More history
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
in 1941.     

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


                                                                                  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.