Neville Sydney Newman Stocker lost his life in the line of duty on the 5th August 1990. His Red Plaque was unveiled on the 5th August 2023, the 33rd anniversary of the event.
The Kent Fire Brigade were called to an incident where a field of crops of approximately 10 acres of standing corn was on fire during the hot summer of August 1990. The fire had been threatening a nearby house and a sudden change of wind direction caused the fire to alter direction. The owners of the house that had been threatened said ‘it was like a sea of fire, within seconds the whole field was alight’ with ‘15ft flames’.
This change in wind direction caused the crew of Ashford’s pump to became cut off during their attempts to extinguish the fire. Neville became disorientated and was eventually over come by both smoke and heat as the crews battled to move the pump out of the field, Neville suffered severe smoke inhalation and fell to the rear of the pump where he died, unbeknown to the rest of the crew. It is understood that Neville suffered from significant smoke inhalation and died from a combination of injuries received at the time.
Garry McPhee applied and coordinated this Red Plaque;
I find myself almost 32 years later the only member of Ashford fire station who actually served with Neville, all be it for only 7 months I was a new retained recruit and Neville was my mentor, Neville was literally months away from retirement. I have now been wholetime for the last 21 years. We have a plaque on station in his memory but feel something outside to remember his ultimate sacrifice for the people of Ashford would mean when I eventually retire he will not be forgotten, I keep in contact with Neville’s son and he passes the station every day on his way to work and feel this would mean also Neville’s whole family could visit it and see it when ever they wanted too.
Below are memories added by those who knew Neville Stocker or had a story that they wish to share with you. If you have a tribute for Neville Stocker that you wish to add, please include your memory below.
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Photo credits: Jess Hurd