WILLIAMS,  Bruce Alfred (aka Eddie Latta)  [1902-1972]

Bruce Alfred Williams was born on 23rd November 1902 at 25 Great George Place L1 (now demolished), the son of William Robert Williams, a carriage proprietor, and his wife Jean. Bruce’s father had established a funeral director business, trading as W R Williams and Bruce would eventually run the business alongside his brother Stanley. They had premises close to Toxteth Park Cemetery, on the corner of the Smithdown Road - Hartington Road junction. In 1928 he married Josephine Hazeldon and they had a number of homes in South Liverpool, eventually spending over 30 years at 10 Druids Cross Road L18, a pleasant semi close to Calderstones Park. He died on the 21st July 1972, probate records showing his estate as £11,965. It seems a tidy life in an essential but somewhat sombre line of work. But there was more to this man than meets the eye.

Enter his alter ego, Eddie Latta. It is hard to imagine a stranger second string for an undertaker to pursue but under this name Bruce Williams wrote a host of comedy hit songs for the film and musical star George Formby. His compositions include some of Formby’s biggest hits, such as Grandad’s Flannelette Nightshirt, Aunty Maggie’s Remedy, and Mr Wu’s An Air Raid Warden Now. Many of the songs he wrote for Formby featured in the star’s hugely successful films.

In his autobiography comedy writer Eddie Braben recalled meeting with Bruce Williams who was a close friend of his ‘Uncle Billy’ (Billy Matchett). When he found out about the existence of the Eddie Latta side of his life he was greatly surprised, “I have this picture of Mr Williams the undertaker standing in church next to a client and as the congregation is singing ‘Now the day has ended’ Bruce is thinking ‘I might write a song about a window cleaner’ (although that song wasn’t one of Latta’s)

His two roles merged when he was asked, due to his close association with Formby, to make the arrangements for his funeral in 1961.

Williams’ family lived at 1 Menlove Avenue L18. After his marriage their first home was 46 Ferndale Road L15, moving to 179 Brodie Avenue L18 in the 1930’s and then 10 Druids Cross Road L18 from the late 1930’s until his death in 1972.

1 Menlove Avenue L18

Williams lived here with his parents in the 1920's..

46 Ferndale Road L15

Williams' home after his marriage in 1928.

179 Brodie Avenue L18

Williams' home during the 1930's.

10 Druids Cross Road L18

Williams and his wife moved here in the late 1930's and lived here until his death in 1972.

A cutting from the Liverpool Evening Express  [8th February 1941]


There is little to be found on the internet beyond the limited Wikipedia entry. You can see George Formby singing Grandad's Flannelette Nightshirt in the film Let George Do It [1940] on YouTube.