The Story Behind A Cover

I recently bought a number of covers from an Indian dealer which included an Air Mail cover addressed to J W Young Esq, OBE.  My interest was aroused when I read the second and third lines of the address: ‘Finance Member, Jodhpur State Council.  The cover was addressed to 16 St James Square, London, SW1.  I wondered who J W Young was and what he was doing in London in December 1933.

I began a search on the internet and came across worldstatesmen.org.  Within the Jodhpur section I found listed under ‘Dewans (Chief Ministers)’ James Wolston Young has served in this capacity between 9 July 1932 and 1934.  Being brought up properly I searched for other entries to confirm this information.  The ‘Report On The Administration Of The Jodhpur State for the year 1932-33’ states in Chapter 1 (3) 14. ‘Mr. J. W. Young, O.B.E., Acting Vice President and Finance Official.  Member, State Council, left for England, on November 5th, 1932, to attend the Third Session of the Round Table Conference and returned on January 20th 1933.’

I was able to access the India Office List for 1929 and found Mr Young within its Pages. 

I next learned from the UK National Archive site that Mr Young had died in 1934.  The entry reads: ‘File 279-P(S)/1934 Death of Mr. J.W. Young, Chief Minister Jodhpur State and the question of appointment of his successor. Relaxation of Article 759, C.S.R., in favour of Lt. Colonel D.M. Field in order to permit him to retire voluntarily from British Service and to continue in the service of the Jodhpur State’.

A further search revealed an obituary for Mr Young.  He was a founder member of the Himalayan Club and its first Honorary Treasurer.  The obituary is contained in The Himalayan Journal, Volume 7, published in 1935:

‘Peter Young, as he was known to his friends, was a son of the late B. J. Young of Richmond Park, Sheffield, and was born on the 18th September 1885. He was educated at Stonyhurst College, . 1 ml then went to South Africa. In 1909 he entered the Indian Audit and Accounts Service and was posted to Bihar. During the Great War he was at Simla, working under Sir Bhupendra Nath Mitra, (he present High Commissioner for India, in the Military Finance Department; and he was made an O.B.E. for his services. After .mother short period of duty in Bihar, he was lent to Jodhpur State, where he spent the last ten years of his life. As Accountant-General, as Finance Member of the State Council, and finally as Chief Minister, he was a watchful guardian of the State’s resources and a prudent administrator who had the complete confidence of the Durbar. He was adviser to the Indian States’ Delegation at the second and third sessions of the Round Table Conference, when his knowledge of State finance, his caution and good sense were of great value. Returning to India, he was seriously ill and was forced to go back to England again in the spring of 1934 for an operation which his devotion to duty and the interests of Jodhpur had dangerously postponed. He died after the operation on the 23rd May.

Young was not a mountaineer in the technical sense, but he enjoyed a trek through mountain country. He was a Founder Member of the Himalayan Club, its first Honorary Treasurer, and a member of an informal committee which met at Simla in the summer of 1928 to draft the Rules and Articles of Association. The Club was fortunate to have in its early days a financial adviser of his quality, and will remember him with gratitude.’

G. L. Corbett

Young had been in London In December 1932 as a member of the Jodhpur delegation at the Indian Round Table Conference Third Session which ran from 17th Novemebr 1932 until 24th December 1932.  He had also attended the Second Session between September and December 1931.

India Round Table Conference, Second Session, 1932

The origin of the cover is impossible to ascertain as the cancellations were applied at an angle and the location of the town it was posted in is therefore missing.  The cancellation is dated Tuesday 13 December 1932, so is likely to have been carried on the weekly Imperial Airways service which departed Karachi on Wednesday each week.  Depending on the logistic of the cover arriving in Karachi it would have been carried on the flight on Wednesday 14 December or Wednesday 21 December.  The service normally arrived at Croydon Airport the following Tuesday.  Therefore the earliest the cover could have arrived in the UK would have been 20th December.