Newport Fire Brigade during Harry's service, unfortunately I can't be sure which one he is.

Fireman Harry (Henry) Snellgrove of Newport Fire Brigade passed away on 24 May 1918 aged 59.


Harry was one of the firemen recruited to the reformed Newport Volunteer Fire Brigade in 1893. His name appears in connection with many everyday acts for firemen of the era each in their own right evidencing an understated courage, in addition to representing the Borough team in several drill competitions over the years.

He and his wife Matilda originally lived in Whippingham but later moved to Poplar Cottage, Victoria Road, Newport and then 20 Cross Lanes. They raised two girls and four boys. The third eldest, Bertram Alfred, emigrated to Australia in 1911 but returned to Europe via Egypt in 1916 after attesting to the 26th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force.

Bertram must have departed for Australia after the Census return was completed on 2 April as he appears in the return employed as a railway engine cleaner. The same return evidences that the household was enlarged by the return of their eldest daughter Jessie who was married to a soldier, Herbert Woolston, who was absent from the form, suggesting he was serving elsewhere with the army. Jessie brought with her their six daughters, Eileen, Florence, Dolly, Eva, Vera and Frances. The dozen occupants must have lived in extreme intimacy in such a modest abode. Tragically Herbert was one of the First World War's earlier casualties, being killed in action with the Essex Regiment on 18 November 1914. 

The war was to take a further toll on the family. On 22 June 1917 Bertram was reported missing from his unit, by now having fought in France for over a year. It was some time before the authorities discovered that he'd actually been killed almost a year earlier on 29 July 1916. 

Whether the loss of his second-eldest son and his son-in-law was to have shaken Harry irreparably isn't known. His distress may have been exacerbated by the news that a 19 year old firefighting colleague also died at the front four weeks before Harry's own sudden death. He suffered a seizure whilst working as a painter and died later the same day. It can be assumed that he was a fit and active man for his age as he was still an active member of the fire brigade on the day he died.

Following his death his youngest son Walter followed in his father's footsteps and for many years served with Ryde Fire Brigade.

Rest in peace Fireman Snellgrove.