The Grange, now known as the Solent Grange Care Home, rests in modest memory betraying nothing of its vital wartime role in the Island's home defence.

But in 1941 when the National Fire Service was formed, it was requisitioned and put into use as the Island's firefighting centre as Fire Force 14d Headquarters FF14HQ.

Research into the use of The Grange, the people who occupied it and the many incidents that were remotely overseen there by Column Officer Hector Percy Scott and the Divisional Officers that followed him, remains ongoing but thanks to one woman, and her son, we can see something very special of those days.

In 2018 while employed at the modern Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service headquarters above the fire station in South Street, Newport, I was visited by a gentleman who promised he had something special to share with me.

Graham Warder arrived at the station. By then I already knew that his father was a senior N.F.S. Mobilising Officer but what I didn't know what that his mother, Hilda (nee Taylor) had met his father at The Grange when she was employed as an N.F.S. Leading Firewoman in the same Control Room. 

Hilda had a camera and she used it to capture her own memories and for others to capture her and her colleagues going about their daily life at the Fire Force headquarters. The best of those images are shown below, many of which teach us things about The Grange that I didn't know, and couldn't be sure of, before. 

Thank you Graham. 

FF14d Control Room

Hilda Taylor is marking up the 'Disposition of Appliances'

FF14d HQ workshops staff

The Grange

The air raid shelter to the left has since been demolished.

1944 'Sheila'

Leading Firewoman Taylor (centre)

Cookhouse staff

Names unknown

Fw Scurr, Fw Besse, Fw Barton, LFw Taylor

Leading Firewoman Taylor

PT at The Grange

Names unknown

Name not known

Names not known

The Grange

N.F.S. FF14D motorcycle messengers

Includes, third from left, FF R.W. Attrill who died in the bombing of Shanklin Fire Station, 3 January 1943.

Leading Firewoman Taylor (centre)

Taken outside Newport Fire Station, South Street