Ventnor Fire Brigade 1928. Fireman Maclean is third from the right in the front row.

Fireman Donald MacLean, originally of Ventnor Fire Brigade and later of an unidentified mainland section Auxiliary Fire Service died in action in Portsmouth on 9 March 1941.

Prior to relocating to the mainland Donald was a member of the Ventnor Fire Brigade although he originated from Hampshire.

On 9 March 1941 Ryde fireman Colin Weeks recorded in his diary that a bomb exploded in St Thomas's Church yard, two high explosive bombs struck in Union Road and a UXB planted itself in Union Street. But the main focus of the attack was across the Solent at Portsmouth's docks.

As Donald's home address was in Wokingham it seems likely that he was in one of the many AFS columns despatched during periods of intense bombings at key targets.

Another Berkshire fireman, Alan Sandall, a teenager at the time, wrote 'Are You 17?', published in 1993, about his time as a Berkshire AFS member. He cites numerous occasions when his AFS unit joined columns heading south to Portsmouth or Southampton, often to the East End or even northbound to Birmingham and Coventry.

It was at HMS Vernon on 9 March, with colleagues of whatever column he'd responded, fighting fires amid an unimaginable situation that Donald lost his life at 30 years of age.

Rest in peace Fireman McLean.

Bomb damage at HMS Vernon.