Dursley Fire Engines

In 1879 the brigade was equipped with a new engine which it was promised would be ready for action within four minutes. This new engine was almost certainly the 1865 Shand-Mason Manual which still survives. Following the sale of this pump after the Great War, the "engine" appears to have been a large cart which transported the standpipes, hand pumps, hose etc. Even the method of propulsion was primitive, horses (known locally as "Carter's Poopers") were available in a field a little way out of town, but frequently it was hauled by the crew to the fireground.

With the formation of the Auxiliary Fire Service prior to World War II, Dursley firefighters at last obtained their first "motor", a Ford V8 Car towing a Harland Trailer Pump. The formation of the National Fire Service on August 18th 1941 saw Dursley Fire Station take receipt of improved equipment, firstly an elderly Dennis "Pneumonia Wagon" (i.e. coach-built by Braidwood) of unknown origins and later two standard wartime appliances, a 400 gallon Dodge Mobile Dam Unit and an Austin K2 Auxiliary Towing Vehicle with trailer pump.

In the mid-fifties the Station was allocated its first new appliance, Commer/Miles Water Tender (UDF 890) which was joined in 1965 by another new machine (DAD 7l7C) from the same manufacturers. In 1971 the oldest Commer was replaced by a new Ford D600/HCB-Angus Water-Tender-Ladder vehicle (WDF 804J). This was followed in 1973 when the second Commer was replaced by Ford D1013/HCB-Angus Water-Tender-Ladder (EAD 953L).

In more recent times, 1983 saw the station's two stalwart Ford Tenders replaced by Bedford Automatic/CFB appliances (DDF 940T and DDF 941T), ex Cheltenham and Gloucester and respectively. Further changes to the town's firefighting equipment saw the arrival of a Dodge G13/Carmichael Water-Tender-Ladder (B184 SDF) in 1985, a GMC K30/Telehoist Rapid Intervention Pump (F980 UAD) in 1989 and a Leyland 45-160Ti/Carmichael Water-Tender-Ladder (M34 FDD) in 1994. The last change was in 1999 when two John Dennis coach-built MAN engines (T156 SEU and T157 SEU) were allocated to Dursley and these remain in use in 2003.

  Picture Gallery (Click on picture for larger view)
    Early celebrations
Probably photographed for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations, the Dursley Fire Brigade assemble with their 1865 Shand Mason horse-drawn engine.
(c1897 - courtesy Tony Pegler)
    Shand Mason fire engine in Bull Pitch
With a full complement of crew, Dursley's Shand Mason fire engine stands in the Stanthill area of Bull Pitch.
(c1890 - courtesy Cam & Dursley Camera Club)
    Shand Mason horse drawn fire engine
Pictured here at Berkeley Castle with Dursley firefighter Ian Wilkins is one of the town's very early engines, the 1865 built Shand Mason pump.
(c1990s - courtesy Ian Wilkins)
    The old and the new
Following behind R.A.Lister's Morris Commercial fire appliance on the right, this picture shows Dursley Fire Brigade's "engine". At this time the town was still without its own "motor".
(c1930s - courtesy Ian Wilkins)
    Dursley National Fire Service Brigade
Shown here next to the wall of the Regal Cinema in Kingshill Road are Dursley's wartime National Fire Service Brigade with their engines. On the left is their 400 gallon Dodge Mobile Dam Unit and on the right is an Austin K2 Auxiliary Towing Vehicle, registered GLE 119. The ATV was designed by the Home Office and fitted with a 24hp six-cylinder engine.
(c1944 - courtesy Ian Wilkins)
    Commer/Miles Water-Tender
In the mid-fifties the Station was allocated its very first new appliance, the Miles bodied, Commer Water-Tender, UDF 890. This vehicle differed from its sisters, having been modified with a much lower ladder gantry for service at Dursley, this to prevent premature removal of the ladder by the door-lintel on turning out.
(c1965 - courtesy Ian Thomas)
    Commer VAC/Dennis M Water-Tender-Ladder
This new engine, registered DAD 7l7C, was of a type new to the County, the Water-Tender-Ladder. It carried the now universal 45ft (13.5m) Lacon ladder, 10ft. longer than the ordinary Ajax ladder and really designed as a replacement for the 50 foot Escape.
(c1965 - courtesy Ian Thomas)
    New Ford/HCB and Old Commer
In 1971, Dursley took delivery of a Ford/HCB vehicle, Water-Tender-Ladder (WDF 804J) to replace the oldest Commer engine. It is shown here with the more recent Commer shortly before it too was replaced.
(c1972 - courtesy Ian Wilkins)
    Ford/HCB Engines
A short time later the other Commer engine was replaced by a second Ford/HCB. Here, Water-Tender-Ladder appliance (WDF 804J) and the new engine, Water-Tender (EAD 953L), are shown outside the Castle Street Fire Station.
(c1973 - courtesy Ian Wilkins)
Dursley's Leyland 45-160Ti/Carmichael Water-Tender-Ladder appliance, registered M34 FDD, at Castle Street Fire Station.
(c1994 - courtesy Ian Wilkins)
    Visitor to the station
Making a visit to the town's Festival 2003 was this Environmental Protection Unit vehicle, N814 MFH, normally based at Stroud. The Unit provides specialist equipment to contain spillages of chemicals that may do harm to the environment and its wildlife.
(August 23rd 2003)
    Fire Engine 2003 - MAN/John Dennis
Shown here at the Dursley Festival 2003 is one of the station's John Dennis coach-built MAN 10.224 appliances, registered T156 SEU.
(August 23rd 2003)