The Feature Page
of
Capt Joe Eastwood (Retd) BEM CQSW
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Early years.

Joe Eastwood was born in 1938 in Dukinfield Cheshire, the oldest boy in a family of 9.
He attended Old Chapel Primary School and Crescent Road Secondary School for Boys.
He passed scholarships for Hyde Grammar School at 11 plus and for Manchester Grammar School at 14, but home conditions prevented his attending these schools.
By the time he was 18 he was off the rails , had a criminal record and little self esteem or self discipline.


National Service.

He was called up for his National Service in 1956 and in an inspired posting which only those in charge of National Service could have dreamed up, he was posted to the East Surrey Regiment in Kingston Upon Thames.
In 1957 he managed to convince those in charge of his discipline, that he would perhaps be a better soldier if he did not have to spend all of the few weekends he was not in jail, hitch-hiking from Surrey to Lancashire and back again.
He spent the final miserable year of his NS at Ladysmith Barracks, the Manchester Regiment's Depot at Ashton Under Lyne Lancs.
Pte Eastwood was not a good National Serviceman, his only distinction was to reach the Light Welter Weight final of the Southern Command Boxing Championships, where he was beaten by a Cpl Brian Curvis, later destined to fight for the World Welterweight Championship.
Because of misbehaviour, Joe managed to have 2 groups added to his 2 years( NS were called up by groups, every 2 weeks and time spent in Jail did not count towards your service) so in fact he did 2 years and 4 weeks.
Vowing never to go near a uniform again, Joe made his escape into Civvy Street.


Civilian Life.


Viv at 16

After a few years of drifting around in Civvy Street Joe had the great good fortune to be drinking in the Angel Pub in Dukinfield when he heard the sound of a mediocre pop group playing at a dance upstairs.
He went up and was sold a ticket at the door by the girl friend of the bass guitarist.
Joe was stunned by her beauty, her wit, her charm and her intelligence.
Joe had met Vivienne Boutty and he quickly realised that there could be no other girl for him, so he set about getting rid of the bass guitarist and winning Vivienne.
To his amazement and everlasting joy, she consented to marry him and they wed in Hyde Registrar office, travelling to and from the venue by means of the local bus company.
Vivienne had a profound influence upon Joe's behaviour, and soon his heavy drinking and fighting became far less pronounced and he began to grow up.
The second stroke of luck in his life was about to happen.


TA Service.


Joe with 9th Bn Manchesters

Out with Vivienne one night at a local pub, he got into a conversation with Eric Ogden, a Lancashire Fusilier who had also just finished NS.
Eric told Joe wonderful tales of how much he had enjoyed his time with the LFs in Cyprus and suggested that life in uniform had not been all that bad, perhaps they should join the TA and see how it went?
The two of them went to the Armoury in Ashton Under Lyne the next day and joined the 9th Bn of The Manchester Regiment.


Winners of the Liverpool Cup


Winners of the Ashton Trophy


To his amazement, not only did he enjoy the evening and weekend training, he quickly gained promotion and in a couple of years was a Corporal in the Recce Platoon.
Eric was also a Corporal in Recce and it was Eric who one day suggested that perhaps they would do equally well if they were to join the Regular Army.
Vivienne was expecting a baby and the new pay rates for the Army were very attractive.
The CO of the Manchesters wrote a glowing reference for Joe and Eric and clutching this the pair set off to see the recruiting team in Great Ducie Street in Manchester to enlist.
Joe's love affair with the LFs was about to begin.



Hong Kong
1967

The XX
Lancashire Fusilier
Years.

Cyprus
1966

In the recruiting office Joe and Eric were greeted by a Sgt of the Manchesters, who failed to impress them one bit.
He left them hanging about waiting for some form or another and seemed more interested in his tea break than he was in signing up these two lads.
He disappeared into a back room.
Into the room strode a far different soldier!
Smart as a carrot, wearing a glorious yellow hackle, quick and efficient, they had met Sgt Jim Shaw of the XXth The Lancashire Fusiliers.
Sgt Shaw asked them what they were doing, and upon hearing that they were not yet committed, in less than 3 minutes he had signed them up to be Lancashire Fusiliers.

Depot Sutton Coldfield.


Mons Platoon
1964

Joe joined Mons Platoon at Sutton Coldfield, along with Peter Clegg, Jim Travis, Les Lunt and Bill Fingleton.
Their Platoon Sgt was Harry Derbyshire and their Corporal was Pete Lander.
There was a particular PTI at the depot (a chap from Trinidad with a large moustache, remember you bastard?) who under the guise of teaching unarmed combat enjoyed bullying the members of the platoon.
He would invite the recruits to attack him and would then beat them up.
When it was Joe's turn, he stuck a right hook on the PTI which required him to be taken to the MI room.
Shortly after this Joe was told that he would not need to finish his training and could join his Bn immediately.
The training Major was "Crash" Broughton and he ordered Joe to pack his kit and then the Major took him to Worcester in his private car.
Joe joined 13 platoon D Company, with Lt Edgar (Nosh) as his Platoon Commander and Sgt Jesse Owens as his Platoon Sgt.
Life with the 1st Bn the XXth The Lancashire Fusiliers proved to be a rapid learning curve for Joe, he quickly learned that the Battalion was choc full of characters and that if you kept your head down and shut your mouth you would be tolerated, but if you were a bit gobby, one of the many hard cases would soon shut you up!
The Bn were preparing to leave for a 10 month tour of British Guiana and the newly promoted L/Cpl Eastwood had to bid farewell to Vivienne, who was living with their daughter Jane in quarters at Lichfield.


British Guiana.


The Magnificent 7 on the Canje Pheasant

The Bn were split into Company and Platoon locations, D Coy were based first at Legionnaires in the centre of the capital, Georgetown.
The Companies were rotated through a series of these locations, ostensibly to keep the peace between rival political and ethnic factions but in reality having the greatest holiday of all time.
The weather was hot, the time was almost free, they were young and fit, the ladies were available and the rum was as cheap as the coke they drank with it.
Many went sick from the effects of 10 months of overdoing these freely available pleasures, and a number were destined for mental health hospitals before the tour was over.
Each Company went in turn to a battle camp at Takama, on the edge of the great grass plains called the Savannah.
Following an NCO's Cadre at Atkinson field (the BG airport) Joe was promoted to Corporal and took charge of 1 Section in 13 Platoon.
D Company was commanded by Major John Davis, and the CSM was WO2 Ted Townley, Joe had great regard for both of these wise older soldiers.
Many exciting and lurid tales are told of the LFs time in BG, but they are not for this feature.
10 months is a long time, and it was with some relief that Joe prepared to return to Vivienne and his baby daughter Jane, their next posting would be to Weeton Camp near Blackpool.


Weeton Camp


NTAC 1 Brecon

Following some leave, Joe and his family moved to married quarters in Weeton Camp, living at Number 76 Cosford Street.
There followed the busiest period of Joe's military career,.
The 1st Bn LFs were due to leave for Hong Kong in December 1967 and Joe completed 4 All Arms Courses in that time, including Small Arms at Hythe and the Pilot Course for what would become the Senior NCO's Tactics Course, this pilot was named NTAC 1 and was run by the Para Battle School at Brecon.

In December 1966 Joe gained promotion to Sgt, just 2 years and 2 months since his first day with the Bn as a Fusilier.
He spent the next year in B Company which at Weeton was Training Wing, running Junior NCO/ GPMG/Tactics Cadres and going on yet more courses !
In December 1967 took his family to join the 1st Bn in Hong Kong (he had been unable to travel with the main body due to yet another course !).
Joe escorted a number of LF wives with new babies who had been unable to go with the main body..


Hong Kong.


Joe on his Ferret

Hill 152 on the throne

Joe and Vivienne and daughter Jane were given a wonderful married quarter on the eighth floor of a block of luxury flats at Vista Panorama, Kowloon Tong.
The veranda looked out over Hong Kong Harbour towards the island, and was simply beautiful.


The view from our balcony

Joe began work in training Wing but very shortly had a new job as Platoon sergeant of the Recce Platoon, based at Erskine Camp.
Recce Platoon gave many wonderful opportunities to the lucky members, they got around much more and had the added bonus of owning 4 Ferrets.
Joe had two good Platoon Commanders during his time in Recce Platoon, David Digges and Mike Murray.
There was one short period when there were no Officers available and Joe had his first experience of commanding a Platoon.
Joe went off to the Jungle Warfare Instructors course at Kota Tingi , Jahore Baru in Malaysia, which had a fascinating mix of instructors and students from the UK, America, New Zealand and Nepal.
Later, each of the Companies of the 1st Bn from Hong Kong rotated through the JWS, under the care of the newly qualified JW instructors.
What would have been the most wonderful of times was however to be tainted with sadness as on the 25th April 1968 the XXth The Lancashire Fusiliers were relegated to the history books and were to subsequently become the 4th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
Joe never forgot that he was an LF.
The new Regiment had his loyalty, but his heart forever belonged to the XXth.
Joe and his family moved back to the UK on the 28th July 1969 and spent a short time taking a training Platoon through Sutton Coldfield before preparing for the selection course at Sandhust


The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Years

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

The selection course for instructors at the RMAS was a weird and wonderful affair.
Regiments were invited to submit names of Sergeants who they considered would make suitable instructors at RMAS.
These 40 or so individuals would assemble at Sandhurst and would undergo a very very competitive 6 weeks cadre, with the main subjects being Skill at Arms, Tactics, Fieldcraft and Ceremonial Drill.
The aim of the student was simple, if he wanted to get in to the RMAS as an instructor, he had to get into the top 20 of the 40 candidates, the bottom 20 would then be returned to their parent units.
This resulted in an absolutely cut throat "dog eat dog" situation with standards and skills being forever raised, as each individual Sgt fought to stay above the relegation zone.
At the end of the Cadre, Joe found that he had been selected and was to be an instructor in Dettingen Company (rather apt?) of Old College.
On the 22nd April 1970 Vivienne and Jane moved into married quarters at RMAS .
Joe was pleased to discover that the Training Major for Old College was Major Jeremy Reilly who was destined to be the Commanding Officer of 2RRF in 1971.
When Major Reilly suggested that he would like Joe to join him in 2RRF to command a Rifle Platoon, Joe jumped at the chance, as he had by then developed a very strong admiration and respect for his future CO.
2RRF were in Berlin preparing for the move to Catterick, and Major Reilly arranged that Joe would go to Berlin, marry up with the 2 RRF Bisley team and return to Bisley with them as Admin/Training Sergeant.


2 RRF Berlin.
Joe arrived in Berlin to find 2 RRF were away in Sennelager training.
The rear party were being looked after by the Unit in the next door barracks, the Cheshire Regiment.
At breakfast Joe met a really nice C/Sgt named Roy from the Cheshires who on finding that Joe was new to Berlin promised to take him around that night to see the sights.
They had a wonderful time, only slightly spoiled when Roy discovered that he had left his wallet back in camp.
Joe loaned him £20 to be paid back the next day.
Next day at breakfast Roy did not appear.Joe privately thought he could not take his ale.
When Roy still did not apear for lunch Joe thought he had better make some inquiries.
The mess waiter told him that in fact Roy had been posted to the UK and had left at 0630 hrs.
If you are reading this Roy, Joe will find you, he will find you!

Joe met up with the shooting team after Sennelager and they all went to the UK Bisley meeting, Joe making a lifelong friendship with Ray Cunningham and meeting up once more with his old boss,Captain Mike Murray who was I/C shooting team.
During Bisley week, Joe moved his family from Sandhurst to Catterick.
Life in the UK with 2RRF was about to begin.

2RRF Catterick / NI

WO and Sgt Mess
1973


2RRF duly arrived at Catterick and settled into Alma Barracks.
Joe was given the Command of 5 Platoon in B Company.
B Company at that time was commanded by Major Peter Sincock, CSM was Jack Gardner and the C/Sgt was Dusty Bold.
Life quickly became a none stop round of training,tours of Northern Ireland (some planned,others not) .
2 RRF quickly gained the reputation as being the most effective Infantry Unit in the Province , due mainly to the emphasis on good intelligence work.
During these tours Joe gained promotion first to S/Sgt in 1972 and then to WO2 in 1973.
He was also awarded a British Empire Medal.

In 1973 Joe left 5 Platoon to become the CSM of A Coy, under the Command of Major Houlton

Joe considers the 4 years 1971 to 1975 to have been his best work and the happiest times with 2RRF, later experiences were not to be so happy or cordial.
In August 1975 2RRF moved to Paderborn in Germany.

2RRF Paderborn / NI
2RRF were based at Alanbrooke Barracks in Paderborn,in the Mechanised Infantry role.
A Company had a new Company Commander, Major Nigel Robinson and following an intensive training phase, the Company settled well into the new role with their Armoured Fighting Vehicles.
During each of the 4 years that Joe was CSM of A Company, they won Champion Company, and were number 1 Guard when the Bn trooped the Colour.
A number of tours of Northern Ireland were undertaken by the Bn and Joe earned a Mention in Despatches in early 1977.

Peter Sincock
and
Nigel Robinson

Mentioned in Despatches

The Queens Silver Jubilee parade in 1977 was a wonderful spectacle, with the mass armour of the BAOR, and Joe was again fortunate to be awarded one of the few Silver Jubilee medals issued to the BN.
Unfortunately by this time there had been a major difference of opinion between Joe and certain senior members of the 2RRF Staff which could not be reconciled without an unacceptable compromise of principle
It was with some relief in late 1977 that Joe was posted sideways to the Birmingham Officer Training Corp as their Training Warrant Officer.

Birmingham University.
Joe and Vivienne bought their first house in Redditch Worcestershire and Vivienne went to Birmingham University to read English.

It was a great job, with wonderful students and a small dedicated staff,and it was after 3 delightful years that Joe learned that he was to be promoted to WO1 (RSM) of the Junior Soldiers Battalion at Norton Barracks in Taunton Somerset.

RSM JSB Taunton

Margaret,Deborah,Colin,Viv,Joe,
and the Adjt.

(Joe had has moustache shaved off
by one of his juniors for charity)
Joe found that being the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Junior Soldiers Battalion was one of the most rewarding jobs he has ever had.
There were 1,200 young men, all under 17.5 years of age in training at any one time.
Every Heavy Infantry cap badge was represented in 4 Training Companies, each with a First and a Second year in training.
Their young age meant that they were still capable of being moulded and they had the potential to achieve anything asked of them.
In his first year at JSB, Joe decided that the next passing out parade would be taken by the Juniors themselves, with no Staff on parade.
They rose to the challenge wonderfully ,Joe and his staff sat in the stands, and it became the custom at JSB.
It was also very exciting and challenging to be the head of the Sgt's Mess where no less than 22 Regimental plaques over the bar showed how many different cap badges there were serving at Taunton.
They knit into a fine team.
The 2 I/C at Taunton was Patrick Gwylam of The Queen's Regiment and after a wonderful 2 years it was he who suggested to Joe that he accept an offer of a commission into the Queens.
Since Joe had heard nothing about his future from the RRF at the Tower he gladly accepted.
Time to move on again.



Summer Ball
WO and Sgts Mess

Commission to Queens Regiment(Depot Bassingbourn)
Joe was commissioned into the Queen's Regiment and was posted as 2 i/c The Junior Soldiers Company at Bassingbourn Barracks Herts.
This meant selling his home in Redditch Worcs and buying a house in the Bassingbourne area.
After a lengthy search, Joe and Vivienne bought the house where he still lives in Whittlesford Cambridgeshire.

Front of House

Back of House

Royal Anglians Oakington Barracks.

Capt Joe Eastwood

Visit by Deputy Colonel in Chief
HRH Princess Margaret

In 1984 Joe was posted to the Royal Anglian Regiment , at Oakington Barracks Cambridgeshire, as Families Officer and PRI.
The PRI job meant attending the RAPC Officers Accounts Course at Worthy Down where Joe gained a B Grading , the knowledge gained was very useful when self employed some years later.
In 1985 the Royal Anglians celebrated their Tercentenary and Joe was given the job of planning and running the Battalion celebrations.
This took the form of an "Open" weekend of festivities, a fairground, a firework display and an all Ranks Dance under canvas.
All went well and the only hitch was having to pay compensation to a local farmer who claimed that the fireworks had aborted all his pigs !
The R.Anglians were busy at that time looking after the Greenham Common demonstrators, which meant Joe was often I/C rear party.
When the Bn were warned off for a tour of Londonderry, Joe went over and took a video of the married quarters to show to the families at Oakington.
Not wishing to have yet another tour of NI, Joe decided that enough was enough and that it was time to become a civilian.
His last act in the Army was to see off his Commanding Officer and the families at the airport.
It was time for something else.

Civilian life following discharge.

University Degree course in Social Work.

During his final year in the Army, Joe had been responsible for showing potential buyers around the airfield at Oakington.
The MOD were selling off much of the land in plots of 2 to 3 acres.
Probably due to the restrictions on future use of the land, it was reasonably cheap and Joe bought 3 acres.
Joe had the intention to develop this as a Garden Nursery and for a short time this was his main interest, with a small Landscaping business running in tandem.

A competitor made increasing offers to buy Joe out and Joe finally sold out to him.
Many years later Mr Prescott decided that Cambridge must accept a new town.
Guess where it will be built ?
Joe then applied for 3 (belt and braces) widely differering posts:-
1. The Retired Officer post as Families Officer Bassingbourn.
2. The Camp Commandants post at Holcombe Brook Bury Lancs.
3. A place at University as a mature student reading Social Science.
Murphy's law then ensured that he got all 3 posts!
It was with a great deal of sadness that Joe turned down the military jobs
(particularly the Bury one) in favour of a complete new start and a University degree.


Child Protection Social Work Cambridge.

After succesfully completing his professional qualification course in Social Work, Joe took up a post with the Cambridgeshire Social Services,working firstly in a generic team but then later,following more studies and qualifications, in Child Protection.
After 2 years, Joe took the Advanced Social Work course in Mental Heath and ended his time as a paid employee working in the Mental Health team doing assessments in the field.
Joe also raised over £3,000 for McMillan Nurses by completing the London Marathon in 1996.

Joe is now fully retired and devotes his spare time to his daughter Jane Louise, his grandaughter Alice Violet and to running this web site in line with the mission statement:-

Mission Statement:
The Aims of this Website.
To uphold and preserve the proud name of the Lancashire Fusiliers,and to provide friendship, support and comradeship to all Lancashire Fusiliers and their loved ones