Captain William Couldrey of Bembridge Fire Brigade passed away on 30 March 1942.

 

Couldrey was a notable man of his era such that after his funeral the County Press devoted an entire two-and-a-half columns of editorial to describe his endeavours.

Born in Abingdon, Oxfordshire in 1863 he received a commendation from the local authorities after performing an act of heroism at a fire as a lad of 17. He became an Island resident at Bembridge in 1897 and from then until his death had a record of tireless service politically (as a Liberal), militarily (Isle of Wight Rifles) and multiple local organisations, most notably that of the Bembridge RNLI where he was awarded a Gold Medal, two vellums and multiple certificates.

His association with the fire brigade wasn't mentioned in the County Press article. Perhaps not surprising given that in comparison with his other long term commitments his captaincy of Bembridge Fire Brigade was minor but he was present at the notable Eastcliff fire of April 1932 and resigned from the brigade in June 1934 as he felt this conflicted with his role as chairman of the Bembridge Parish Council.

As a local Councillor he had for many years shown an active interest in the welfare and efficiency of the fire brigade. His funeral at Bembridge Methodist Church three days after his death was attended by Bembridge section of the National Fire Service alongside a multitude of others where it was stated that "apart from his public work he was engaged in many philanthropic and humanitarian activities"; he was clearly a respected man.

Rest in peace Captain Couldrey.