Joseph Friend: Photographs of Salonika

J. Friend’s war photos – Source Jewish Military Museum

Joseph Friend is a particularly interesting as his life is documented by more photographs than is typical for most of his generation. Lots of information about Joseph’s life is unclear. He was born in 1882 or 1883. It is uncertain where he was born. The Jewish Chronicle published a marriage notice for Friend’s wedding, which referred to Joseph as ‘of London and Rhodesia.’

Joseph’s military service took him across the world. He saw extensive action as he fought in three wars. He began his military career in the Boer War when he could have been no older than 20.

J. Friend’s war photos – Source Jewish Military Museum
J. Friend’s war photos. Joseph marked with an x – Source Jewish Military Museum
J. Friend’s war photos – Source Jewish Military Museum

Subsequently, Joseph served in the Sussex Yeomanry in the First World War. He was stationed in Egypt and Salonika. This is Friend’s clearest link to Sussex. His service in this regiment does not necessarily indicate Friend was from Sussex, as individuals did not have to serve in local regiments. In the Sussex Yeomanry, Friend served as a Captain.

Joseph Friend on board ship, photo JMM
2013.33.4_0031, Jewish Military Museum

We know a little about Joseph’s life outside of military service. As previously mentioned, he was married. In 1915, he married Esta Joseph at the Great Synagogue in Leeds. She was the daughter of Mr and Mrs D Joseph of ‘The Beeches’, Moortown, Leeds. This was noted in the Jewish Chronicle on May 28th, 1915). At the time the Great Synagogue was ‘Ashkenazi Orthodox’.

Joseph Friend – A mounted black and white
studio photograph of Capt. Joseph Friend,
1914-1918, photo: JMM 2013.33.10, Jewish
Military Museum London

They had one son, (John) Charles Friend, born 24 January 1917, and identified as a sculptor in the 1939 Register. No further information has been found about this son.

Joseph Friend on a horse during First World War,
photo JMM 2013.33.1, Jewish Military Museum
A photograph of Captain Joseph Friend with a banner carried on Armistice day, c.1920.
JMM 2013.33.3, Jewish Military Museum London

The 1939 England & Wales Register shows Joseph and Esta living at 8 Hycombe Gardens, Hendon, Middlesex. Post war, Friend worked as a Shipper and Agent according to the 1939 England and Wales Register.

In the Second World War, Joseph would have been too old to be drafted. Despite this, Friend clearly felt a duty to act and joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves. In this reserve regiment, Joseph was a Pilot Officer. This exemplifies the differences between the two world wars, as technology rapidly advanced between the conflicts. By the Second World War, Yeomanry and regiments upon horseback were no longer suitable as they previously were.

Image courtesy of

He died ‘in active service’ as part of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves in WWII, but a notice in the Jewish Chronicle indicates he died “suddenly after an operation.”

Details of Joseph’s death are also unclear. The Jewish Chronicle lists his death on 14th March, 1941. Contrary to this, other sources list his death on 4th March, 1941 where he died ‘in active service’ as part of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserves in the Second World War.

His ashes are buried at Golders Green Crematorium in London.

Report of Joseph Friend’s death on March 4th 1941
Source – Jewish Chronicle