Captain Arthur Teague of Ryde Fire Brigade passed away on 23 May 1913 aged 64.


When Arthur's wife, Caroline Jane (nee Ellmann), passed away six years later the County Press article mentioned that she was the widow of one-time brigade Captain Teague.

At that stage, having found no corroborating material to support this I assumed the CP had made an error. That error seemed more likely when it became apparent that Arthur Teague was chairman of the Fire Brigade committee for many years. In fact it was his commitment to the improvement of the Borough brigade, in the face of critical opposition, that enabled the town to open its first purpose-built fire station in Brunswick Street (now Station Street) in 1904 and four years later as chairman he forced the procurement of the Borough's first steam fire-engine, the Island's third behind Sandown and Shanklin.

Therefore it seemed that the CP got muddled between brigade chairman and captain. However further research revealed that when Captain Sapsworth resigned in November 1910, no formal appointment was made to replace him until the Borough formed it's first Police-Fire Brigade in New Year 1912. In the intervening period Second Officer Robert White was made responsible for the brigade at fires but as careful analysis of the reports reveal his effective Captain was indeed Arthur Teague, by virtue of being chairman of the brigade committee. Against his better judgement Arthur conceded to majority decision over the formation of the Police-Fire Brigade which he believed to be misguided, an opinion that outlived him; six years after his death the council dispensed with the Police element as an unsuccessful experiment. 

During that intervening period between Sapsworth's departure and the establishment of the Police-Fire Brigade whenever the brigade were formed for ceremonial duties, of which they attended several during the period, it was the uniformed 'Captain' Teague that led them.

Given his commitment to brigade endeavours as a local Councillor it's no surprise that he stepped up to the mark when the unit were without a formal leader.

Arthur was by all accounts a well known and popular baker-confectioner who originated from Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire.

His well attended funeral at the Wesleyan Church in Garfield Road was attended by many including the Ryde Fire Brigade and it's former Captain Sidney Sapsworth who travelled from Tonbridge to show his last respects for the man who had backed the former Captain so solidly during his committee days. Whilst Arthur appears to have fought no fires or commanded the firemen at emergencies he certainly played an elightened and courageous role in the administration and evolution of the pre-WW1 Ryde Fire Brigade.

Rest in peace Captain Teague.