Fireman Herbert Henry Stay of Sandown Fire Brigade died as the result of a tragic accident on 12 September 1923 aged 64.
Herbert was born in Sandown circa 1858, the son of Henry, a mason, and Rebecca, residing at St Leonard's Cottage, Leed Street, Sandown. Twenty years later, aged 23, he was living at 1 George Street, Sandown with his wife Alice, who he married on 6 June 1878, and two year old daughter Rose.
In the same year Herbert joined Sandown Fire Brigade, then in only its third year of existence and he remained in service until 1889 in addition to serving with the Rifle Volunteers. Six years later he successfully divorced Alice on grounds of adultery, Decree Nisi being filed on 15 January 1896.
At some point soon after he emigrated to South Africa alongside his younger brother William, another former Sandown fireman. Here he worked in construction losing his right leg as the result of a fall from scaffolding and from then on earning a living at the South African Stock Exchange.
On 14 June 1923 he arrived back in the UK at the port of Southampton aboard the Union Castle Line ship the SS Armadale Castle to pay a visit. It was while staying with two of his sisters at Fulham Road, South Kensington, that he took a fall from a third storey balcony, suffering fatal injuries.
Rest in peace Fireman Stay.