Fire Guard Mary Maria Lavers passed away on 4 February 1957 aged 80.

 

Mary was the eldest daughter of Ryde businessman James William Lavers and for many years was a member of the Ryde Conservative Association. 

During the Second World War she volunteered for a role with the Fire Guard service. The role of the Fire Guards during the war has been much overlooked as it required a sustained commitment throughout. Sleep deprivation was part and parcel of the role, patrolling the streets that made up her patch during times of threat and under actual air raid conditions with the objective to spot the fall of the thousands of 1kg incendiary bombs that the Luftwaffe were able to release from just one aircraft. The diary of a Ryde fireman of the period evidences that this happened in the district on many occasions.

Armed with no more than bucket, stirrup pump and sandbags, Mary and her team would have done their best to tackle any fires caused by the incendiaries, only calling the weighty response of the overstretched fire services when absolutely necessary.

The nationwide importance of the Fire Guards and the amount of damage they prevented has never been quantified but is acknowledged as substantial and well beyond the expected commitment of a volunteer force.

Mary's funeral services was held at the Holy Trinity in Dover Street, she was survived by two sisters and interred in a family plot at the parish cemetery.

 

Rest in peace Fire Guard Lavers.