Click here to see a video by Robert Haig Kitson of both this page and Joe feature of his live story

Capt Joseph Eastwood MBE CQSW
5th November 2017

Joe was the Editor and with Colin Boutty made this LF Web Site
The best on the Internet
Also read Joe's Life story
Click here

Pallbearers Peter Barton, David Barber, Arthur Eastwood, Sam Eastwood, Phil Massam, and Peter Stericker

Raymond Cunningham

Dear Friends,

May I on behalf of Joseph’s family extend a warm sincere welcome to you all.
Many of you have travelled long distances to pay your respects to our beloved Joseph, and
seeing so many of you here is a sure sign of how loved and respected he was.

My closest and dearest friend Joseph and I have experienced much since our first meeting in 1971 just outside the main gates of Brook Barracks Berlin.

I would need hours to explain the occasional heartaches together with immense fun and joy we have both shared over the years. Sadly time now will not permit that but I will be around should anyone have questions later.

Joseph and I were in Bury a few years ago with our happy gang -Des Sinclare, David Prince and Keith Benner. We were probably in Wetherspoons or the White Lion I forget which but once seated with a drink I overheard a old group of Fusiliers at a nearby table remark in subtle tones as only Fusiliers can that we in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are

“All Brothers from Different Mothers” I instantly loved that statement very much because I thought it so true.

Joseph and myself enjoyed many years attending together past and present gatherings of Fusiliers going to Bassingbourne, Catterick, Birmingham and of course countless times to his beloved Bury.
Always meeting up with the gang and all our dear friends who live in Bury and surrounding area.

Joseph,I and the gang were also now blessed with a much loved addition to our group a chap called Allan Stott and together we all travelled several times to visit the battlefields of the Somme, Ypres and later Monte Cassino in Italy to pay our respects to our fallen heroes.
We always managed to have great fun and laughter after we payed due homage and respect to the fallen.

From the bottom of my heart I tell you that Joseph and myself were closer than family. Joseph,Jane and Alice Violet became my family years ago.

As I sat by Joseph’s bed in Addenbrooks Hospital frequently holding his hand occasionally moistening his lips with water the time was the early hours of Saturday 4th of November my mind took me back to remember the countless times that Joseph was always the leading light ,a gifted orator,a Witty funny man, creative and possessed of an immense intellect and intelligence, always able to solve a problem and provide wise council.

My mind then moved for a reason I know not onto Joes garden which I have walked in sat in and with Joe drank large amounts of alcohol in, I have also helped pull out large amounts of weeds.

If you have never had the good fortune to walk with Joseph in his garden which he adored he would irritatingly always describe a flower or shrub by its scientific name which I never had a clue what he was on about for me the plant/flower was either blue green red or yellow. Joseph eventually would tell me what the hell the plant was in Fusilier speak.

Whilst all this was buzzing around in my head I started to sob only to shortly feel a comforting arm of the night duty nurse on my shoulder she said nice words and I must say the staff were wonderful to Joseph his family and all who came to see him.

To end my friends I would like to read a piece written by Canon Henry Scott Holland in 1915 which for me says what is in my heart.


Death is nothing at all it does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was, I am I and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.

Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity, or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laugh at the jokes that we enjoyed together,play,smile,think of me, pray for me, let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effort, without ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant.

What is death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well.nothing is hurt. Nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall all laugh at the trouble of parting when we all meet again.

God Bless Mon Brave Your Friend Ray.

David Prince

I first became aware of Joe in June 1971 when he came to visit some old friends and acquaintances, before joining 2 RRF following his tour as Instructor at RMA Sandhurst. At that time The Bn were still in but preparing to leave Berlin for Catterick but an initial 18 man Shooting Team were at Folkestone preparing for Bisley. On that day I was running a practice from an ETR control console when the door opened and in came a tanned, fit looking Sgt who immediately began a laughing and joking conversation with another Sgt who was sat at the back of the control room. After a few minutes of mirth and merriment going on behind me I turned and asked if they minded quietening down a little as I was trying to concentrate on running the practice. Bursts of more mirth and merriment resound around the control room "no we don't mind, you just carry on" was the quick retort from Joe! They then continued with their chatting and laughter but they did so as they got up and left, leaving me in peace to get on with the practice.

I've always remembered that 'introduction' and although it would be another two years before I got better acquainted with Joe, when he became my CSM, what remained with me from that first fleeting meeting, to be reinforced later, was of someone who had an infectious sparkle about him; there was humour and intelligence in his eyes and the overall impression was of a person who loved and was largely at ease with life, something he maintained even through those difficult and sometimes dark times that would periodically occur throughout his life. Also evident on that first day was the clear enjoyment of each other's company that existed between those two 'mischievous' Sgt's; something that also largely remained throughout his life. That second Sgt was his 'best mate', Ray Cunningham.

Joe had two great "family" loves, as all who knew him know; his late wife Vivian, daughter Jane and granddaughter Alice being one, the other was the wider LF family and he was equally passionate and protective of both. However, while being an 'ardent' support and defender of 'his' beloved LFs and his time serving in them, he was equally clear that his most challenging, difficult, frightening (at times) but ultimately satisfying and rewarding period of his service was with 2 RRF, particularly during the tenure of the late Lt-Gen J C Reilly. And while he no longer wore the visible insignia of "his" LF's, he still took a great deal of pride and satisfaction from the undoubted contribution that those former LF's, who like him had joined the 2nd Bn, made during that period, and later.

I last served with Joe in January 1975, while he was still my CSM, although we had a brief period working together during the Bn's Armagh tour in late 1976 but as with so many former service friends and colleagues, our lives took different, divergent paths and it wasn't until mid-2011 that chance and circumstance brought us back in touch again. Since that time we'd developed a very close, and to me special, relationship, one that I've thoroughly enjoyed and gained much from. When we weren't able to get together at one of the regular dinners he arranged in Bury, he'd plan and organise other trips to go on, and in between time we'd talk, sometimes for hours on Skype, discussing and chewing over a myriad of differing topics and subjects, from history, psychology through to horticulture and politics, and life generally.

Joe loved those get-togethers in Bury and trips in the company of some of his "friends", he said they 're-charged his batteries and re-invigorated him', even with the reoccurrence of his cancer and the limitations it placed on him. We'd planned another for this last October which he was really excited about and looking forward to but when he had to finally admit that he wouldn't be able to go, he was hearted broken.

Joe freely admitted that he'd made mistakes along the way, both personally and professionally; most of which he was largely philosophical about. During our frequent 'chats' he'd occasionally reflect on what course his life might have taken had he made a few different choices, or the roll of the dice been different; only to quickly realise that it wouldn't have been the one he'd ultimately had. So on refection and while he did have regrets, he was at ease with his life and didn't overly dwell on 'what might have been'.

I last saw Joe, to talk to, when I visited him and we had a 'chat' and a wander in his garden (another thing he loved, as Ray has mentioned) in early October and although he enjoyed his "chums" and family visiting, it soon became clear that my visit was taxing and draining his strength. Deciding to leave him to his rest, I stood to say farewell when he took my hand and looked me in the eye saying, "I always knew you were special right from those early days". I initially stood mute not knowing how to respond…by the time I'd recovered my wits and composure and was about to, he'd fallen asleep. I never got to say what I should and would have, so I will say it now, "not me Joe…you were the special one", which he was to many who knew him. I'd also like to think that he would have enjoyed the play-with-words, particularly in view of the current manager of his favoured Premier League team - he was a firm MU fan! (language and it's usage was something else he loved)

I have had few close friends, those who I'd trust with everything, Joe was not only one of those, he was at the top of a very, short list and I was going to finish by simply saying farewell to my friend - but Joe wasn't just my friend, he was also a friend to a great many people; so I'll conclude by saying FAREWELL OUR FRIEND and while you're already missed, you'll not be forgotten.

Jane and Alice Eastwood

Joe Eastwood. A good brave Soldier, a solid decent gentleman. Great company and confidante. All this being an accurate description of this boyhood plan
Now here he was, sitting on a bed of eight, each identical to one another
Learning how to flatten the pimples on his boots, Kiwi and small circles.
Use a candle lad, he was informed by an older and wiser man if you are to avoid bother
And sleep on the floor tonight son, so your kit can be laid out for Sgt Carruther.
Time moved quickly on, his body growing, his confidence too and muscles harder
The assault course and live firing, all quickly learned and masteredfine man, but might I take some of our precious time together today to describe him from a completely different setting
Describe Dad in one word…. PASSIONATE
" A Romantic, who devoted his heart to my wonderful Mum Vivienne and continued to demonstrate his love of her in writing
It is 0315 hrs, A streets are empty and quiet. In A East, towards A fens, A sky is awakening to a blue and golden sunrise. A very early blackbird chatters her anger at something only she can see. My thoughts stray to this day 10 years ago when life for me underwent A most profound change. Vivienne died 10 years ago today. Just as I knew it would not, time did not heal my pain, I have not fallen in love again. how could I ? I am still in love with that vivacious beautiful caring girl who loved me so much and illuminated my life. She gave me my Daughter Jane whom I adore and, through her, My granddaughter Alice who grows visibly before my eyes into a wonderful young woman. Thank you, Viv, and God Bless.
" A Gardener he would say "My favourite occupation and place in the world" With an astonishing depth of knowledge of flora and fauna
" An angler. A most competitive fisherman with his Brother Uncle Arthur, "come on lash that water to foam!"
" An empathetic poet.
This was some of his writing for those who received the letter asking you to cooperate in harassing our veterans

To follow his father into "The Regiment" had been his

feeling good.
Soon the boy that was, could not be seen, in his place stood a young fit soldier
Trained and sharp, quick to react, learning the command of men on Cadre
Our boy is a Cpl now, with respect both ways and Father proud as well he should.
News of coming active service met with joy and trepidation too.
Older heads had been before….. They knew.
But our boy knew that he was part of the best Company of the best Battalion
Whatever lay ahead, he could rely on the Army to back him all the way, or So they said.
Success was his, a wife and kids in time and end of service, medals to proudly wear.
On special days in his town, standards round the square, life was good, a veteran now was he
He often thought of his old chums when they fought for life and liberty.
The fun, strength, the singing full of beer, the going in where others would not dare.
Grey of hair and slightly rounder, his back still straight, RBL Commander
Grandchildren round to play and admire their hero Gramps
Until the day the letter came from out the blue,
Gave new meaning to the phrase" Your Country needs you"
It seems they wanted him to tell them everything he heard and saw!
About his mates and how they had behaved, in and out of camps.
Sick at heart as realisation slowly dawned, he had been conned.
His beloved Country intent upon soothing the old enemy, if Gramps the whistle blew.
He looked at old pics, fresh faced boy, shed a tear and gently closed his medal drawer.

" A London Marathon runner ironically raising funds for Macmillan Cancer charity
" A boxer…. You should have seen the other guy!
" An antiques dealer again ever learning and researching until he had a wealth of incredible knowledge
" A musician. We would sing harmonies together with our guitars and bash out Beatles, Everly Brothers, Dylan
" A comedian. All those roars of belly busting laughter at various Minden, Gallipoli and Remembrance Parades. Blackpool Veterans week!
" A quiz master…. An apple off my sideboard if you can recall a face smiling through a B&W torn photo

" A Good Samaritan he wrote
"I do not care how many times people, (including some of my best friends) tell me that it is a waste of my money to try and help people I find living on the streets. Of course, I know that some will use my gift to buy more of what already is crippling Am, please do not make A mistake of thinking that I am in some way daft or mentally deficient because I see these poor wretched individuals as broken people in a broken society. For pities sake, lets recognise that A bell tolls for each of us at A end, Next time you see someone in dire straits, give him a hand, try it, you will get more out of your action than he does. It makes you human, a warm caring thinking human, God Bless A homeless, one and all."
" A Politician. We all recall seeing him fired up with passion at THAT conservative Party Conference fighting to keep A RRF Family alive, "Its foot soldiers you need!"
" A Historian. Visiting Battle Fields with mates I see before me today. His researching for people worldwide enabling Am to trace Air own fallen soldiers
" A social worker, as a child protection officer rescuing Children from predators that lurked
" A counsellor, always had room in his jug for anyone in need of a shoulder to cry on and to offer do differently
" A Dad. Nothing more nothing less, you didn't need to be you were, always a hero

SO onward Christian Soldier, we ALL stand and applaud to thank you and love you.


Menin Gate 2015

Dukinfield 2016

Outside Bury Town Hall 2016 Remembrance Parade

Rochdale 2015

Ray Alice and Joe

Colonel Ian Brazier (left) and Captain Joe Eastwood of the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment Fusiliers heckle defence secretary Philip Hammond