Fireman Charles Adolphus Harbour passed away on 21 September 1964 aged 61.
Charles, who appears to have been favoured by his middle name Adolphus from an early age as this is the name which appeared in the family 1911 census return, was born in Brading on 30 January 1903.
He was one of no less than 14 children of Ernest Alfred Harbour, a general labourer (born in Newchurch 1866), and Lucy (nee Merritt) who originated from Petersfield, Hampshire. The family lived in a cottage known as Brookfield (or possibly Broomfield) in Adgestone. Nothing is known of Adolphus's young life until he married Lilian Kate Chiverton in September 1925.
Around 1930 the couple set up home at Ivy Bank, Steyne Road, Bembridge, which still carries the original house-name plate to this day.
Tracing Adolphus's firefighting exploits has been difficult, not due to a lack of potential information but quite the opposite. The County Press obituary of 1964 states that he served as a fireman during the Second World War, and I have access to original records of the Bembridge unit of the National Fire Service from 1941 until after the war - however it is apparent that two of his brothers, Oliver and Albert, were also firefighters and it is impossible to know which of the three are referred to in handwritten entries featuring Fireman Harbour (post-war his brother Oliver achieved the position of Bembridge Station Officer - see Olive's Poem).
What the County Press obituary reveals is that Adolphus was a member of the N.F.S. workshop staff at Sandown, and a part-time operational member of the unit at Bembridge. In that capacity he would no doubt have played his part in some of the Island's most dramatic and hazardous moments of aerial bombardment during the conflict. The 1939 Register, taken before the formation of the N.F.S. reveals that Adolphus was already a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service whilst working full-time as a gardener.
Adolphus passed away at Ivy Bank, the place he'd called home for over 30 years.
Rest in peace Fireman Harbour.