1980s >> 1984 >> no-955-march-1984

Obituaries: Joyce Millen and Frank Offord

We regret to report the death of these two comrades who served us over many years. Both were originally members of the Bloomsbury Branch before and during the War years of 1939-45.

Joyce was the secretary of the branch, in addition to her work at Head Office which was situated at that time at Rugby Chambers, Holborn. She served on the Propaganda Committee for some considerable time, and was jointly responsible for the organisation of the 1945 General Election meetings in North Paddington, the main feature of which were two large meetings at the Metropolitan Music Hall, Edgware Road, which were the largest ever held by the Party. There was an attendance of 1,700 at each meeting, and a number of people were unable to get in. She spoke both indoors and outdoors. Her lecture on “Anti-Semitism”, given in 1943 at the Trade Union Club, was a classic which in the opinion of the writer has never been bettered. She was a woman of caustic wit and a very sharp tongue but beneath this facade was a very generous person, and absolutely dedicated to the socialist cause. Latterly, her domestic life, and the bringing up of a family, caused her to drop out of the mainstream of activity but she retained her membership which covered a period of nearly 45 years. Her sudden death at the early age of 67 came as a shock — we had the best of her.

Frank Offord was Party auditor for a number of years, and was one of the back room boys of the Party. Some of his early life had been spent in China, and he wrote and spoke on various aspects of the conditions there. Together with the late Ted Kersley, he was the mainspring of the New Premises Committee, and it was he who discovered our present Head Office at 52 Clapham High Street. When the lease at Rugby Chambers expired it was this Committee that organised the move, much of the expense of which was paid by Frank out of his own pocket. It was he who introduced films to be used in conjunction with socialist lectures. Ill-health prevented him in the last few years from carrying on any Party activity.

Jim D’Arcy

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