A diverse collection of 70 short stories published after his death is a tribute to the many talents of Ralph Hill.
Observer readers will remember him as a regular contributor to the Letters Page and the Just a Minute column.
He was an active resident of Bexhill for some 50 years and a teacher at the Down Boys School/Bexhill High School.
At the time of his death Ralph was negotiating the publication of stories he had written over the years; and this has now happened.
Amusing and often pointed and covering a range of genres, ‘I Don’t Believe a Word of It’ - one of his hallmark phrases - can be purchased as an e-book from the Amazon bookstore for £3.99.
Ralph was born and brought up in Tottenham and when old enough volunteered to join the Royal Navy. After training as a signalman he was posted to a destroyer escorting convoys to and from the mid-Atlantic, the Azores and Iceland. He served on an Arctic Convoy to Murmansk and subsequently his ship provided close support to the D-Day landings, fighting convoys through to the beachheads He spent a year in Australia serving on Admiral Fraser’s staff.
On demobilisation he became a teacher at Westminster College, London, where he joined the college dance band, gained awards for swimming and became a qualified life-saver.
He married in 1951 and his three children were all born in Waltham Cross.
In 1952 he moved to Bexhill and joined the staff of the Down Boys School where he taught English and music, but found particular satisfaction in teaching slower learners. Many will still remember the outings he organised - walking from the Firehills in Hastings to Winchelsea, visiting Rye, Lewes, and the Norfolk Broads. He composed a number of school musicals including ‘Emmaus’ and ‘Samson and Delilah.’
In the late sixties he embarked on a correspondence degree course and achieved a BA in English. He had a wide range of interests, and could play many musical instruments - organ, guitar, flute, guitar, clarinet, piano, trombone, and recorders. He was a keen gardener. He took up wood-carving and made a fine chess set. He was a keen genealogist and became a proficient “silver surfer” exploiting Information Technology to produce a lengthy autobiography. He retained strong memories of his time in the Navy and was an active member of the RNA.
He became a committed member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and served as an Elder and Clerk for several years.
He was awarded the Ushakov medal for service on the Arctic Convoys but sadly did not live to receive it in person.