Fireman Colin Henry Weeks

Fireman Colin Henry Weeks was killed by enemy action during the Cowes Blitz in the early hours of 5 May 1942, aged 19.

 

Colin was the son of admired Ryde Mayor Henry Weeks when his father encouraged him to do his bit in the early stages of the Second World War. As arranged by his father Colin reported to Edward Street temporary fire station to begin life as clerk to Chief Officer Max Heller of Ryde Fire Brigade (although Colin was employed for and by the Ryde company of the Auxiliary Fire Service). 

By the time Colin was 18, in June 1941, he was enthused to join the AFS as a fireman and began his training, initially serving as a motorcycle messenger. His remarkable diary of these events (available to purchase here) tells the tale of his teenaged approach to his part in the civil defence of the town and Island of the era.

Colin was among the massed civil defence forces of the Island that converged on the north of the Island in the night of 4/5 May 1942, when the Luftwaffe carried out the attack which ever since has been infamously remembered as the Cowes Blitz.

He and his best friend and firefighting colleague Leading Fireman Herbert Dewey were ordered to take a break from their arduous duties around 04:00 on the morning of the 5th. They withdrew the corner of Minerva Road and Clarence Road in East Cowes where a WVS canteen van was distributing hot drinks and sandwiches to the exhausted rescuers.

As they relaxed at this spot the second wave of airborne attackers appeared overhead and Colin, Herbert and Mrs Hann who was staffing the WVS van, were killed when one of the first bombs struck the spot where they stood.

Rest in peace Fireman Weeks.