Fireman Sidney Brown, third from the right, pictured outside the Grafton Street fire station in 1907.

Fireman Sidney Brown of Sandown Fire Brigade passed away on 18 July 1967 aged 89.


Sidney was one of 13 children of fire-fighting father William. Three of his brothers also served in Sandown's brigade including his eldest brother Wilfred who became Chief Officer.

Sidney married Isabella New in 1903 and by 1911 they had a son and daughter. By this stage Sidney was a firm member of Sandown's increasingly successful competition drill team (including being in the team that won a national championship; the only Island firemen to do so) but he didn't hesitate to step up in 1914 and go overseas to Boulogne with the British Red Cross where he performed ambulance duties on the front line (and later with the Royal Army Medical Corps).

He didn't return home until February 1919 and soon after left the Island with his family for pastures new. The village of Bournville in the West Midlands had burgeoned before the war in tandem with the expansion of the Cadbury's works that was established there in the mid-Victorian period. Post-war the mass production confectioner was keen to recruit and Sidney was attracted by the incredible facilities and lifestyle offered by the company and its development of the once sleepy village of Bournville. New schools, outdoor venues and activities and well appointed new housing must have been a marvellous attraction after almost five years on the front line and in true family tradition he not only served the firm as building foreman but also joined the Bournville Works Fire Brigade.

As a keen, capable and by now highly experienced life-saver he was quick to get in to the ambulance competition elements of the brigade who were highly successful as a team.

In 1926 he was part of the Bournville team that travelled to the International Ambulance Competition in Amsterdam to represent the UK's National Fire Brigades Association after consistently winning the nationals for many years. Here too, up against the best from around the world they triumphed; Sidney being one of the five man team.

When he retired in 1952 he returned to his Island origins and passed away at St Mary's Hospital on 18 July 1967.

Rest in peace Fireman Brown.

The cover of the November 1926 Bournville Works Magazine that included a feature dedicated to the works fire brigade and ambulance team including Sidney Brown.