My article last week on the Canadian firemen who came to Portsmouth during the war to help the local fire brigade was seen by Neil Comlay of Farlington.
His great uncle Thomas Love was a Portsmouth-born lad who went on to be the first fire chief of Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.
Thomas’s mother died in 1900 when young and her husband abandoned his children.
There were two girls – Winifred was sent to a family in London and Charlotte to a Portsmouth family.
Poor Thomas, then aged about 12, was sent as an orphan to Canada.
He worked on a farm for some years before ending up in Scarborough.
When the fire department opened Thomas was designated as second in command to the police/fire chief.
When he died, Thomas was promoted to fire chief in 1925.
When he retired in 1956 there were 100 firefighters, six firehalls (fire stations) and several fire engines.
His station was in Burchmount Road and he lived a few doors away.
He was on call seven days a week every week of the year.
Thomas married twice, to Lillian and Agnes. His son Charles, by Lillian, was a navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was killed when his aircraft was shot down on a raid over Germany. He was 32.
During the war Neil’s father, who was serving in HMS Manchester, visited Philadelphia when the ship called in for repair and found time to visit his uncle.
Thomas died in 1976 aged 87.