Today Joe Stirling would have been 97 years old

Today, 18th October 2021, I visited the headstone of Joe and his wife Jean, set in the peaceful beauty of Earlham Cemetery in Norwich. It was my first visit and I had no idea how idyllic it would look with ancient trees, flowers, momuments and the odd squirrel. Joe died in February 2020, just before the pandemic lock-down, and his funeral was packed with family and friends, each wishing to pay their respects and celebrate the long and fruitful life of this wonderful man.

I was fascinated to see that Joe is next to Howard Cartwright, born in the same year as Joe and a serving soldier in WW2 with the Argyll and Southern Highlanders. I would like to think that maybe Joe and Howard trained together in Glasgow, perhaps Howard being part of the group of young soldiers in the barracks who ‘dubbed’ Günter as Joe, the name that stuck for the rest of his life. Two old friends brought together in death. Or is that too fanciful?

I wished Joe a happy birthday and left a spray of flowers. It has been a special day.

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