A landmark birthday approaches for an esteemed Market trader from the eighties, Joe Randall. He will be 100 on 10th August!
He was well known as a seller of old military uniforms and made to order regimental blazer badges, buttons and cap emblems. He had a valuable network of contacts among the military tailors in London and could often obtain much sought after items. For example, the large bullion cloth ERII badges made for the Beefeaters at the Tower of London. Michael Burroughs of Anything Military has fond memories of the tea chests full of buttons which nearly brought down his ceiling!
He was always wearing his parachute regiment beret and closed every deal with the question “are you sure you’re happy?” But heaven help anyone who asked him if he was in the Paras!
Joe began his military service aged just 17 in WWII with the then little known RAF Engineers. In the photo here you can see the white training band in his cap. His unit built runways in newlay liberated parts of Europe. An ever present threat was the German planes on their way back to base which would attack them in passing.
Joe was later part of the occupying forces in Germany keeeping the Russians on the trains as they passed through the British zones. He also took part in shore patrols before joining the Parachute Regiment in the Territorial Army. His brother saw active service as part of the SAS in Malaya.
Joe now lives in Teignmouth with his wife Chrissie. Everyone at the Market would like to wish him a very happy hundredth birthday!