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Born In Southampton in 1932 my first contact with the fire brigade was towards the end of 1938 when my Dad enrolled in the Auxiliary Fire Service (A.F.S) in preparation for war which to adults seemed inevitable to me as a child I did not know much about. I soon became interested in watching the firemen drill and the inís and outís of fire station life. War time experience soon demonstrated what all wholetime firemen already knew That providing assistance to other brigades was a difficult task because equipment was very much non standard even the ranks and structures introduced problems.

The first few sizable raids demonstrated that a standard needed to be nationwide so that units and towns could reinforce each other. With commendable speed the Government Nationalized the fire fighting resourceís, so was born the National Fire Services The (N.F.S.) and all existing A.F.S. firemen enrolled with many additional men and women.

I was not consciously influenced, but in my mind I suppose I must have been. I like most young children was evacuated to areas thought to be safer from air raids but like many others I longed to get back to my home This desire was strengthened as news reports of bombing and air raids were broadcast also because I could both see the fires and read about the raid from my evacuation address I was unhappy and ran away back home several times to be at home with my parents .In hind sight I must have been a real pain in the neck and the police were not too happy with me either and I was allowed to stay home where I lived with relatives for the rest of the war. Dad was fire fighting and Mum auxiliary nursing. During the many raids on the town of Southampton in 1940s the town was badly damaged and they were both kept pretty busy. Dad continued to serve in the fire brigade after the war transferring to a Hampshire station until retirement. Mum remained nursing until after the war.

After the war national service was mandatory for all males. My education in three schools led up to work experiences and eventually I was called up for my National service when eighteen years old. I was directed into the Royal Air Force where I served as a air field fire fighter at RAF Hemswell in Lincolnshire.

Recruitment to the civilian fire service in those days was at twenty one years of age. By then I was married to Dorothy my wife who lived in a nearby town in Lincolnshire called Gainsborough and we had started a family. we had no wish to be separated for long periods on the postings likely to follow so I demobilized. On leaving the RAF I applied to Join the Hampshire Fire Brigade.

I joined the Hampshire Fire Service in November 1953 and served at many stations in the south of the county moving in order to gain experience and promotion. It was frequently said that such moves effected the childrenís education .It certainly effected family life on call 24 hours a day Dorothy bore the brunt of family work and my duties meant we were seldom able to plan family outings but we made the best of it.

By 1970 We opted for a more settled existence and seeking promotion again I became the Station Officer in charge of Winchester Fire Station most of our children were either at the close of their education or at advanced stages, besides my wifeís work load had certainly not reduced and she too deserved more consideration and I consciously shunned further promotion opting instead for stability in housing and proper consideration for my family.

We determined not to curtail their development and education. I could foresee that the services trend was towards moving staff frequently. Frankly I could foresee that in the years to come the service having introduced an early promotion schemeís would have more concern for itís needs than I for my families future. It has certainly paid off. We are proud to say that among my children we have Company Owners, Company Directors Computer Programmers and Analysts, Administrative Officers and Department Store and Bank Managers, some of course opted for family life

My wife and I once we were on our own and the children had fled the nest were able to indulge ourselves in are own interest and hobbies for a change. We were also able to mix with the wider community soon we were able to further our joint interests particularly Local and Social History, Archeology,Genealogy and the local community

I served at Winchester Fire Station from 1970 until I retired in June 1983 following an accident when I fell of a roof injuring my legs