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.
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.
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.
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.
In the recruiting office Joe and Eric were
greeted by a Sgt of the Manchesters, who failed to impress them
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
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.
Joe joined Mons Platoon at Sutton Coldfield,
along with Peter Clegg, Jim Travis, Les Lunt and Bill
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
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.
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
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..
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
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
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
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
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
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
During Bisley week, Joe moved his family from Sandhurst
Life in the UK with 2RRF was about to begin.
WO and Sgt Mess
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 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
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
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.
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
|RSM JSB Taunton
Joe found that being the Regimental Sergeant Major of
the Junior Soldiers Battalion was one of the most rewarding
jobs he has ever had.
and the Adjt.
(Joe had has moustache shaved off
by one of his juniors for charity)
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
Since Joe had heard nothing about his future from the
RRF at the Tower he gladly accepted.
Time to move on again.
WO and Sgts Mess
|Commission to Queens
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
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
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
In 1985 the Royal Anglians celebrated their Tercentenary
and Joe was given the job of planning and running the
This took the form of an "Open" weekend of festivities,
a fairground, a firework display and an all Ranks Dance
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
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
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
1. The Retired Officer post as Families Officer Bassingbourn.
2. The Camp Commandants post at Holcombe Brook Bury
3. A place at University as a mature student reading
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.
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:-
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