Alfred Joseph 'Joe' Sweeting was born in Broomfield and went to Chelmsford's grammar school. He married in Chelmsford late in 1941 when already in the army. He was captured by the Japanese in 1943 and died in their hands in northern Borneo in March 1945.
Joe was born in Broomfield in 1904, the son of James Sweeting (1863-1931) and Mary Maria Sweeting (nee Devenish) (1862-1944). He was baptised at St. Mary’s Church in Broomfield on 20th March 1904.
His parents, both born in Woodham Walter, had married in 1892.
Joe's siblings included Alice Mary Sweeting (1893-1959), Harry Sweeting (born 1896), Mabel Jane Sweeting (1898-1991) and Devenish James Sweeting (1901-1976).
In 1911 the census found seven year-old Joe with his parents and siblings at Clay Pits in Broomfield. His father was a cowman on a farm - he worked for nearly 40 years for Mr. J. Christy of Prior's Farm, Broomfield.
Joe was educated at King Edward VI's Grammar School in Chelmsford.
On 5th November 1941, by special licence, Joe married Doris Edith Hedges (1908-1990) at Chelmsford. She was the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hedges of Patching Hall Lane, Chelmsford.
Joe was already serving as Private 10541432 in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, and was later attached to 21 A.A. Regt. Royal Artillery.
Alfred Joseph SWEETING, Private, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, attached to 21 A.A. Regiment,
Royal Artillery. Killed in Borneo while a prisoner of war in Japanese hands. Aged 41
Joe was captured by the Japanese in 1943. In July 1944 his wife received news from him after almost two and a half years. He was then in camp in Borneo and in excellent health. Sadly that was not to last, and Joe died at Sandakan Camp in northern Borneo, aged 41, on 29th March 1945 apparently one of 800 victims of a brutal forced march.
At the time of his death his wife was living at Patching Hut in Patching Hall Lane, Chelmsford. News of his death did not reach home until October 1945.
Joe has no known grave and is commemorated by the Broomfield British Legion, King Edward VI's Grammar School war memorials, on a stained glass window at St. Mary’s Church in Broomfield, and the Singapore Memorial.