William
C.
Watkin


 

WILLIAM C. WATKIN was born in Camden, New Jersey on August 27, 1909  to Millie and Charles E.  Watkin. The 1906 City Directory shows the family living at 907 North Front Street. Charles E.  Watkinn was then working as a riveter. When the Census was taken in 1910 the Watkin family was living at 18 York Street in North Camden. Charles E.  Watkin was working as a driver for Frank Lee Dickinson & Company, a wholesale grocery firm at York and Beach Streets, as was a neighbor at 10 York Street, Abraham Kern. Both men would go on to have long careers with the Camden Fire Department. The 1910 Census shows that the family consisted of Charles E. and Millie Watkin, William C. Watkin, and older sisters Georgianna and Matilda Watkin. 

By 1914 the Watkin family had moved to 909 Point Street in North Camden. Abraham Kern and Charles E. Watkin were both appointed to the Camden Fire Department not long after the 1914 Camden City Directory was compiled, Charles E.  Watkin's appointment being effective January 1, 1915. Charles E.  Watkin was working as a Camden fire fighter and still living at 909 Point Street when he registered for the draft on September 12, 1918. His ability was soon recognized, and by 1921 he had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, serving at Engine Company 5, on Federal Street at 12th Street. On December 23, 1921 Charles E.  Watkin was promoted to Captain. The 1924 Camden City Directory shows that Charles E.  Watkin was serving with Engine Company 7 at 1115 Kaighn Avenue, and that he and his family had moved across the street, to 908 Point Street. The Watkins are still listed there in the 1927 Directory, however a newspaper report from 1925 gives an address of 927 North Front Street. By the time the 1929 edition was being prepared Charles E.  Watkin had been reassigned to Engine Company 11 on North 27th Street in Cramer Hill. He and his family were then living at 2729 Hayes Avenue. By April of 1930 Charles E. Watkins, his wife and daughters had moved to 2711 Hayes Avenue. The 1929 City Directory shows that William C. Watkin had married and was living at 804 North 30th Street, and was working as a clerk in Philadelphia. The 1940 City Directory shows William C. Watkin working as a salesman and living at 424 Grant Street in North Camden.

After training as an Auxiliary Fireman in 1941, William Watkin served in that capacity for ten months. On May 1 of 1942 William C. Watkin was appointed to Camden's Fire Department and like his father, would make a career out of the fire service. Father and son served together for seven years. On May 1, 1949, at the age of 69, Charles E. Watkin retired from the Camden Fire Department, having served the City for over 34 years.

The 1943 and 1947 City Directories give 542 Byron Street as the address of William C. and Lillian Watkins, as does the 1956 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory. The 1959 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory lists William C. Watkin at 1028 South Merrimac Road in the Fairview section. He is not listed in the 1970 edition.

William C. Watkin had served with the Camden Fire Department for 29 years and 11 months when he retired on April 1, 1972. The 1977 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory has a listing for William C. Watkin at 36 Maple Drive in Sicklerville, New Jersey. He was still a resident of Sicklerville at the time of his passing, December 1, 1989. His widow, Lillian Watkin, joined him in April of 2001.


Camden Courier-Post * July 1, 1941
50 Volunteer Firemen Complete Training for Emergency Duties
Graduates First of 500 to Be Trained by City for Huge Reserve
Similar to that in London; Defense Officials Praise Work

Camden's first group of war and emergency volunteer firemen received their "diplomas" last night on completion or their training at the fire school in No. 10 firehouse, Ninth street and Morgan boulevard.

They are the initial volunteers to be trained as a reserve for the city fire department in an emergency. The volunteers, 50 of them, will be on 24-hour call. Eventually more than 500 men are expected to receive the training course for a huge reserve similar to the corps of firemen now being used in London. 

The men range in ages from 11 to 59 years with Charles Smith, son of Sgt. Ray Smith, being the youngest, and Harry L. Freidel, the oldest. 

The training course started May 12 and the trainees have attended three sessions a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, for seven weeks under the direction of Fire Captain Raymond Smith, no relation to the sergeant, who is director of the training school. Smith is a graduate of Class 56, of the Philadelphia Fire Training School.

Each volunteer fireman will be issued an identification card which will hold his fingerprints. 

Class Praised 

Among those congratulating the graduates were Herbert E. Harper, chairman of the Camden Defense Council; William C. Schriver, council member; Fire Chief John Lennox and Captain Smith. Howard Odrain, deputy chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department with 31 years of experience in fighting fires, attended as an observer. 

"In behalf of the Camden City Defense Council, I want to thank you men for the hours and days you have put into taking this course," Harper told the graduates,

"You have been prompt in attendance and have been attentive. We don't anticipate any air raids or any acts of war-invasion, but we have an important problem in enabling national defense Industries in Camden city to make load in their Jobs. 

"The sabotage committee of the defense council has been visiting the local Industries encouraging the plants to set up their own fire fighting squads and many are doing so. You men will be needed in times of an emergency to aid these forces and to assist at industries where there is no fire fighting squads." 

Chief Lennox termed the volunteers "our second line of defense" and thanked them for their cooperation. 

Training Complete 

The course included training In all phases of fire-fighting from operating pumpers to climbing ladders and combating incendiaries, Rescue work also was included. The use of gas masks and asbestos suits in chemical firs, how to approach delayed bombs with snubbers and the proper methods of using extinguishers were taught. 
A demonstration was held outside the firehouse by the volunteers. Their activities included scaling ladders, using gas masks to enter a smoke house, climbing and working on the top of the fire tower, using an aerial truck, tying tools for the lifting to tools, working on the end of water lines, working on pumpers, hooking up to stand pipes, jumping into life nets, tying life ropes and using asbestos suits through flaming gasoline and oil. 

The Class 

The graduates included: George D. Wilkinson, fire marshal of the RCA Manufacturing Company, and his two sons, Ernest and George; Garfield Watson, sergeant of police at New York Shipbuilding Corporation; Lieut. George Hamilton, Jr., of the 157th Field Artillery; Captain William Hare, of the Kaighn Avenue-South Street Ferry. 

Harry B. Thompson, Earl Denby, Lester W. Giberson, Norman P. Maull, Joseph Leone, Samuel Schuele, George P. Smith, Joseph Marchese, Nicholas A. Messaro, Willam S. Martz, William E. Doan, Elwood P. Martz, Jr., Clyde Getzinger, George W. Grove, Stephen Kirby, James W. McCracken, William Watkin, Manuel Weiss, Riccardo DiGiacomo, Louis Cimini, William P. Walter, Sigmund Yakaski, Nicholas Iacovelli, Robert Holmes, Walter D. Lohrman.

Myer J. Mutter, Charles Geitz, Charles A. B. Smith, Howard Doerschner, Harry L. Freidel, Franklin L. Wright, Paul W. Kessler, Warren I. Carter, Creston Polland, Edward E. Friant, Frank F. Shropshire, Charles Gall, Albert E. Pine, Nicholas Cerasoli, George W. Williams, Joseph G. Foster, Joseph Elliott, George Hance and Irving L. Stiefel.


Camden Courier-Post * May 1967
William Watkin - Bob Bartosz - Anthony Scappa - Federal Street

Camden Courier-Post * December 1989

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