Ex-Rye Fireman Dies in New Zealand

by Roland Jempson.

How strange, that in the April edition of “Rye’s Own” there should be an article of the Rye Fire Brigade in 1952. This edition dropped on my doorstep in Bristol at the same time as I heard the news of the Death and Funeral of my brother in law Harry Martin., once a member of Rye Fire Brigade. Born in Scotland in 1917, Harry came from a family of fishermen. The family lived at Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre, he was the eldest of five having three brothers and a sister.

At the outbreak of War in 1939 Harry joined the Royal Navy and saw action in many areas. He was married in 1943 to my only sister Joan Jempson from Hastings. (Our grandfather Arthur Jempson was a Rye man). After the War Harry and Joan made their home in Hastings, he made his living as a painter and decorator. The call of the sea was still strong so he returned to Campbeltown and joined his father and brother fishing again.

By 1954 the lure of the sea left him and he returned with Joan to Sussex, finding a house in Military Road Rye. He found employment with Burnham & Son in Landgate and became a part time member of Rye Fire Brigade. This was in the period when Frank Bourn was Fire Chief.

In 1968 Harry and Joan emigrated to New Zealand and joined Harry’s younger brother Alister in the Auckland area.

During the last five years Harry’s health deteriorated, he died on Easter Monday, March 28th. aged eighty-seven. His coffin was draped with the Royal Ensign with his medals on top and a lone piper played “Mull of Kintyre” as the courtage left the church for the crematorium.

Are there any readers who have memories of Harry and his family?

Rye’s Own May 2005

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