Joe Collins joined the Army in September 1946 and after training with the 54th Training Regiment was posted to the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars in May 1947.
He was subsequently posted to the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars in August 1948 just prior to that Regiment’s departure for Malaya on the troopship ‘Dilwara’.
During the period August 1948 – December 1951 he saw active service in the Malayan jungle and also served in Hong Kong and Singapore mainly as part of 5th Troop ‘C’ Squadron. He was Mentioned in Despatches in October 1951.
Returning from the Far East, Joe served with the 4th Hussars in Hohne from September 1953 until the amalgamation with the 8th Hussars in October 1958. During this period his expertise as a gunnery instructor was very much in evidence as troop sergeant of the Conqueror Troop.
He was a keen, competitive and natural sportsman who excelled in athletics, football and basketball for which he won many competitions and awards. As goalkeeper of the Regimental football team, his presence alone was worth a goal before the game had started. His very presence gave the rest of the team and many spectators confidence in our ability to win.
Following amalgamation service in Aden, Malaysia and Borneo he continued to serve in The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars.
After 24 years of long and loyal service, he retired from the Army in April 1970.
On his retirement, he worked for Dexion, the steel rack company as a progress manager, where he was extremely well thought of. Unfortunately, through illness he had a leg amputated and decided to take early retirement. While living in retirement in Hemel Hempstead his mobility car, which had been adapted for him, was stolen from outside his home (presumably by a one-legged thief he thought).
This was too much for Joe who decided to move and retire to peaceful Devon, where he lived until his death through a heart attack on 24 February 1995 at the young age of 66.
Joe was every inch a soldier who took great pride in his turnout which was immaculate. He was very tall and because of his height and bearing was always the right marker on a parade. He loved the Sergeants’ Mess life and was an active supporter who threw a mean dart. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and our sympathies go to his wife Sheila and all her family of Sue, Janet, Jeffrey and Mick.