II in the North African Campaign, Sicily, and Italy as "The Five-Mile Snipers".[5]

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