Fireman Frank White of Sandown Fire Brigade passed away on 10 January 1961 aged 86.

 

Frank was born in Lake on 5 November 1874. The 1881 Census evidences him living with his parents Isaac (carpenter) and Maria, plus five siblings out of which he was the third eldest.

The Census of ten years after specifies the home address of Stagg Road in Lake (use of two g's is as per the original record). By then Frank was one of eight children. Whilst it is believed he began an apprenticeship in the footsteps of his father's trade, in adulthood he established himself as a painter and decorator which became a successful and long lasting business.

Frank's fire brigade service began on 7 August 1900 when Sandown Fire Brigade's Captain James Dore recommended that the vacant posts created by retirements should be filled by Frank and John Nicholas, both men being 25 at the time. That began an extensive period of glittering service. Frank became an invaluable member of what at the time was the Island's most progressive fire brigade. He performed faultless service at fires and was a regular on the Island and Southern District drill competition scene.

 

Fireman Frank White at the far right of this image captured in front of the Grafton Street Fire Station on 20 February 1907.

The 1901 Census showed Frank now married to Hilda and living with her and their one year old son Arthur Frank at Selbourne, Ranelagh Road, Lake. I suspect that Arthur is the same A.F. White who was appointed as probationer to the brigade on 15 June 1920. Frank and Hilda were to have four sons and two daughters. 

During the First World War Frank split his time with the brigade as a Special Constable, a role he was to repeat during the Second World War. 

At the time of his death the County Press reflected on some aspects of his life; He played a notable part in the development of the district and will be remembered for his work for the unemployed during the slump years when he was instrumental in bringing numbers of unemployed from various parts of the country into the district to work on the development of the Sandown-Newport road between the Stag Inn and Scotchell's Bridge, and on other schemes. 

Clearly this was not the work of a fireman or house decorator but was within his roles as a member of the Sandown Council of which he was three times the chairman and later chairman of the Sandown-Shanklin District Council; a total of 30 years in local authority office. 

The County Press eulogy continued; Mr White served as a volunteer with Sandown Fire Brigade for 25 years, receiving the long service medal. His service began in the days of the "steamer" and horses, and he was a member of several trophy winning teams and was widely known for his skill in escape and rope work. 

Frank had also served with the IW Rifle Volunteers, became a member of Lake Working Men's Club soon after its establishment and then served as its secretary for many years, maintaining an interest in the club until his death; He had many other interests including the care of the sick, and he served on nursing committees. During the last war he was chairman of the Sandown-Shanklin Food Committee. 

Frank passed away at Shanklin Cottage Hospital on 10 January 1961, seven years after Hilda had died. They had lived in the same house at Ranelagh Road since at least the census of April 1901. 

 

Rest in peace Fireman White.