War veteran performs with Alfie Boe on TV to realise singing dream aged 98December 12, 2018
A Dunkirk veteran who had to give up a singing career to fight in the war has told of his joy at duetting with Alfie Boe on TV.
Victor Chanter was about to hit the big time when hostilities with Germany broke out in 1939 and he joined the Navy to stem the fascist tide sweeping Europe.
But fame has come calling for a second time, at the age of 98, when tenor Alfie joined him for a sing-song on Channel 4’s Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds.
And Alfie, half of the duo Ball and Boe with Michael Ball, was hugely impressed.
Alfie, 45, said: “Is he better than Michael Ball? Absolutely he was. It’s going to be Victor and Alfie next. He’s an amazing guy. He’s quite a showman, he’s obviously done this before.
“He brought the house down. It was a pleasure to meet him.”
Victor revealed Alfie, who has a new album called As Time Goes By, was a “surprise for everyone” in the home.
Victor said: “That was very nice, I didn’t expect that. I was surprised by the range of his voice, it was rather something special.”
Speaking of his own career that was cut short, he said: “I happened to have a voice apparently and people thought I could sing. We had a small group.
“We were supposed to be on the radio as they didn’t have television in those days but unfortunately there was a war going on and we were split up.”
But Victor, who was brought up in Yorkshire and is a fans’ favourite in the old folks’ home show, admitted he was “relieved” he never became famous.
He said: “I’m so glad it didn’t happen earlier because it might have turned my head. I was in the entertainment business and I kept things semi-pro. I have a lovely family life, I’ve seen so much of people who have hit the big time early on and they never had a good family life at all. I’ve had everything I could really want in life.”
Victor told how he was lucky to survive Dunkirk, where thousands of troops were rescued from a French beach by a flotilla of small British boats.
He said: “I was very fortunate. To be on the beach the whole week, I was helping others off then we realised we’ve got to get off as well.
“It was terrible trying to get enough boats and rafts because you got the troops on board the rescue vessel then you would hope it would come back for you but often we never saw them again.”
After VE Day, Victor married Marjorie, a Women’s Royal Naval Service veteran, and the couple had four daughters. He later became a school photographer, a dental mechanic and an insurance rep.
- Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds at Christmas is on Wednesday, December 12, at 9pm.
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