Fireman Walter Taylor of Cowes Fire Brigade, and of the National Fire Service, passed away at the Frank James Hospital on 14 October 1948 aged 59.
Walter was born in Romney Marsh on 12 April 1889, the son of Charles, serving in the Royal Navy, and Jessie who had her hands full with Walter's siblings of which he was the youngest of six in the 1891 Census. The family lived in Lydd but by the time of the next census ten years later were resident in York Street, Cowes, and four younger siblings had been added, although notably the name of his elder sister Ellen is now missing, she would have been 16 at the time. Charles remained in service with the Navy but by the 1911 Census he was listed as a Naval pensioner and at 22 Walter was the eldest of the four children still living with their parents. At the time Walter was listed as an unemployed metal worker but it is known that he worked 'on and off' for J.S. White's for around forty years. This was interspersed with war service with the 10th Worcestershire Regiment. Original German records evidence that Walter was captured by the Germans near Cambrai on 20 July 1916 at a position known by the British as High Wood (or by the locals in France as Bois des Foureaux), a bitterly contested area of high ground that featured in the Battle of the Somme. He spent the remainder of the war as a POW.
In 1924 he married Alice Lilian Brittan in Newport. By the time of the 1939 Register they were still living in Cowes, with a son and daughter, and unlike the Census forms the Register required the submission of all employments so we can be sure that Walter was not only working at the shipyard but also as a regular fireman at Cowes (meaning a member of the town's fire brigade, not the AFS). When the National Fire Service was formed in August 1941 his service would have merged with that of the AFS and he continued to serve in that capacity.
In his spare time Walter enjoyed playing football for the Comrades of the Great War and was a keen water polo player and was a long time member of the British Legion and Liberal Club's. He served long enough in firefighting roles to be awarded the NFBA Silver (20 year) Long Service Medal.
Rest in peace Fireman Taylor.