“I always said this bloody armour would bring us to grief.”
The armour was never Joe’s idea and nor did he like it. This is evident in the exasperated words he declared to Ned at Glenrowan. “This bloody armour” are not the words of a man who had put forward the idea of mouldboard armour, especially not when to him it signified “grief”. While it is impossible to know just how he felt about the armour and the disagreements he and Ned may have had over it, we do know that to Joe it brought about a cloud of angst of an unknown future for the gang. But, despite this, Joe followed Ned’s vision and orders as he had always done. Just as he had with Aaron. And if it is to be said that there was a fault in Joe’s character, it was his constant need to follow the will of others. This had gotten him 6 months in gaol, declared an outlaw and then killed. When Joe uttered over Aaron’s dead body that, “the bastard will never put me away again” I think he had come to realise just how much the reliance on following others had cost him. But yet at Glenrowan he was still following the will of another, even though he protested, because how could he not?
Illustration by Aidan Phelan.