Fireman George Henry Broadbury Jones of Ryde passed away at the Frank James Hospital on 20 March 1969 aged 64.

 

George was Ryde born and bred and at six years old was living with his parents Henry Samuel (of Ryde) and Lucy (of Hackney) at 44 Weeks Road.

Little is known of George's service as a fireman but the funeral report suggests, from descriptions of colleagues both from the 'old' brigade and the County brigade, that George was a fireman in the days of the Ryde Fire Brigade before the creation of the NFS in August 1941, and then remained in service when the IW County brigade was formed in April 1948.

He was briefly mentioned in the diary of wartime fireman Colin Weeks who reported on an incident of Good Friday 11 April 1941. Citing George as an 'undertaker' when not firefighting he was playing cards with a cluster of others at a table in Edward Street temporary fire station while the drone of enemy aircraft proceeded overhead, a raid on Portsmouth seeming likely.

A random smattering of ordnance had been dropped in the Ryde district but little to concern the firemen other than to celebrate the successful shooting down of a bomber by a local AA gun crew. In Colin's words "When they heard the whistle of the falling bombs George promptly dived under the table. The others continued with their game. The explosions shook the building and then nearly a minute later a head appeared above the edge of the table, and in a hoarse whisper Georgie murmured “Glass!” That was all but it was the way in which he said it that made this incident so memorable."

It can therefore be assumed that his service spanned from pre-1941, through the war and beyond to 1948. George's enforced retirement at age 55 would have come in 1960 if he was still in service by then.

Floral tributes laid from the directors of Hansford's who attended the funeral at the crematorium alongside many of the company's employees suggest George was a popular employee of the firm. He was also, in younger years, a keen and well known local sportsman playing football for Ashey and Ryde and cricket for Swanmore and Wroxall.

Rest in peace Fireman Jones.