Firewoman Ruby May Howard was killed on 3 January 1943 when she was within the requisitioned Gloster Hotel, temporary wartime headquarters of the Shanklin Company of National Fire Service, Fire Force 14d when it took a direct hit from a 500kg bomb.
Ruby was born on 13 April 1892, the daughter of Mr and Mrs Fred Price of 2 Broadstone, Brading. When the 1939 Register was taken on 29 September that year Ruby was living at 17 Albert Road, Shanklin, with her husband Reginald Prouten Playle Howard and eight others.
At present it is believed that Ruby may be the only female killed while serving with an Isle of Wight fire service. The tragic irony of her being there that day, as told to me by her grandson, is that she shouldn't have been there at all but was covering a gap caused by the sickness of someone else.
Rest in peace Firewoman Howard.