The 1938-39 recruitment of auxiliary firemen and women was vast and unprecedented. By September 1939 well over 500 were recruited on the Island (almost four times the capacity of today’s fire service). The Home Office Fire Service Department scattered administrative memorandums about the nation like so much confetti. To the annoyance of those at the point of local management one memorandum would be repealed by the arrival of its successor, sometimes within a matter of days. Such was the scale of the task and the uniqueness of the situation it is understandable that administration would be finding its feet and occasionally stumbling, but what the Home Office omitted to fulfil, was the educational needs of the thousands of firefighters rapidly recruited to face an anticipated firefighting environment of unparalleled proportion, hazard, and intensity.

It was conveniently considered that regular brigade chief officers of municipal authorities would cheerfully deliver the mass of additional training compelled by the arrival of numbers of recruits that dwarfed the nominal roll of their modest brigades. These chief officers were, in the main, part-time, inadequately paid (or unpaid), wizened veterans of a less complex peacetime mode of firefighting. Stanley Fairbrass (Newport), Frederick Dennis (Cowes), Max Heller (Ryde), Bertie Knapp (East Cowes), Wilfred Brown (Sandown), Cecil Matthews (Shanklin) and Bob Spencer (Ventnor) were chief officers with literally hundreds of years of practical firefighting, drilling, and fire command between them. These men were more than capable of turning a raw recruit into a fine fireman in time, but to drill them in batches of dozens over the space of a few months to meet the needs of aerial incendiary and explosive attack was an unreasonable expectation.

Regardless, they knuckled down. They applied themselves to the task. The 1940 diary of Wilfred Brown, Chief Officer of Sandown Fire Brigade, who was by then in his mid-60’s, evidences a relentless year. On only a handful of days did not the needs of the auxiliaries, regulars, street fire parties and a host of others place demands on his time. Despite the strain, he, and his contemporaries listed before, went above and beyond. Recruits that turned out for training in ARP districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, could consider themselves fortunate to have been prepared for firefighting under the guiding hands of men with such experience.

District 6 was another matter.

The composition of the sixth of the Island’s ARP districts was land that fell under the authority of the Rural District Council. This proved impractical, not only for firefighting organisation but in all aspects of Air Raid Precautions. Pragmatics compelled the larger centres of Island civilisation in the east to absorb much of the bordering rural areas into their own district for ARP purposes. The outcome was that other than a few straggly tracts of middle-Wight, District 6 comprised the entire west.

West Wight had been subject to almost totally unopposed ravages of fire throughout the entire period of Victorian firefighting evolution, through the turn of the century, the Great War and beyond until 1928.

1928 was marked by the birth of the Freshwater Rover Scouts Fire Brigade. This cheaply equipped collective of scouting friends provided the west’s first truly dedicated voluntary brigade. With zero experience and dangerously worn second hand equipment donated by some of the Island’s established brigades, these boys became men through a series of events. Witnessing their performance at their first major blaze (Palace Picture Theatre, 26 May 1929) compelled Newport’s Captain Percy Shields to issue a compliment of their achievements – their work was beyond all praise and they are indeed worthy of being equipped with better apparatus.


A decade later despite astonishing accomplishments in the face of adversity the Rovers were compelled to stand aside on formation of the Freshwater and Totland Joint Fire Brigade, formed in anticipation of the impending Fire Brigades Act of 1938. This new brigade, preceded by the creation of a Joint Committee representing the fire protection of the two parishes, was barely out of its infancy when the likelihood of war loomed on the horizon, rapidly followed by the arrival of the AFS.

Unlike ARP districts 1 to 5, there was no veteran chief officer upon who the district ARP Officer could offload the responsibility for the training of auxiliary recruits. West Wight firefighting was still in its youth with development needs of its own.

Sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to engage a new problem; the problem being massed auxiliaries hastily recruited and insufficiently supported. West Wight had overcome a similar problem before in the shape of the Rovers. Did the district have the wherewithal to do it again? The strength of character, drive and determination of a few individuals was to prove they had.

Foremost among those individuals was one of the original Rover Scouts firefighters; Herbert Foss.

Herbert Arthur Hedley Foss was the son of dairy maid and housekeeper Adela and strict disciplinarian Henry, a Swainston estate worker. When Herbert was born at Newtown’s London Heath on 24 September 1902, his parents were 41 and 43 respectively. Herbert was to suffer frequent punishments under the command of his stern father, such as being forced to stand on a stool and read from the Bible on wet Sundays.

Home was a perpetually damp stone-built cottage without electricity or water, which had to be collected from a nearby pond. Attending school at Locks Green required a two-mile walk there and back. Henry hunted and gathered the family’s needs from the surrounding countryside and fully expected that when leaving school, aged 13, Herbert would join him picking winkles at Newtown marsh.

Herbert had plotted otherwise and began an apprenticeship at Wray and Sons in Newport. By 1917 the firm was struggling to function due to the stripping of many of its employees for service in the war. Out of necessity and despite his tender age of 15 he was taught to drive the company’s Ford 12 delivery van. This didn’t come without incident. One nocturnal delivery to an army camp at Locks Green almost got him shot when he failed to respond to the challenge of the gate guard. Herbert’s youthful motoring came to an abrupt halt when a jilted girlfriend dobbed him to the Police for which he acquired a criminal record for under-age driving.

Around 1923 he departed Wray’s on obtaining a post as counter-hand at Orchard Brothers grocery in Freshwater Bay. He lived in digs until meeting, falling in love, and marrying Elsie Jane Lavinia Lock, the daughter of a Porchfield farmer in 1927. They set up home at 2 Maida Vale, Camp Road, paying a rent of 7s 6d which was never increased in around 30 years of tenancy! Ten years later their only child Keir Barry Foss was born.

Herbert evolved to senior counter-hand where his concern for a fair deal for all saw him drawn in to trade unionism. Driven by a desire to correct the unfairness of imposed overtime without pay and unpaid holiday he made many visits to London, meeting unionists and politicians to further his knowledge and influence.

In the 1930s Herbert had helped found and run a successful Youth Club in Freshwater and through this had met Miss May O’Connor who was very active in promoting education throughout the Island.  She persuaded him to overcome his sense of inferiority and apply for a post with the Island’s Education Welfare Service. With O’Connor’s prompts at the interview, he was appointed as responsible for all children in the Newport and Cowes areas. 

Describing his father, Keir remarked; Herbert was a very intelligent man who consumed The Guardian newspaper every day but had missed out on a good education and suffered the low expectations of his elderly parents. Herbert was so proud of his position and took his responsibilities very seriously, following his professional motto of ‘to every child the chance’.  He became a very well respected personality. He had found a calling helping disadvantaged children in numerous ways with the help of the WRVS and others.

With war came the dilemma faced by many. Herbert was a philanthropic socialist and unsurprisingly adopted a pacifist stance. Writing his memoire many decades later for the benefit of Keir, he stated, I did not register as a conscientious objector, although in my heart I suppose I have always been one, as I believe the taking of human life is morally wrong. I think it was late 1940 or early 1941 when I had to register.

By then Herbert was a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service; I joined the A.F.S. about 1939. There were 15 of us (at Freshwater), three crews of five, and we used to go on duty every third night. This was apart from a full-time crew at Freshwater. The AFS was based at what Herbert described as Shannon’s old shop opposite the fire station.

Throughout the next year, as preparation for war evolved into reality, no records have been traced to follow the lives of Herbert and his auxiliary colleagues as they honed their skills and shared their lives between bouts of work, home and fire service duty. We can’t be sure of his skills, his standing among the men, his drive and determination, his capacity for leadership. We can however draw a fairly safe conclusion from the fact that the Freshwater regular Chief Officer identified Herbert for a testing and responsible position.

Under the scrutiny of the Ministry of Aircraft Production, Saunders-Roe were required to expand their fire protection arrangements and were looking for suitable men to form a full-time works brigade as a component of the AFS at Columbine Works, East Cowes. The Chief Officer recommended Herbert for a position.

I was duly appointed. It was 12 hour shifts and we did two weeks on days and two weeks on nights. Life for the next few years was work, travelling and sleep. It was quite interesting work consisting of mostly training works crews from the factory, the people stationed at Osborne and our own full-time crew, 22 of them.

The fact that Herbert was rapidly elevated to the position of training officer emphasises the repute in which he was held, and how his actions reinforced this on arrival at SARO. Herbert and a colleague were issued two-stripes denoting them as Section Leaders - but on the same pay as the rest. This did not seem fair to us, as we had the responsibility and more work than the other 22.

At this juncture Herbert took a revolutionary step in terms of Isle of Wight firefighting history. Trade unionism in one form or another had been patchy within the nation’s disparate brigades up until the founding of the Fireman’s Trade Union (later the Fire Brigades Union) in 1918. Even after the First World War the main unionist thrust came from the larger metropolitan brigades, leaving municipal largely uninvolved and uninvited.

The FBU weren’t to arrive on the Island in force until 1941 and it’s feasible that Herbert had a part in its coming. Rather than gripe and moan about the perceived unfairness of his position as Section Leader, Herbert got active and contacted Mr John Horner (Fig.1), FBU General Secretary.

Horner was nine years Herbert’s junior but a man with an interesting past. Born into modest living in Walthamstow with an illiterate father, he was encouraged to embrace education by his mother and attained a scholarship to St George Monoux Grammar School (established 1527). His capacity for learning had no bounds, as a polymath he had a deep interest and deepening knowledge of art, philosophy and English literature. When his time at St George expired, aged 15, he lacked the financial means of continuing in education and accepted a position as junior trainee-buyer at Harrods. Abhorred by the work he left soon after and joined the Merchant Navy in which he thrived and advanced rapidly. This ended abruptly in the early 1930’s when the Great Depression saw a massive reduction in shipping, Horner being among the many thousand who lost their jobs.

He was fortunate in finding employment with London Fire Brigade in 1933. Immediately Horner was appalled by the working conditions, the attitude of the authority to the firemen, pay, hours and all manner of practices. Initially applying pressure from within the brigade Horner gained ground and reputation and in 1939 was able to force a left-wing coup of the erstwhile moderate union that ended with him appointed as the unions General Secretary.

The rapidly expanding AFS provided Horner with a potential to grow the union to a previously unparalleled capacity. Reflecting on the situation many years later he wrote - The situation was acute, we could not afford to allow the A.F.S. to remain unorganised, more important, we could not allow some other body, union or otherwise, to organise the A.F.S. Within a matter of months union membership increased from 3,000 to 69,000.

It was in this confident and emboldened position that Herbert found John Horner. He arranged for us to meet him. I asked for a day off and went up and spent the day with him. I remember he took me out to lunch and I had my first Italian meal.

The result was outstanding. Within a week the chairman of Saunders-Roe had heard from Mr Horner and that weekend we had a rise in our wages. I well remember what a struggle I had to even get a few of them to join the Fire Brigades Union. A committed unionist, Herbert wasn’t a man to condone tardiness or apathy in his firemen and initially made himself unpopular by removing bedding from the station where firemen had commonly dozed away their shifts. He exampled his expectation, that of his employer, and those employed.

Arthur Pointer, pictured while serving with Newport FB.

Apathy wasn’t found only in the firemen; Chief Officer of the Saunders-Roe AFS, Arthur Pointer, formerly a fireman of Newport Fire Brigade and briefly its Station Officer, refused to leave the Island to attend training courses. Herbert and his fellow Section Leader grabbed the learning opportunities, normally spending a week at a time at a training centre in Reading.

For the next two years Section Leader Foss served the SARO AFS at Columbine, training the men and commanding them at increasingly alarming wartime incidents. Such was his success that his duties began to expand to the fire protection and training requirements of other SARO sites.

Since 1894 the IW Fire Brigades Federation had been the pivotal organisation about which the world of Island firefighters revolved. The Federation invited members of the AFS to various peripheral events, such as church parades, but had failed to consider a method whereby the auxiliaries could engage in drill competitions. The Federation had fostered the belief that firefighting competitions were an essential component of a fireman’s quest for improvement and excellence. By not accommodating the AFS the IWFBF made a rare omission, leaving auxiliaries with little option but to seek their own competitive events.

The story was the same nationwide, at first, but within months of the outbreak of war, district, regional and national firefighting competition organisers were sending invites to AFS units, those under the control of the local authority and works brigades.

The evolution of SARO’s firefighting force was not unique. On the Island AFS backed forces existed within the staff of the General Post Office, Southern Railway, J.S. White’s, Groves and Guttridge, the I.W. Gas Company, and Southern Vectis. Hints of similar units at other places of substantial employment, such as Morey’s, suggest there may have been many more in operation during the war. It’s important to make the distinction that even where these employers may have had works brigades before the war, during wartime they shared the brotherhood of the Auxiliary Fire Service. The only exception was the Osborne House Fire Brigade that remained an independent unit with full membership of the IWFBF since 1934 (the only non-local authority brigade to be granted Federation membership status).

When the Government forced the creation of the National Fire Service by merging all local authority brigades, works brigades and the AFS in August 1941, the competitive firefighting seemed only to increase. When Saunders-Roe elected to enter their firemen in drill competitions, the training acumen and leadership of Herbert was exposed for its true value.

Two-weeks before the birth of the NFS the first competition featuring SARO firemen trained by Herbert was held at Westwood Football Ground, the home of Cowes football club. The event featured four classes of competition. The first three, the Trailer-pump drill, Turn Out drill, and One-man drill, placed AFS and regular firemen in direct competition without distinction. The fourth competition was a further trailer-pump drill restricted to works brigades only.

The programme for the Cowes Fire Services event held at Westwood Football Ground, August 1941.

In the combined auxiliary-brigade drills the winners were West Cowes full-time AFS, East Cowes full-time AFS, and the one-man competition was one by East Cowes regular fireman C.Day. When it came to the works brigade drill, Herbert’s team from SARO’s Solent Works took the honours. To cap it off, in the sports section SARO’s Fireman Hennessy won the 100 yards and four SARO firemen won the 800-yard relay. It was a successful outing for the firemen. Their efforts were appreciated by the public audience that donated over £150 to the National Fire Brigades Association – Widows and Orphans Fund.

Herbert continued his memoire; About 1943 I was transferred to the Solent Works, West Cowes as I had been training two works crews from there. During this time the Ministry of Aircraft had built a factory in Parkhurst Forest and four hangars at Vittelfields and I had to arrange fire protection during the building. In the meantime Solent Works was bombed and burned to the ground. I automatically went to Forest Works with these two works crews.

On 15 August 1942 Saunders-Roe staged its own firefighting demonstration and drill competition at a site in Old Road, East Cowes. The opening display of National Fire Service capability was under the direction of Divisional Officer H. Pearson who later judged the drill competition between nine teams of four, all from Saunders-Roe.

The County Press report which noted the SARO Laminated Wood Products ‘A’ Team as overall winners of the Challenge Shield, named, congratulated, celebrated and thanked twelve individuals in its single column report. Praise was lavished on the (unnamed) SARO firefighters for their impressive display and dauntless endeavour. In the background, enigmatic and unobtrusive, unnamed and un-photographed, was Herbert Foss, the man who trained and motivated the 36 firemen to the peak of their professional capability.

Section Leader Foss (left) with Chief Officer Arthur Pointer (right) and the men of the SARO Repair Works drill team who were regional champions in 1943.

A month later teams from SARO crossed to Southampton to compete not only against other works brigades but also the cream of NFS Region 6 (Southern). As described in the County Press the Islanders made a suitable impression; Local works brigades scored notable successes in competing against industrial and N.F.S. crews in an industrial fire brigades competition at Southampton on Saturday.

In the hydrant dry drill with hose cart (4 men) SARO Laminated Wood Products won in 34 3/5th seconds (a Southern Regional industrial record), Saunders-Roe Ltd., being second in 37 seconds. In the trailer-pump wet drill (4 men) Saunders-Roe Ltd., were second and SARO Laminated Wood Products third. In the trailer-pump wet drill (4 men) for the Wellworthy Challenge Cup, SARO Laminated Wood Products won in 1m.58s. and Saunders-Roe Ltd., were third in 2m.8s. In the Panel Challenge Cup competition Saunders-Roe Ltd., were second and SARO Laminated Wood Products third.

The report ends stating that the Saunders-Roe Ltd., team were trained by Chief Officer Pointer who attended with the firemen on the day. It would be more accurate to state that Pointer commanded the service, but the hours of drills that brought them to such a high standard was due to the endeavour of Herbert Foss.

1942 - SARO fire crew with Buick tender and trailer-mounted Beresford Stork pump.

Like other sports, fire brigade competitions had preferred seasons. It wasn't until 11 July 1943 that Herbert's firemen were to next compete. Experiences during the intervening period only added to the efficiency and skill of the firemen and their officers, Herbert included.

Above - programme from the 11 July 1943 drill competition at Tipnor.

The nation’s fighting forces were by then immersed on many levels in their own individual and private hell. Mere fragments of the bigger picture, they spiralled across the battlefields of the world like so many fragile bubbles blown by a child, vulnerable to pop and expire in an instant. In comparison it may be considered that for home front firemen sunny days drilling on sports fields for glimmering silverware celebrated over pints of beer was an obscene mockery of the world around them. But for them this was their war.

The clearer the skies the more likely the enemy came upon them. Not for them to face with bullet and bomb but to stand defencelessly beneath and protect those who could not protect themselves. It was a place where conscientious objectors like Herbert Foss fought a different kind of war, without arms, without retribution, where aggression was turned on the flames and bare bloodied hands stripped at the hot twisted debris to locate and save a life. Competition firefighting focussed skills that had to be second nature when, out of the blue, the reality of war visited the Island’s population. Deliberate or concentrated attack on the Isle of Wight was, fortunately, rare. Where and when it did occur, SAROs firemen were not found wanting and often deployed to fires and rescues beyond the limits of their company’s perimeter. In the aftermath of the notorious Cowes blitz in the first week of May 1942, four SARO firemen trained by Herbert were recommended for gallantry awards, reduced by the Interdepartmental Committee on Civil Defence gallantry awards to commendations in the London Gazette (see Gallantry).

An example of the damage done by a single bomb during a tip-and-run raid on Newport, 7 April 1943.

This didn’t lessen the impact of a stray bomb, a hurriedly dumped payload from bombers fleeing the gallant fighter pilots of the RAF or the occasional short, sharp, shock of a tip-and-run attack.

Contrary to the Nazi intention of breaking British morale, the tip-and-run phase inspired a reaction akin to Dunkirk. Like the little ships the Island’s emergency forces emerged from shelters and crossed the rocky debris strewn streets to come to the rescue of those less fortunate, while bombs, bullets and bangs continued around and above. Much has been written of the comradeship of men at arms, the suffering of the living at the sight of death around them. Nothing can or should detract from the harsh realities experienced by soldiers, sailors, and airmen in theatres of war. For firemen, and all emergency workers of the Isle of Wight, their theatre of war was no foreign field; it was the streets, shops, factories and houses in which they lived, loved, laughed and died. A single 500 kilogram Sprengbombe Cylindrisch was more than sufficient to wreak hell upon a peaceful urban street.

It was for this that these men trained, for which they competed and held aloft their silver cups. Every silver cup raised was a statement to the people at home, we are ready, and we’ll be there when the bombs fall.

In the summer of 1943 Herbert’s men made their strongest statement.

Portsmouth Gas Company’s Sports Ground at Tipnor was the venue for the Southern Regional Industrial Fire Brigades and A.R.P. Competitions on 11 July.

SARO’s Aircraft Works Repair Team didn’t just win; or just set a new regional record – they set a new record for the entire country! A striking success uttered one venerable officer among the spectators.

On 14 August Saunders-Roe staged a second annual company competition between their works teams before the best of them set off to Reading on 19 September for the Southern Regional Finals; Industrial Fire Services v. National Fire Service, Industrial Fire Guards and A.R.P. held at the Oxford Road Stadium, a greyhound racing venue that first opened its turnstiles in 1931.

Here they put in solid performances, the best of which placed them third in the Finals Challenge Cup which was described in the event programme; The Crew are seated in the tender. On the Starting signal, they will descend, man-handle pump to dam. They will connect suction hose, run out one length of delivery hose, insert breeching, run out two single lines, fix branches, strike targets; they will then make up all equipment, and return appliance to tender. Of interest on this occasion is that SARO sent four women to take part in an identical drill for the Dorset Reconstruction Panel Challenge Cup. Sadly Herbert’s original copy of the programme, that included several pencilled results, doesn’t detail how the firewomen fared. SARO’s celebrated Repair Works Team competed in the Class IV drill and although they left the Windsor full-time NFS team in their wake, they achieved a modest fifth place.

Section Leader Foss (left) with the SARO firemen (left to right), Fred Gerrert, Joe Ince, Trevor Barton and Ray Newnham, winners and national record holders for their performance at the Southern Regional Fire Brigade Competition, at Tipnor, 11 July 1943.

Writing of the following year Herbert continued; In 1944 I entered a heavy pump and a light pump crew, again beat all Island crews and Portsmouth crew, and again to finals at Reading and again got 3rd in each class.

During the summer of 1944 the Ministry of Aircraft stationed an Aircraft Crash Tender with foam equipment at Somerton Airfield and I was transferred there. It was quite a big airfield (where Herbert chopped off the end of an index finger in the gates). Three Gates Road was closed and the runway went from Nodes Road to Park Road in Cowes. All types of aircraft were in and out all day. Swordfish used to come in and take away rescue boats made by Uffa Fox. Saunders-Roe test pilots used to test all the aircraft there, those that were repaired at Forest Works and the new (Supermarine) Sea Otter which were made at East Cowes. These were both sea planes, we had one bad crash but the pilot was not injured too badly.

Herbert’s memories suggest the crash happened in the summer of 1944, and it may be that there were two, because on 27 June 1945, seven weeks after cessation of hostilities in Europe, a Supermarine Walrus amphibious biplane was involved in a destructive crash at which Herbert was present.

According to the County Press; After taking off from Somerton Aerodrome, Cowes, on Wednesday, a Walrus plane was completely wrecked when it crashed on a piece of open ground and in the front garden of a bungalow on the opposite side of the Newport-Cowes road. Shortly after crashing the plane caught fire. The aircraft was piloted by Miss Ann Walker, a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary, who was rescued from the wreckage. Among the first to reach her was Mr L. Saunders, a van driver employed by Shergold’s Stores, Cowes, who was at a nearby petrol-filling station. The Aerodrome fire service and the N.F.S. were promptly on the scene and they not only extinguished the burning plane, but prevented the flames from damaging the bungalow which the plane so narrowly missed. The pilot suffered from severe shock and fractured ribs. She was taken to the Frank James Cottage Hospital, but her condition is not considered serious.

Crash site of the Supermarine Walrus, 27 June 1945.

Eyewitness testimony reported that the plane caught a sudden gust shortly after take-off that caused the cumbersome reconnaissance aircraft to yaw violently. As Miss Walker fought valiantly at the controls, the aircraft, not known for its agility, contacted the side of a hut which caused it to catapult the pilot, unconscious, out of the fuselage as it struck the ground and burst into flames.

Characteristically, in his memoire Herbert makes no mention of the commendation he and his men received for their action on the day.

When the war ended in 1945, I could have stayed on (offered permanent work at SARO), but it would have been at East Cowes and it would have been entirely different, so I opted for a bit more time at home and returned to Orchard Brothers.

Herbert had done his bit. No doubt he was correct; it wouldn’t have been the same. The war was won; his men had excelled in their wartime role. Cowes, East Cowes and the Island’s other hottest targets that were protected by determined crews trained by him were no longer under threat from the air.

Herbert returned to the genteel peacetime duties of the Orchard Brothers counter. But the firefighter bug bites deep and he remained a fireman with the Freshwater NFS, and continued when it evolved to form Station 9 of the Isle of Wight County Fire Brigade on 2 April 1948.

Herbert served until enforced retirement from brigade duties on 25 March 1957.

Letter confirming Herbert's qualification as a Local Fire Guard Instructor, an addition to his duties training firefighters.

An Isle of Wight County Council letter confirming Herbert's retirement.

Stated the County Press in the headline above, when reporting that Herbert and Elsie celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in January 1997.

The article continued; Being contented and working around any problems is the secret of a sprightly Gurnard couple’s long and happy relationship, which saw them celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Monday.

Mr Herbert Foss, 94, and his wife Elsie, 89, who both have heart pacemakers, met in Porchfield in 1922 when Mrs Foss was just 15. At the time she was working for her father, a tenant farmer of Rodgbrook Farm at Porchfield, while Mr Foss was working in the grocery trade.

The couple, of Rew Street Gurnard, were married at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Newtown by the Rev. Philip Glover on December 30 1926, and moved to Freshwater where Mr Foss worked for grocers Orchard Brothers.

He worked there for many years, and from 1939 until he was called up, was also responsible for the running of West Wight Youth Club. During the Second World War, he served as a fire officer at Saunders Roe, Cowes, where he finished as trainer of the works brigade.

In 1950 he joined the education welfare service of the IW County Council as a school welfare officer, responsible for all the schools in Newport and Cowes – a total of around 6,000 pupils. He worked as a school welfare officer until his retirement in 1968, and he is still remembered with great respect by many of the children he helped.


Because for Herbert, to every child the chance.

Article from the IW County Press, 3 January 1997.