Joe died on 17 July 2000 as a consequence of a heart attack a few days earlier. He was 84.
He enlisted into the Cavalry of the Line on 5 June 1934 and was eventually appointed to the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars where he was to form an enduring friendship with Stan Huitson.
Soon after his regiment was mechanised in 1936 Joe qualified as a driver mechanic. Promoted to Lance Corporal on 6 May 1937 he was further elevated to Corporal in 1938.
Overseas service commenced on 16 November 1940 when Joe proceeded with the 4th Hussars to the Middle East via the Cape of Good Hope and he fought with his Regiment until April 1941 when most of the officers and other ranks were captured by the German SS at Greece. He did, alas, remain a PoW until 25 May 1945.
His Army service ended on 14 February 1946 when he had completed 11 years and 255 days of service on 3 December.
Joe, who was a member of Birmingham Troop, was a great raconteur. He served in the late Loopy Kennard’s Troop and on one occasion at the conclusion of a manoeuvre he was ‘Loopy’s’ driver. He was told by the ‘great man’ – ‘Joyce, I want to be the first back to barracks’; it was a nightmare drive! On another occasion when exercising in DD tanks the then Lt Kennard said to Joe ‘see if we can knock that tree down.’ The attempt failed when the tank and its occupants came to an abrupt halt halfway up the tree!
His Army testimonial on final discharge recites ‘Conduct: Exemplary. This man has worked excellently. He has held a non-commissioned rank for eight years. He is thoroughly honest and sober and is of the good hardworking type on whom reliance can be placed.
This character reference was borne out by Joe’s later activities. The Birmingham Evening Mail for 19 July 2000 carried the headline ‘City’s greatest fundraiser dies’.
Joe who lived at Curdworth near Sutton Coldfield devoted his life to collecting money for good causes after disposing of his successful business NuTime Services in the late 1970s. A former President of the Lions of which he was a member for 35 years and a one-time President of the Royal British Legion Club in Smethwick.
Joe was also active in raising funds for the Butterfly children whose lives are ravaged by a terrible skin complaint which prevents them from being cuddled because of skin blistering on touch.
The fund administrator described Joe as ‘a man of energy and vision always prepared to assist any worthy cause. His death will leave a big gap in the lives of very many people.’ Remarks such as those bring to mind the motto of the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars – Mente et Manu.
May Joe rest in peace.
We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Joe’s widow – Mary and his sons Tony and Peter.