Fireman Henry Harvey of Cowes Fire Brigade passed away on 10 November 1951 aged 86.


Henry was born in Portsea in 1865 but his family's association with the Island pre-dated his birth as his father Barton was born in Godshill. At the time of the 1871 Census they were living in Park Road, Cowes, his father worked as a bricklayer while his mother Jane cared for Henry and three siblings.

By the time of the 1881 Census two more siblings had arrived and the family had moved to Albert Street. By now both Henry and his elder brother William were working as carpenter's apprentices. 

Ten years later Henry was listed in the census returns living in Victoria Road with his wife Rose Irene (nee Bunday) and a naval cadet who was listed as a lodger. Henry and Rose were married earlier the same year. At some stage his elder brother William joined Cowes Fire Brigade and was soon to be appointed as its engineer. This may have inspired Henry to follow his sibling in to the emergency service and he was first mentioned in the Press competing in the 1895 IWFBA drill competition at Shanklin in the one-man drill and later in the four-man-and-officer drill which they won. This being the first year that Prince Henry of Battenburg had added his patronage to the event, Henry became one of the first firemen to lay his hands on the coveted Battenburg Challenge Cup. 

This set in place a series of appearances for Cowes at IWFBF competitions. In the 1901 event at Northwood Park, a short distance from his home now in Fellows Road, Henry scooped the one-man drill with a blistering time a full five seconds ahead of second placed Henry Jolliffe of Ryde.  

By this time Henry and Jane were parents to three children Henry, Freda and William, and Henry senior was working as a waterworks engineer, no doubt working closely alongside the legendary Ernest Willsteed in both his main occupation and his voluntary firefighting. 

In 1904 he was part of the Cowes team that won the Battenburg Cup for the second time although the photograph of the triumphant team incorrectly captioned him as F. Harvey (his image above is extracted from the photograph). 

Henry appears in many Press reports of Cowes Fire Brigade's exploits over the course of a 28 year service. Between his occupation at the Broadfield waterworks (where he'd been since 1892) and firefighting he was also well known as a goalkeeper for Cowes F.C., membership of the Rowing Club, chief ranger of the Foresters, chairman of the Liberal Club and a Rifleman of the Volunteers. 

Such was his esteem that when he retired from the waterworks in June 1937 a small reference was published of the fact in the County Press. Four years later he again appeared in print when he and Rose celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. 

Sadly Rose's passing was to precede his own by two years and the final part of his life was spent living with his eldest son Henry Josiah Harvey (who succeeded him at Broadfields) and daughter-in-law at 1 Windsor Cottages, Albert Road.

It was here, surrounded by his family, that Henry passed away on 10 November 1951. 


Rest in peace Fireman Harvey.