John Hector Young came from the north-east and married before the war to a professional singer he had met when they performed together. He joined the army in 1941 and was captured that year in north Africa. Two years later he was killed while still a prisoner of war in Italy. His wife lived in Roxwell Avenue.
John was born in Birtley, County Durham on 2nd October 1907, the son of Joseph Young (born c1884) and Jane Young (nee Goodfellow) (1883-1971). The couple had married in 1905.
The 1911 census found three year-old John living with his parents at Windsor House Portobello in Birtley. At the time his father was an underground stone man in a coal mine.
On 17th May 1937 John married Jane Bradley at Bengeo in Hertfordshire.
In 1941 John joined the army where he served as Trooper 550634 in the 4th Queen's Own Hussars attached to 2nd Armoured Division. He served in north Africa and was captured at Tobruk in Libya in April 1941 and was subsequently taken to Italy as a prisoner of war.
On 1st May 1942 the Essex Chronicle reported:
“CONCERT STAR AS VILLAGE TEACHER - WAR SPLIT BRILLIANT PARTNERSHIP - BECAUSE ot the war, Miss Jennie Bradley, a well-known professional singer, is now teacher in small Essex village school.
The war has played an ironical trick upon this brilliant young contralto. Until the war she and her accompanist husband - in private life Miss Bradley is Mrs. John Hector Young, and she lives Roxwell Avenue, Chelmsford - were ideally happy.
They were doing very well in their profession as concert artistes - she sang and he played for her. They were earning £30 a week and more. The future lor them was bright indeed. Then came the war and trouble for the Youngs. A serious illness overtook the wife and the husband was called for the Forces. And so, over a year ago, Corporal Young was sent to the Middle East, leaving a delicate young wife at home. She had only partly recovered from her illness. While still recuperating, she left London to live in Chelmsford, and her health, happily, is now fully restored.
John Young is a prisoner of war in Sulmona, Italy, while Jennie is teaching at the Writtle Boys' School, where she is a great favourite. During her spare time she sings, and loves it Whole-heartedly interested in youth work, she is Deputy- Warden of the Writtle Youth Centre, and is a Warden at the Friars Youth Centre in Chelmsford.
John Hector YOUNG, Trooper, HQ Squadron, 4th Queen's Own Hussars
attached to 2nd Armoured Division. Killed in Italy. Aged 36
PUPIL SIR HENRY WOOD - Jennie Bradley is a former pupil of Sir Henry Wood. How she was "discovered" is one of those curious twists so often associated with the stage or the concert platform. While still teaching in an Essex village school, she managed to get an engagement to sing at Clacton. That was five years ago. Excited and nervous, she found herself in the same programme as Ivor Walter, Frank Titterton, and Elsie and Doris Waters. "Ivor persuaded me to give up teaching and go to London to sing instead," Miss Bradley told me. "He said my voice was worth training. Well, I went. After a time got a booking at the West Pier at Brighton. The man who is now my husband was my accompanist on that occasion, which I remember so well. It was the first time we had met. was love at first sight. His playing inspired me. I did better and better... We got to London... How happy we were - singing through life together. Then came the war, my illness, and John's departure."
Sadly Jennie Bradley was never to see John again. On 8th December 1943 he was killed as a result of aerial bombing. He was 36 years old. When news of his death reached home it was the only news that had been received since his capture.
At the time of his death John's wife was a singer for the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA), with the stage name of Miss Jennie Bradley. She lived at 8 Roxwell Avenue in Chelmsford.
Today John lies in grave III. F. 20 at Ancona War Cemetery in Italy.