Hector Robert Rae and his younger brother Frederick Alan Rae, former Freshwater firemen, were killed in action with seven months of each other in 1940-41.
The boys were the only sons of Robert Denham Rae and Gertrude Ellen who lived at St Eloi, The Avenue, Totland. They were preceded by an elder sister Olive (1911). Hector was born two years later and Frederick in 1918.
No records have been located to suggest what work Frederick was involved in when he first left school but by 1935 Hector was a member of the Freshwater Rover Scouts Fire Brigade that attended a serious fire in the bar of the Royal Standard Hotel on 2 January 1935.
No doubt Frederick was impressed by the activities of his senior sibling and soon followed suit. When the Freshwater and Totland Joint Fire Brigade Committee formed a combined brigade in March 1938, colloquially termed the West Wight Fire Brigade, Frederick was appointed the role of Second Engineer, quite an achievement for one so young.
Both brothers were to be enticed away by other service. Hector joined the Royal Navy and by December 1938 Frederick left to embark on a full-time career with London Fire Brigade. It is known that he served at Southwark Fire Station, station No. 60 of the LFB, and was resident at the station with dozens of others when the 1939 Register was taken of the premises at 94 Southwark Bridge Road. Around the same time Hector was appointed as Petty Officer aboard the ageing battlecruiser HMS Hood.