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The Welney Website

Welney Fire Service

page created 31st July 2010, amended/updated Saturday, 07 May 2011
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Text based on extracts from a book by Audrey James: 'Memoirs of a Fen Tiger' the story of Ernie James.
Published 1986 by David & Charles.
Photo from the Website Archive.
Names courtesy Tony Smart.
Additional material by the webmaster.
The Welney Fire Service was established in 1939. Sufficient men volunteered to form two six-man teams, and they based themselves at the Cherry Tree pub in Main Street, Welney. Every night one team was on stand-by at the pub, where a telephone had been specially installed so they could be contacted when necessary. welney fire brigade
Welney Fire Service c1940. From left ro right:
  • rear: Bill Kemp, Bob Kent Snr, George Smart, Cecil Swann, Les Stokes, Aubrey Clayton
  • middle: Sid Taylor, Len Smith, Stan Goodger (senior member), Bill Thorpe
  • front: Ernie James, Lionel Gowler, Harry Kent
At the start they were issued with an old hand-pump, then an old fire-engine with solid tyres from Wisbech Fire Station, and the crews were trained on Sunday mornings at Downham Market fire station.

Later still they were issued with a Beresford Stork trailer-pump, as seen on the left in the photo above, painted in standard wartime drab grey colour. (OK, I know it's a B&W photo so how can I tell?  Well, they were all grey; some say to avoid aerial detection; others say the makers ran out of red paint.)

Presumably it was pulled by the Austin car on right, possibly Mr Clayton's, maybe Mr Goodger's ?  Note that the car headlight is blacked-out, a requirement for all vehicles during the war.

I understand that Welney Fire Service existed just during the war years, 1939-1945. The AFS generally throughout the country was disbanded by the Government in 1968.
Related pages on this website
RAF Halifax crash during WW2
Raymond James - WW2 memories
Welney Home Guard
Welney Civil Defence
Related External websites
Auxillary Fire Service
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