Joe was born on 14 February 1921 and died on 7 February 2001.

He enlisted into the Cavalry of the Line as a boy soldier on 10 October 1935 and was transferred to the RAC on 11 April 1939 and 4th Hussars. He sailed with his Regiment out of Liverpool in 1940 and eventually landed in the Middle East after a voyage around the Cape of Good Hope.

After various forays into the Western Desert, Joe moved with the Regiment to Greece and it was here in April 1941 that against overwhelming odds including the airborne SS that Joe and most of the 4th Hussars were captured. There followed transportation in cattle wagons from Greece through Yugoslavia to Germany and a POW camp for the remainder of the war in Europe.

Not being of commissioned rank Joe took his place in many arduous working parties. The writer of this obituary recalls one of Joe’s anecdotes about life in the PoW camp. Joe’s party was late back into camp and thus were at the end of a very long queue at the cookhouse for the evening meal. Apparently, the fare in quality and quantity was very bad and had it not been for the Red Cross food parcels many Pows would probably have starved to death. On this occasion, Joe was anxious that the ‘meat’ stew would have finished before he reached the head of the queue.

It transpired that he was the recipient of the dregs at the bottom of the pot but his heart warmed when he felt something solid ‘plop’ into his Mess tin. He savoured the lump at the bottom of his tin and when he had devoured the watery stew he saw a donkey’s eye staring up at him from his Mess tin!

Joe with the other members of the Regiment was released on 25 May 1945, and after an appropriate amount of recuperation and leave, they rejoined the Regiment in Northern Italy Trieste in 1946.

Eventually, the 4th Hussars were moved to Northern Germany (Lubeck) and were to be stationed there until November 1947, when they sailed home and to barracks in Colchester. Within nine months Joe was posted abroad with the 4th Hussars and this time it was to tropical Malaya, where a large band of communist insurgents had styled themselves the Malayan People’s Anti-British Army and aimed to throw out British rule and impose a communist rule.

As history records elsewhere, the insurgents failed in their mission but it took 12 years to crush them. After this, Joe saw service in the UK and BAOR until his final discharge on pension in February 1961.

Joe was promoted to lance corporal in April 1946, corporal in January 1947 and sergeant in October 1947. SQMS in September 1953 and warrant officer class two in March 1957. Along with the appropriate campaign stars and medals earned by Joe, he was Mentioned in Despatches in 1950 for service in Malaya and was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

Joe was generally quiet by nature. After rejoining the 4th Hussars in 1946 and for many years thereafter, Joe was a stalwart in the QM’s department.

He married Sheila in 1950. They had a daughter in September 1952. In retirement, Joe and Sheila settled at Glastonbury, Somerset.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Timeline: Middle East (Egypt and Libya)
  3. Timeline: Middle East (Greece and Crete)
  4. Timeline: Malaya 1948-51