Fireman Harry Albert Humphries of Ventnor Fire Brigade, passed away on 28 March 1970 at home in Fratton just a few days before his 80th birthday.


Harry was born in Ventnor in 1890 and the census of a year later shows he was living at Trinity Cottages, North Street, with his parents Henry and Mary Ann and sister Ethel May.

The census of twenty years later located him at the Britannia Road barracks, Norwich, as a private soldier of the 7th Queens Own Hussars, one of three Ventnor men to appear on the same page of the barracks census return (plus another three from other Island towns), having previously served as a saddlers apprentice.

He was to serve throughout the regiments activities during the First World War, which for the first three years, to the soldiers frustration, was restricted to stations in India until later they were shipped to the Middle East for which the battle honours Khan, Baghdadi, Sharqat and Mesopotamia were awarded.

After the war he married Edith Maude Deighton on 1 May 1920 back home in Ventnor. For a former regular soldier home life perhaps seemed a little dull so he joined Ventnor Fire Brigade and served a total of twenty years.

He appears in the County Press report of the 1926 Island Fire Brigades Federation drill competition in Newport, representing his brigade in the motor-pump competition for the Couldrey Challenge Cup where they slipped to second place due to a five second gap created by Sandown's winning firemen.

He was also assistant scoutmaster to the 3rd Ventnor and was a popular member of the town's football club. During the Second World War he worked at the St Boniface Down radar station.

Rest in peace Fireman Humphries.