For an inexplicable reason, when the 1939 Register was taken shortly after the beginning of the war, Alf and Ethel were located at Doone Villa, Princes Road, Freshwater, but he remained a Ryde fireman as this status is annotated in the side column of the register.
He remained a brigade regular up until the launch of the National Fire Service when he became a Leading Fireman of Ryde section. As an NFS junior officer he was one of few men whose accounts of the Cowes blitz have survived to be read today. This evidences that at 01:00 on 5 May 1942, he commanded a four-man crew, towing a trailer-pump behind Fireman Jack Fountaine's coal lorry, to East Cowes Town Hall, the dedicated rendezvous point, from where they were directed to Ferry Road, adjacent to the floating bridge ramp. Their primary role was to draw water from the River Medina to create a single-line water relay to supply firefighting parties further into the town. At Alf's initiative they also deployed secondary hose lines and fought fires in their immediate vicinity until 11:30 in the morning - during which time Fireman Fountaine kept the pump running continuously. Twelve hours later, after having an opportunity to go home, clean up, eat and rest, they were back at East Cowes, this time until gone two o'clock in the afternoon of 6 May as the ongoing firefighting effort extended more than 24 hours after the moment that the final Luftwaffe bomber dropped its ordnance.
The nature of Alf's factual and pragmatic report typifies the professionalism of his calling in the fire service, one which he maintained when the County Fire Brigade was formed in 1948 until his last appearance in Ryde's Fire Station watchroom log on 1 October 1953. He may have served after this date, no clear indication of his retirement has been found, however it is noted that under the (usually strict) application of County Fire Brigade rules, Alf should have retired by November 1950, when turning 55. Exemptions were sometimes permissible under the authority of the Chief Fire Officer and we can only assume this to have been the case.
What became of Alf in the years after his service to the brigade is unknown. He passed away at home, 11 Victoria Street, on 22 June 1979.
Rest in peace Leading Fireman Rees.