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.

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 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 his 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.

Rest in peace Fireman Snellgrove.