Pallbearers Peter Barton, David Barber, Arthur
Eastwood, Sam Eastwood, Phil Massam, and Peter Stericker
I on behalf of Josephs 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
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.
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.
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
Brothers from Different Mothers I instantly loved that statement
very much because I thought it so true.
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.
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
We always managed to have great fun and laughter after we payed
due homage and respect to the fallen.
the bottom of my heart I tell you that Joseph and myself were
closer than family. Joseph,Jane and Alice Violet became my family
I sat by Josephs 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
IS NOTHING AT ALL
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.
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.
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.
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
Bless Mon Brave Your Friend Ray.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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
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
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)
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
A good brave Soldier, a solid decent gentleman. Great company
and confidante. All this being an accurate description of this
Now here he was, sitting on a bed of eight, each identical to
Learning how to flatten the pimples on his boots, Kiwi and small
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
" 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
LOYALTY WORKS BOTH WAYS.
To follow his
father into "The Regiment" had been his
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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
" 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
Outside Bury Town Hall 2016 Remembrance Parade
Ray Alice and Joe
Colonel Ian Brazier (left) and Captain Joe Eastwood of the 2nd Battalion
Royal Regiment Fusiliers heckle defence secretary Philip Hammond