Joe Gibson was a student at Coal Hill School. In March 1963, Joe was in Year Five. His father was a shop steward. Joe frequently received detentions, which he said were used by the school to save money on proper handymen. John Brent, using terminology learned from his military father, described Joe as "a typical barrack-room lawyer" for his frequent questioning of authority.
Joe's last detention came on 1 April 1963. He, Gillian Roberts, Susan Foreman, Dudley Hatcher, and three other boys were detailed to clear ice away from the school buildings. Unfortunately, the ice was animated by the Cold. After Susan and Gillian attempted to melt the ice with blowtorches, it rose up and killed Joe, Dudley, the other boys, and Mr Okehurst (who had been overseeing the detention). Only Susan and Gillian escaped. (PROSE: Time and Relative)