TOTNES FIRE APPLIANCES
DENNIS F8 - OUO 547
OUO 547 RESPONDING TO A FIRE CALL
Pictures courtesy Roy Yeoman Collection
THE BUSINESS END OF OUO 547 - SEEN AT THE ESCOTT FIRE ENGINE RALLY
BEDFORD J5/HCB ANGUS - Water Tender/Ladder
Registration No DDV 531C
This appliance, at Totnes in the 1960's and early 70's, was unusual in the fact that the driver and Officer in Charge (OiC) had no door to enter the vehicle and so had to climb into the rear crew area and then climb over their own seats into the front. When the crew was all seated it was surprisingly roomy.
On the roof, the appliance carried the very substantial 464 Lacon ladder, complete with tormentor poles, which you can see on the ladder sides, and winch handles to extend the ladder. Also carried was the Bayley 105 ladder.
The 464 ladder gantry, which you can see is the metal frame attached around the rear pump bay roller shutter door, was used to lower the head of the ladder to waist level and the ladder was then lifted off. When the ladder was slipped the two firefighters at the heel released the ladder and slid it backwards off the appliance. As the head of the ladder engaged with the gantry the other two members of the drill lifted a small catch, (which you can see on both sides of the gantry, just below the number plate) and the weight and speed of the slipping ladder and with the assistance of the other two ladder drill members, the trapped ladder head pulled the gantry outwards and down and locked at 90 degrees to the back of the appliance as seen below.
The weight of this ladder made the use of the gantry a must and it worked very well, the only downside to this method was the definate possibility of trapping your fingers as the ladder and gantry was lifted and pushed back onto the catches. It was very painful as I and many others can testify.
Parked in front is Bedford HCB ANGUS WrT
Reg No OTT 308G
The picture below shows the 464 ladder slipped and lowered, ready to be lifted off the gantry. Note the black helmets, tunics, boots and leggings.
The business end of DDV 531C showing the ladder gantry in the lowered position and a better view of the securing brackets. These brackets (as you will see in the above carnival picture) were eventually painted red as a warning about the finger trapping. Note also the ladder rollers and the brackets to "catch" the head of the ladder and where it sits in this lowered position.
Also in the picture is a Coventry Climax Light Portable Pump ( LPP ) seen here on it's removable shelf above the pump. This shelf was lifted at the front by the two handles at the bottom of the shelf by two men, then pulled off and lowered to the ground on legs. The LPP was then lifted off the shelf from waist height as a normal 4 man lift.
With this appliance either the ladder gantry had to be rehoused before the LPP could be removed or the LPP was taken off before the ladder was slipped. Often the No 2 of the crew would hop over the gantry to operate the pump.
Note also the suction hose strainer and basket were carried inside the pump bay and were fitted as required.
DENNIS OUO 547 & BEDFORD DDV 531C
DDV 531C TURNING INTO THE REAR YARD FOR DRILLS
BEDFORD TK/HCB ANGUS - Water Tender
REGISTRATION No OTT 308G
NEW - MAY 1969 - CALLSIGN 313
Totnes and District residents have undoubtedly noticed a loud two-tone horn sounding through the streets and roads - somehow a little different from the two-tone ambulance horns. Then they have seen a shining fire appliance flash by.
The answer to that is that one of the two appliances at the Totnes station has been replaced by a new Bedford water tender pump.
The vehicle, one of the most up to date in Devon, is the end product of close co-operation with the manufacturers for the supply of a dual purpose fire engine, one able to cope equally with town and country fires and road accidents.
Large lockers and roomy compartments cater for the variety of equipment carried, including hose, ropes, cutting equipment and ladders. As with all Devon County Fire appliances it is radio equipped, carries a 400 gallon water tank and has two pumps, a 500g.p.m. main pump and a 300g.p.m. portable pump, which has given valuable service for many farm fires. The crew also sit rearwards.
The day of the clanging bell and the red painted fire engine has passed. Paintwork badly scratched by the narrow Devon lanes has in the past involved considerable expenditure, now most of Devon's fire engines have beaten aluminium panelling which does not show sratches easily. The bell has been replaced by a two-tone horn, another sign of a changing world.
Totnes can be proud of it's new fire engine, as it should be of it's station and men. The first turn-out of the new appliance was to Buckhams Barn, Dartington where the firemen found that roof had already fallen in before they had arrived. The barn contained about 10 tons of straw. The appliance recently assisted at the Queens Hotel fire at Newton Abbot.
(Apologies for the quality of the picture the article is taken from an unknown local paper - May 1969)
THE ABOVE PICTURES
The new, as yet unbadged Bedford WrT, OTT 308G destined to become 313, seen outside Torquay Fire Station. This appliance had a straight six petrol engine, rear facing crew bench and carried 2 BA sets and a 105m Bayley ladder
313 seen at a chimney fire in Station Road, Totnes. If you look to the rear of the appliance you can see the excellent adjustable spotlight carried on the roof and the suction basket hanging over the rear.
OTT 308G leading the procession at Totnes Carnival, about to cross the Western By-Pass at the top of the town. The town carnival is led every year by Totnes fire station appliances with both crews carrying a salvage sheet for people to throw money into for the event.
OTT 308G CHANGING CALLSIGNS TO 311 AFTER WORKSHOPS CONVERSION.
Note: the coaches in the middle picture below, parked in the old Coronation Road carpark adjacent to the fire Station, now the main road to Paignton, crossing the river Dart on the new Brutus Bridge.
312 - DENNIS D SERIES
REGISTRATION No LTT 214P
312 - DENNIS RS/JDC
REGISTRATION No CTT 288Y
Courtesy Kevin Hale
The two pictures above courtesy Roy Yeoman Collection
REGISTRATION No E995 VTA
Delivered to Totnes new, complete with a full set of Hurst Rescue Equipment. A truly excellent appliance.
E995 VTA - Dennis Angloco RS
Seen parked on the football pitch at Harbertonford Village Hall Fete. Note the drill tower/scaffold in the background, used for a firefighting and lowering by line exercise at the event
Hurst Rescue Equipment carried on E995 VTA - Hydraulic Pump - Spreader - Cutting Jaws - Extending Rams - Extension Hoses. All brand new with the arrival of the appliance. Totnes was the second station to receive Hurst Rescue Equipment in the Devon Fire & Rescue Service due to the large amount of Road Traffic Collisions on Totnes's fireground.
Note the name DENNIS has been removed from the front of the appliance and replaced with the words FIRE - RESCUE
DODGE G1213/CARMICHAEL - PPF 666W
A couple of close ups of PPF 666W in the rear yard at Totnes.
YDV 739S - DENNIS D SERIES
DODGE CARMICHAEL - DENNIS D SERIES - DENNIS RS
Shortly after the arrival of the RS and before the departure of the D Series.
Drivers L - R
Ron Lamble - Paul Chambers - Roy Bowhay.
DODGE / CARMICHAEL - PPF 666W & DENNIS D SERIES - YDV 739S
Both appliances outside the station on a gorgeous sunny station open day.
DODGE 50 ANGLOCO 4x4 HOSE LAYER
REGISTRATION No B317 VFJ
CALLSIGN 17-5 AND LATER 31-5
Originally stationed at 17 Torquay and then transferred to 31 Totnes
SEEN HERE AT EAST DIVISION WORKSHOPS EXETER
This Hose Layer, built on a Dodge 50 chassis was originally attached to station 17 Torquay, but spent several years at Totnes before being retired from the brigade. Seen here badged for Torquay, the appliance carried flaked hose, dams and several small pieces of equipment. It was also awkward to drive due to it's high centre of gravity which made the vehicle sway.
All brigade drivers who drove this vehicle were required to attend 4 wheel drive familiarization training, which for us was held at Plymouth airport's rough terrain driving course which is used for their own airport crash tender drivers.
As you can well imagine, definately one of the better brigade courses.
Pictures courtesy Roy Yeoman Collection.
This appliance was rebadged for Totnes and had the callsign 31-5. To the right of the picture is Honiton Fire Station's Dennis D appliance and East Division's workshop van.
A BRACE OF VOLVO'S ARRIVE AT TOTNES
312 - VOLVO FL6 14/SAXON
Registration No. G77 OTA
An excellent appliance to ride, but slow on hills, of which Totnes has many.
Courtesy Kevin Hale
311 - VOLVO FL6 14/SAXON
Registration No. G82 OTA
As you see almost identical to 312 except for the 135 ladder on the roof.
This appliance, now in preservation, is seen here at the Escott Estate Fire Engine rally in June 2009, now badged for Cullompton Fire Station in East Devon.
1938 LEYLAND METZ 100' TURNTABLE LADDER
REGISTRATION No BDY 507
BDY was originally stationed and spent it's whole career at Hastings Fire Station in Kent, and somehow over the following few years found it's way to Devon.
She was used and displayed on several occasions in conjunction with Totnes Fire Station for the carnival and station open days. BDY was considered a first class attraction. It was talked about refurbishing the vehicle, and the fire station personnel having control of it's use at rallies and fetes etc. Dainton Hire's only stipulation was to retain a small plaque on the sides of the ladder stating Dainton as the vehicle owner. The idea was to store the appliance close to the fire station, but alas nowhere large enough could be found to house her. So she returned to Dainton's yard
Sadly, I am reliably informed this is BDY 507 as she is now, stripped and rotting in a yard in mid Devon.