Fireman William Brown of Sandown Fire Brigade passed away on 8 January 1915.

 

William originated from Portsmouth but relocated to the Isle of Wight, married Anne with whom had fathered fourteen children, one of whom died in infancy, and established a popular and successful building firm.

In 1879 he was one of the original members when Sandown Fire Brigade was established shortly after New Year and he served faithfully until 1894 when 44 years old. During that time he was noted for his courage, particularly his actions combined with that of Captain James Dore on the occasion of the infamous Daws fire in Shanklin of 23 December 1892. Shanklin brigade were overwhelmed by the scale of the fire in the High Street ironmongers and provisions and sent for assistance to both Sandown and Ventnor.

When it became known that a large container of gunpowder was dangerously exposed to the flames on the first floor, William and his captain ventured courageously into the perilous situation and successfully removed the hazardous material while colleagues on the outside sprayed a jet of water at them as a precaution. 

By the time he retired from the service in 1894 he had instilled the spirit of service and adventure in four of his sons and perhaps in doing so delivered the town the next generation of some of its finest firemen. The eldest of the siblings, Wilfred Harry Brown, was to serve a distinguished career, both at home and abroad, that culminated in appointment as Chief Fire Officer and didn't end until the Second World War. Sidney was to serve from 1900-19, Stanley 1914-16 and Hedley served two periods 1913-16 and 1939-46. 

William passed away at home 23 Fitzroy Street on the morning of Friday 8 January 1915 aged 66. 

 

Rest in peace Fireman Brown.