Leading Fireman Alfred Buchanan Brown of National Fire Service, Fire Force 14d was killed during enemy aerial bombardment on 3 January 1943 aged 36.
Alfred was born in Ryde in early 1906. His parents were Alfred senior and Edith who owned and operated a chemist at their home address 109 High Street, Ryde.
In 1928 an A. Brown was recruited in to Ryde Fire Brigade. I can't be sure this is the same man and other references to A. Brown's (there were at least two in Ryde's brigade during this period) point in the opposite direction.
On the occasion of his death the IW County Press stated that Alfred was well known in Newport where he was employed by Messrs. Duke Bros. builders merchant. The article also stated that Alfred's keenness and undoubted abilities quickly led to his promotion to Leading Fireman.
He married Katherine Ann in 1934 and they set up home at 1 Lind Street, Ryde. They had a young son at the time of his death.
Why he was at Shanklin on 3 January 1943 isn't known. What is known is that he was one of twelve members of the NFS killed when the requisitioned Gloster Hotel, temporary NFS headquarters, took a direct hit from a 500kg bomb.
His funeral in Ryde saw his coffin, borne on the Ryde fire engine, draped with the Union Jack and topped with his helmet and belt. His former colleagues were bearers lead by Divisional Officer Pearson and Company Officer Max Heller who preceded the cortege to All Saints Church where a guard of honour was formed. Floral tributes were laid by representatives from both Ryde and Shanklin NFS.
After the war his name was added to a memorial stone set in to the wall at the old fire station in Station Street. When the station moved to Nicholson Road in the 1990's, the stone was carefully removed and placed in the wall of the new engine house where it remains to this day, solemnly observing every departure of today's fire engines as they pass through the doors.
Rest in peace Leading Fireman Brown.