Somerton reservoir, where Patrol Leader Day met his tragic end.

Patrol Leader Frank Andrew Day of Cowes section, Auxiliary Fire Service, died in a tragic training accident on 20 April 1940.


Frank, aged 29 at the time of his death, was the son of Percy and Maud of 23 York Street, Cowes and had been a member of the AFS for nearly two years.

On the day he died Captain Frederick Dennis of Cowes Fire Brigade took his AFS contingent for a drill session at Somerton Reservoir.

As they were engaged in a trailer-pump drill, drawing water from the reservoir to supply a hose with up to 100lbs pressure, Patrol Leader Day was on the branch about three feet from the water's edge. Cpt Dennis strolled away from Patrol Leader Day just as the water supplied by pump operator Thomas Isham was shooting down the hose. Dennis heard someone shout out and turned back to see that Day was missing.

Beresford Stork trailer-pump, the type in use on the day.

The shouting that Captain Dennis had heard was that of pump operator Isham. He'd witnessed Day thrown from his feet by the charged hose and be thrown tumbling into the water, the weight of his firefighting clothing dragged him instantly below the surface. Isham slung a rope around his waist and was lowered in to rescue Day but without success. Day's lifeless body was finally located and pulled from the water around eighty minutes later.

Four days later 120 men of the AFS and regular brigades of Cowes, East Cowes, Osborne House, Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin, Ventnor, Freshwater and Newport attended the funeral at Mill Hill Methodist Church. Patrol Leader Day's coffin was conveyed on the back of Newport Fire Brigade's fire engine.

Rest in peace Patrol Leader Day.