John Moss was the full-time Young Communist League National Secretary in the 1950s. The role would be renamed `General Secretary’ later in YCL history.
Before he was National Secretary of the YCL, he was the
Communist Party’s National Student Organiser, although it is unclear
when he started that job and when he became YCL National Secretary.
But he was certainly Student Organiser during the period 1948-1950.
During the 1950 general election he was election agent for Paddy O’Connor, who was the Party's candidate for the Kettering, Northamptonshire, constituency.
Further biographical detail is to be found below.
The photograph of the YCL National Committee below was taken outside the 16 King Street headquarters of the Party was before John Moss was its National Secretary. Numbering from left to right: no 3 is Ben Birnbaum, no 5 is John Moss, no 13 is Ivy Goss and no 16 is Monty Johnstone. Bill Brooks, who was actually the YCL National Secretary then, does not seem to be in the picture. Reader identification of any names of persons depicted would be very welcome. For comparative information, the 1950 YCL National Committee was composed of:
V. Alabaster, D, Atkinson, B Birnbaum, R Bosley, Bill Brooks, Les Cannon, B Carritt, J Clarke, Monty Cohen, (Challenge editor), I Cooper, W Davis (Llanelli?), Vic Eddisford (Manchester), J (John?) Evans, Roy Gadsby (PorthRhondda), J Glenn, R Godson, J(oe)? Harris (Birmingham), J Henderson, S Kaufman, John Moss, Dick Nettleton, J Oates, Violet Potter (Essex), B Riach, F Schwartz, B Seabrooke, J. Stafford, P. Thompson, D. Whitfield, B Wilkins, T Woods.
The daughter of John Moss, Julia Smith, provides more information:
John Frederick Moss (pictured left in 1963) was born in Truro, Cornwall, on 22nd July 1924, but spent a large part of his early years in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy in what is now Greater Manchester but was then Lancashire. He attended Manchester Grammar School and later gained his degree from what is now UMIST. He did not serve in the forces in World War Two because his studies came under the definition of a reserved occupation. He did serve in the Home Guard and claimed that he had a lot in common with the character of Pike in Dad's Army.
I have not yet been able to find out when he first became a member of the Party but he was certainly a politically active member by the time he met my mother shortly after the war in the Stafford Labour Club. He married my mother, June, on 30th October 1948. My mother supported my father and was a member of YCL and the Party herself. They both travelled in central and eastern Europe in the immediate post-war period to support rebuilding, such with the railway line in Yugoslavia, and to attend world youth festivals. They had two children, myself, born in 1960 and my sister, Katie, who died when she was twelve years old.
After finishing as YCL National Secretary, he went to work for the Daily Worker and stood in elections for both the Greater London Council and for parliament in the late 50s and early 60s. I can remember helping to fold and deliver flyers through doors in the local area. Dad once took me into William Rust House, in Farringdon, late at night so I could see Morning Star being 'put to bed' and the first few copies of the paper being printed. I can recall Party members coming to our home and often spent time as a child on anti (Vietnam) war marches and going to Party events. This included some events I later was able to boast about, such as meeting Soviet cosmonauts! For a time, he acted as the paper's Science Correspondent.
He left to work for Electrical Review in the early 70 but was editor of `British-Soviet Friendship' for many years and remained a member of the Party. My mother left the Party in the late 1950s, or possibly early 1960s, because of its attitude towards women. My father died on 5th September 1983.
Sources: Party archives and also information from Betty and Chris Birch
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