Josef Locke, real name Joseph McLaughlin, was born in Derry, Northern Ireland on 23rd March 1918. He came from a musical family however he was the only one of 9 children to follow a stage career. As a young boy he sang in the local church choir.
Aged 16 he joined the British army and within 18 months was promoted to sergeant. He spent sometime as a policeman in Palestine, when he returned home he joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary. he sang in local concerts and gained the nickname "the singing bobby". He got his first break in the Empire Theatre Belfast, had a contract for £7 per week and entertained the audience during scenery changes, he also acted as theatre bagge-man.
He took singing lessons with Count John McCormack's singing teacher, the great tenor later showed great interest in this young tenor's career. However the ex policeman had to leave Belfast for London in 1944. His big break came from Jack Hylton, an engagement at the Victoria Palace and this was where the name Josef Locke originated. His real name was too long for the space alloted to him on the bills. He appeared in Blackpool where he came to the attention of Victor Carne of Columbia records, millions of his recordings where sold in the UK, he appeared in many films.
A good and humourous account of his musical career can be seen in the film "Hear my Song".
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