The first single off his second solo album, “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” was intended to be a nostalgic piece by McCartney. The uncle Albert of the title was his actual uncle, while Admiral Halsey was American Navy Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, who served with great distinction in the Pacific during World War Two.
The song – only the second single to be released by McCartney since the dissolution of the Beatles – quickly reached number one on both the US and UK charts, and acheived gold status shortly thereafter. It is notably one of only three singles to be credited to Paul and Linda McCartney – the following year’s album would be the first from Wings.
William Halsey Jnr was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in 1904. In the years that followed, he rose through the ranks. By the end of World War One, he was a Lieutenant Commander, and at the time of Pearl Harbour, he was a Vice-Admiral.
Throughout most of World War Two, he commanded the American and Allied forces in the South Pacific as Admiral of the Third Fleet. Notably, he was the ranking officer in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, where American forces triumphed despite a number of errors of judgement on Halsey’s part.
He was present for Japan’s formal surrender on September 2, 1945 – indeed, the USS Missouri, was Halsey’s flagship. He retired from active duty in 1947, and died twelve years later, to be buried in Arlington Cemetary in Washington DC.