Charles Henry Meager, a fireman of Cowes, passed away on 18 December 1939, aged 75.
Charles was born on 5 April 1864 the son of Richard, a shipwright, and Eliza. The Census of 1871 located them living at Temperance Terrace. Charles was the fifth child among six boys and two girls. Before the 1881 Census Eliza passed away. The father and children remained at the same address but the Census evidences that all of Charles elder siblings have left the family home. Charles, 16, was by now working as a painter.
Ten years later, still employed as a painter, Charles was lodging at an address in Cross Street with the head of the household being 56 year old Francis Abraham. On 20 May 1893 Charles married Jane Eliza James and the following Census listed them living at 7 Terminus Road with a 6 year old son Cecil and an 8 year old named Dorothy James who is listed as 'niece'. The 1911 Census adds a second son, Harold (9) while Cecil, now 16, is working as a pattern-makers apprentice.
At an unidentified date Charles joined Cowes Fire Brigade. On the occasion of his death in 1939 the County Press stated that he'd been a member of the brigade for twenty years. However it is known that he left the service in 1896, suggesting that he joined in 1876 when he was just 12 years old! However it is perfectly plausible that he was serving as a call-boy for the brigade at that age and as such this is taken in to account as time in service.
When the captain of the brigade reported Charles's imminent departure to the Council in 1896, it was notable that despite holding no officership the chamber made a point of indicating; they were very sorry to lose Mr Meager for he had proved himself a useful member.
Charles remained a painter all his working life, for over twenty-five years at J.S. White's and he was a founding member of the Painters Society around 1888. Out of work he was a well known oarsman of Cowes Rowing Club, a Forester and member of the Liberal Club.
It is suspected, but not yet proven, that his elder son Cecil may be the same 'Meager' who later captained the Osborne House Fire Brigade and who became the only non-local authority chairman of the IWFBF.
Rest in peace Fireman Meager.