Fire Guard Sidney Meredith Evans passed away on 22 October 1953 aged 78.

 

Sidney was born in Worcestershire on 6 November 1874. He was involved in the fine china and porcelain trade and was known for designing items in addition to their manufacture and distribution.

In 1926 he moved to Seaview on the Isle of Wight with his wife Alice Mary whom he married in 1900. They had two children, one who died young and the other John Meredith Evans was the reason for their move to the Island. He had made the Island his home but suffered poor health, his parents joined him at The Surprise, 8A High Street, Seaview to care for him although he continued in some capacity to work as a doctor's secretary. His mother died seven years later, 1933, but Sidney remained active as a coal merchant's agent for Messrs. Wood and Jolliffe. When the call for Civil Defence volunteers came in the build-up to the Second World War he offered to fulfil the role of Fire Guard in his district.

The role of the Fire Guards during the war, known previously as Fire Watchers, has been largely overlooked by history. Once formally integrated in to the Civil Defence strategy during wartime their role was to remain outside the air raid shelters during bombing raids and act as the vital eyes and ears of the National Fire Service.

Whilst they were trained to act in small teams to fight fires using rudimentary equipment such as stirrup pumps and sandbags in the battle against the notorious 1kg incendiary bomb, their strategic role was to identify the drop of these devices and report them to the local fire control unit, who would despatch firefighting units to fires that were beyond the capabilities of the Fire Guards. 

Various Press publications of the time highlighted the role of the Fire Guard in their community, such as the images below (the first image shows a full-page article with smaller sections enlarged below in a slideshow format).

Sadly after the war Sidney's sons failing health proved too much and he passed away in 1949. Post-war Sidney maintained a role in the district's Civil Defence, he was a poll clerk for elections and acted as steward of the Church Hall Boy's Club. 

 

Rest in peace Fire Guard Evans.