Chief Officer Henry Frederick Jolliffe of Ryde Fire Brigade passed away on 9 May 1937 aged 71, six months short of the 50 years of continuous service he so wished to complete.
Jolliffe, a carpenter by trade, married twice, his first wife dying young. His service with the brigade is reported in a series of admiring reports, none more so than when he comfortably won the national one-man drill at a UK-wide fire brigades competition in Brighton.
In his time he witnessed the brigade evolve from using a manually operated pump cart to a steam fire-engine and finally the town's first motorised appliance in 1925. His part in the brigade's modernisation was remarkable.
As he entered his forty-ninth year of service Ryde's councillors, who were responsible for appointing the town's firemen during the era, showed remarkable compassion. By this time it was generally considered that Chief Officer Jolliffe, by now into his seventies, was not entirely on his game in terms of managing the brigade or its operations at fire incidents. However knowing his personal and long held desire to achieve the remarkable fifty year threshold the councillors made arrangements to ensure he could do so. Max Heller, an inspector of police-fire brigade in Sussex was appointed as Henry's deputy to be in a position to take over as chief when Henry finally retired and in the meantime to keep a discreet eye on the efficiency of the brigade. No sooner had Max and his family relocated to the Island and he had taken over the role when Henry suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, months short of the fifty years service he so wished to complete.
Henry died at home Glen Rosa, St John's Road, Ryde. His funeral at All Saints was massively attended by friends and fellow fire-fighters from across the Island.
Rest in peace Chief Officer Jolliffe.