Continuing the story of Fordingbridge Fire Station
|The Pump Drill Champions.
As discussed earlier in the book for some years in the 1950’s, 1960’s and early 1970’s
Fordingbridge excelled in annual drill competitions held within the Hampshire Fire Service.
These events were held every May, with the New Forest District finals being held at Stoney Cross
a couple of weeks before Whitsun and the County finals being held every Whit Monday in
different parts of the County. The competitions consisted of the following drills:
• Ladder drills
• One man dressing drills
• Five man dressing drills
• Hose running drills
• Major pump drills
The major pump drill was Fordingbridge’s speciality. The drill involved laying out suction hose to pump from an open water
supply, running out three lengths of hose and getting water to emerge from the nozzle as quickly as possible.
Each team was made up of five firemen all of whom had specific tasks during the drill. One man was responsible for
dumping the end of the suction hose into a water tank whilst three of the crew ran out the hose. The fifth member
was the pump operator with the important task of getting water to the branchman.
The final task of the drill was to attempt to knock down a target with a jet of water from the branch. The achievement of this
brought the drill to an end with the overall time taken being recorded and used to work out the eventual winning team.
Fordingbridge successfully won this event at the local divisional competitions on at least six
occasions and were the overall Hampshire winners in 1962.
The other event well practised by Fordingbridge was the one man dressing drill. This event consisted of a fireman having
to put on as quickly as possible his tunic, with at least four of the buttons done up, fire helmet and axe and belt. Then they
had to run ten yards to screw a standpipe on to a false hydrant before attaching a length of hose to the standpipe. A branch
then had to be picked up before the length of hose was run out. Finally the individual was required to run to the finish line
in order to complete the drill.
In this event Bob Mouland, Ken Coles and Charlie Gouge won the District finals over different years for Fordingbridge and
went on to represent the station at the County finals.
Leading Fireman Charlie Gouge demonstrating the ‘dressing drill’ in 1984
The Fordingbridge Auxiliary Fire Service.
As part of the Governments attempts to help safeguard the population from aggressive air attacks it introduced the ‘Air Raid
Precautions Act’ in 1937. Part of this Act made local fire authorities form an additional emergency fire service who, in times of war,
would help and assist the regular brigade member’s deal with the catastrophic effects of bombing raids. From this the Auxiliary Fire
Service (A.F.S.) was born.
The work of the A.F.S. during the early stages of World War Two in helping the local authority firefighters deal with the appalling
aftermath of heavy air raids earned them respect throughout the Country.
In 1941 the A.F.S. was evolved into the newly formed National Fire Service which brought together both the A.F.S. and the local
council brigades into one firefighting organisation.
The A.F.S. was reintroduced around 1949 to allow for better preparation and overall readiness should the need for Civil Defence
ever arise again in the future. However an A.F.S. section was not established in Fordingbridge until 1964.
When the Fordingbridge A.F.S. was once again in force the unit trained every Thursday night at Fordingbridge Fire Station.
An A.F.S. weekly training session Auxiliary Leading Fireman Jim Palmer is seen receiving oxygen therapy much
to the amusement of the other personnel
Due to a lack of accommodation space at the fire station a ‘Green Goddess’ appliance (NYR 70) was garaged at
Lyndhurst for the use of the Fordingbridge section. As discussed earlier in the book the fire station underwent building
work in 1967 to provide a home for the A.F.S. appliance but sadly this never transpired due to the review of Civil
Defence requirements the following year.
The Green Goddess appliance used by Fordingbridge A.F.S. (NYR 70) on a recruitment parade at a Fordingbridge Carnival
As well as the weekly training sessions the Fordingbridge section took part in numerous large exercises which at times
involved A.F.S. crews and appliances from across a very wide area.
Some of these exercises are detailed below:
September 1964 – Exercise PORTLAND 64
Held at Portland Bill in Dorset this exercise tested the majority of equipment in use within the A.F.S. Although
Fordingbridge’s appliance was set in on the beach to pump water along with a number of other machines it is reported
that not a drop of water reached it throughout the entire exercise due to its slightly uphill position.
June 1965 – Exercise LULWORTH 1
A large scale cliff rescue was carried out during this drill at Lulworth, Dorset. The Fordingbridge A.F.S. crew managed to
locate the last remaining casualty on the beach. Unfortunately all persons had to be lifted back up the cliff strapped in a
stretcher and Fordingbridge’s patient appeared to be the biggest soldier in the British Army! However, despite a slight
problem with the carrying line slipping around the casualty’s neck whilst he was being hoisted aloft, the crew
successfully managed to get the poor chap back to safety.
September 1965 – Exercise MORETON 65
Held at Moreton-in-Marsh this exercise was intended to test the procedures in place for moving a large column of A.F.S.
appliances and equipment. Unfortunately, as the Fordingbridge crew discovered, no account had been made for fuel
requirements during the long trip up to Gloucestershire. After a fruitless search in the Reading area to locate a fuel supply
the Fordingbridge members had to await the arrival of a petrol tanker which had been hurriedly dispatched to fill up all the
Green Goddess’s enroute to Moreton.
September 1966 – Exercise TERCENTENARY
This was a massive drill held at the Royal Victoria and Albert Docks in London. One of the early briefs given to the
Fordingbridge crew was “If you should happen to fall into the Docks make your way immediately to the nearest hospital”.
Once they had studied the murky looking water they soon realised the reasons why and took great care by the dockside!
June 1967 – Exercise BASTILLE
Held near Keyhaven this exercise involved equipment being moved across to Hurst Castle. However once on the long
shingle beach of Hurst Spit the A.F.S. appliances started to become stuck in and were unable to progress any further.
The Fordingbridge appliance was one of these unfortunate machines and as a result the crew were ordered, by a senior
officer, to carry their ladder by foot to the Castle. This was some distance away from the stranded fire engine and it is not
believed that the ladder or the Fordingbridge personnel ever actually arrived at the supposed destination!
Members of the Fordingbridge A.F.S. also acted as casualties at the Ambulance Service training centre at Claylands in
Bishops Waltham. Here realistic situations and rescues were carried out and the Fordingbridge personnel were
eventually conveyed by ambulance to Fareham and apparently recuperated at the local fire station bar!
The A.F.S. crew mixed well with the firefighters at Fordingbridge and were often accompanied on drills and exercises by
their retained colleagues.
The Governments decision to officially disband the A.F.S. nationally in April 1968 was fiercely opposed and this was no
exception at Fordingbridge. The section offered to continue for no financial reward and lobbied local newspapers for
support. Sadly it was all to no avail and the unit ceased in it’s activities.
The A.F.S. bay at Fordingbridge Fire Station, which was still being constructed when the A.F.S. unit was closed, was
officially handed over to the Hampshire Fire Service for the use of the local authority brigade. To this day it still houses the
Water Carrier appliance at Fordingbridge.
The end of the Fordingbridge A.F.S. was marked with a ‘bit of a do’ at the Red Shoot Inn, Linwood in 1968
1939 - 1941
Auxiliary Fireman Coleman
Auxiliary Fireman Salafia
Auxiliary Fireman Hood
Auxiliary Fireman Arney
Auxiliary Fireman Gouge
1964 – 1968
Leading Auxiliary Fireman J. Palmer
Leading Auxiliary Firewoman J. Kenchington
Auxiliary Fireman J. Carpenter
Auxiliary Fireman B. Kenchington
Auxiliary Fireman D. Dorrington
Auxiliary Fireman J. Saunders
Auxiliary Fireman J. Christopher
Auxiliary Fireman C. Robinson
Auxiliary Fireman R. Tague
Auxiliary Firewoman M. Gray
Auxiliary Firewoman G. Bowen
Auxiliary Firewoman J. Cooper
Fordingbridge A.F.S. members pictured in 2004
L-R: Jane Kenchington, John Carpenter, John Christopher, Jim Palmer, Marigold Gray
The Rockbourne & Whitsbury Fire Brigades.
Following the Fire Brigades Act of 1938 two other Auxiliary Brigades were established in small villages just outside of
Fordingbridge. Both of these new brigades received their initial training from Mr. E. Green of the Ringwood Fire Brigade.
The first was the Rockbourne Auxiliary Fire Brigade, which was established in November 1938. At this time the unit had
seven lengths of screw pattern hose, one adapter and one screw pattern branch pipe to use in the event of a fire. The
equipment was all stored at the farm of Mr. G. Mouland and the crew were called out when required by telephone. The
Rockbourne firemen were all supplied with boiler suits and pancake caps which was the standard issue for the time.
The Rockbourne Auxiliary Fire Brigade consisted of seven members:
Mr. G. Mouland (Captain)
Mr. D. Mouland
Mr. G. Mouland Jnr
Mr. J. Jacobs
Mr. P. Clark
Mr. W. Zebedee
Mr. R. Mouland
In February 1939 the Rockbourne Brigade were allocated additional equipment in the form of four 50 foot lengths of
screw coupling hose, one branch, one standpipe and one set of coupling keys.
The second unit at Whitsbury came into existence at the start of 1939 and the crew was made up of the following local
Mr. D. Jerrard (Captain)
Mr. A. Moore
Mr. A Herrington
Mr. T. Elliott
Mr. R. Sutton
The Whitsbury Brigade were supplied, in February 1939, with a box for storing their equipment and in the April of the
same year received two sets of coupling keys, one branch nozzle, three lengths of 50 foot screw coupling hose, one
length of 50 foot instantaneous coupling hose, one standpipe, one double female adaptor and one double male
There are no recorded details of the activities of these two small brigades throughout the early period of World War Two
and both the Rockbourne and Whitsbury Fire Brigades were dissolved with the introduction of the National Fire Service
The Breamore House Fire Brigade
One of the largest properties today in the area protected by Fordingbridge Fire Station is Breamore House. The house
was built in the 16th century and contains many treasures and artefacts and has been the home of the Hulse family for
around the last 250 years.
In the 19th century the house was some considerable distance from the nearest fire brigade and their respective
engines. It was feared that should a fire occur by the time someone had ridden a horse to fetch one of these engines
the building may well be lost. Therefore staff members, of both the house and the stables, combined to form the
Breamore House Fire Brigade. The date of the formation of this brigade is unknown.
Whilst it was primarily established to protect the main house and its outbuildings the brigade appears to have been
available outside of the estate when required. There are records of them attending a serious fire at Downton in 1891
when the Downton College was partially destroyed by a blaze which resulted in damage to the amount of £5,000.
The brigade had their own manual engine and were somewhat more fortunate in the standard of their equipment
compared to the Fordingbridge Fire Brigade of the same era. The Breamore firemen had brass helmets which afforded
them some protection at least. Within the house itself was kept a ‘Corridor Engine’ which was specially fitted with
handles so that it could be easily carried up and down stairs as well as pushed along the corridors of the premises.
The Breamore House Fire Brigade was disbanded in 1920.
The Breamore House Fire Brigade in 1919
FORDINGBRIDGE FIRE STATION RECORD OF SERVICE
FORDINGBRIDGE FIRE STATION - RECORD OF SERVICE
Year of Entry Year of Leaving
Sub Officer B. King 1935 1949
Fireman R. Young 1939 1952
Fireman C. Biddlecombe 1939 1954
Fireman W. Gouge 1939 1953
Fireman S. Scott 1939 1954
Leading Fireman V. Oxford 1941 1970
Sub Officer R. Kenchington 1944 1961
Leading Fireman L. Clarke 1946 1952
Sub Officer H.F. Mouland 1946 1979
Fireman C. Harris 1947 1969
Fireman W. Payne 1949 1951
Fireman A. Shearing 1950 1950
Fireman D. Price 1950 1950
Fireman J. Damant 1950 1958
Fireman W. Hunt 1950 1954
Fireman C. Coleman 1951 1951
Firewoman N. Somerville 1952 1953
Leading Fireman E. Stevens 1952 1977
Fireman G. Baines 1953 1983
Leading Fireman J. Shering 1954 1968
Leading Fireman E.C. Gouge 1954 1984
Fireman A. Hoppe 1954 1961
Fireman W. Andrews 1954 1961
Fireman K. Coles 1955 1983
Fireman J. Hale 1955 1956
Fireman R. Kenchington 1960 1968
Fireman A. Gurd 1961 1973
Sub Officer L. Jones 1962 1986
Fireman L. Bailey 1963 1966
Fireman A. Cox 1965 1975
Fireman P. Larkin 1966 1969
Fireman J. West 1966 1985
Fireman S. Murphy 1968 1978
Fireman R. Candy 1968 1970
Fireman A. Brooks 1969 1984
Watch Manager S. Coles 1970 Still Serving
Fireman R. Harris 1970 1976
Fireman B. Perkins 1974 1982
Crew Manager C. Coley 1976 Still Serving
Crew Manager J. Mouland 1976 2008
Fireman T. Harris 1976 1979
Fireman R. Shearing 1979 1981
Firefighter M. West 1982 Still Serving
Firefighter D. Jones 1982 Still Serving
Firefighter D. Palmer 1983 Still Serving
Firefighter D. Stone 1983 Still Serving
Firefighter D. Smith 1984 Still Serving
Firefighter P. Dorrington 1984 Still Serving
Firefighter B. Merrick 1984 1990
Fireman K. Brooks 1985 1986
Fireman N. Whatley 1986 1989
Crew Manager P. White 1987 Still Serving
Firefighter I. Archer 1988 1989
Firefighter D. Horsburgh 1989 2005
Firefighter A. Brooks 1990 1998
Crew Manager R. Freeman 1992 Still Serving
Firefighter K. Nicklen 1992 Still Serving
Firefighter D. Ings 1996 1997
Firefighter K. Gray 1998 2003
Firefighter J. Hesford 1998 Still Serving
Firefighter S. Waine 1998 2004
Firefighter S. White 2003 Still Serving
Firefighter D. Palmer 2004 Still Serving
Firefighter C. Dedman 2005 Still Serving
Firefighter L. Dorrington 2005 Still Serving
Firefighter S. Lincoln 2005 Still Serving
On the afternoon of the 25th June 2008 Fordingbridge were called to the scene of a serious road accident outside
North Allenford Farm on the Martin Road near Damerham. An elderly couple, returning from a lunch time picnic,
had been hit by another car coming the opposite way and the female passenger was trapped in the wreckage with
serious injuries. With assistance from a crew from Salisbury fire station the casualty was cut from the car and
flown to hospital by the air ambulance helicopter.
A few days later, on the 29th June 2008, a Fordingbridge crew again met up with Salisbury firefighters when they
were called to a shed alight at Morgans Vale School near Redlynch. The shed and its contents were severely
damaged in the blaze which started late in the afternoon.
A six pump fire in a derelict house in Wilton Road, Salisbury saw Fordingbridge assisting their Wiltshire
colleagues once more in the early hours of the 2nd July 2008. The roof of the property was badly damaged by the
On the 20th July 2008 a group of Fordingbridge firefighters carried out a road safety demonstration at a Vintage
Car Show at Breamore House. The demonstration showed the simulated rescue of a person from a crashed car &
it sought to highlight to the spectators the dangers of driving too fast and without due regard for other road users.
During the exercise a running commentary was provided so that the public could totally appreciate what was
happening. The display was very effective and the casualty was successfully rescued to the delight of the crowd!
The following pictures detail the demonstration:
Casualty Care being carried out on the ‘trapped’ driver as soon as the crew arrive
Glass removal from all the vehicle windows being carried out to prevent further injuries
Firefighter Steve White giving a fantastic commentary
The drivers door being removed using the hydraulic Combi-Tool
Starting the removal of the car roof by cutting through the ‘A’ posts and windscreen using a Makita Electric saw
Cutting through the rear ‘C’ posts using the hydraulic Combi-Tool
The hydraulic Combi-Tool being used to cut through the remaining middle ‘B’ posts
The vehicle’s roof has now been completely removed providing much more space
to allow for the casualty to be removed from inside the car far more easily
A hydraulic extending ram is used to push the dashboard and foot pedals away from the casualty
Preparing to place a stretcher down behind the casualty to commence their release
The stretcher being manoeuvred into the correct position between the drivers seat & the casualty
The casualty is slowly lifted out of their folded down seat and slid up on to the stretcher
Now safely secured on the stretcher the casualty is slowly carried out from the rear of the vehicle
The casualty is lifted clear of the vehicle & another rescue is completed by Station 47!
The team at this demonstration included:
Watch Manager Steve Coles, Crew Manager Pete White, Crew Manager Ross Freeman, Firefighter Dave Stone,
Firefighter Paul Dorrington, Firefighter Steve White, Firefighter Colin Dedman and Firefighter Shaun Lincoln.
A little girl had to be rescued by Fordingbridge firefighters on the 24th July 2008 when she got her head stuck
between the railings of some caravan steps at Hillbury Park Mobile Home Site in Alderholt. Luckily she was
released quickly and suffered no ill effects from her ordeal.
A rare opportunity was offered to the station on the 27th August 2008 when we were invited to take part in
some live fire training at Bournemouth International Airport. The exercise consisted of a simulated fuselage
fire on a 737/767 aircraft training rig. The Fordingbridge crew were shown how to extinguish the fire by working
in two teams and using fan sprays to fight the flames. After this the crew took part in a breathing apparatus drill
inside the mock up aircraft. The entire evening was extremely interesting for all those that attended.