History of Fordingbridge Fire Station

This history is dedicated to all the Firefighters who have served at Fordingbridge since the formation of a
fire brigade in the town. The names of those who have served since the start of the Hampshire Fire Service
on April 1st 1948 are listed below:

 

Sub Officer B. King

Fireman R. Young
Fireman C. Biddlecombe
Fireman W. Gouge
Fireman S. Scott
Leading Fireman V. Oxford
Sub Officer R. Kenchington
Leading Fireman L. Clarke
Sub Officer R. Mouland
Fireman C. Harris
Fireman W. Payne
Fireman A. Shearing
Fireman D. Price
Fireman J. Damant
Fireman W. Hunt
Fireman C. Coleman
Firewoman N. Somerville (W/Rm)
Leading Fireman E. Stevens
Fireman G. Baines (W/Rm)
Leading Fireman J. Shering
Leading Fireman E.C. Gouge
Fireman A. Hoppe
Fireman W. Andrews
Fireman K. Coles
Fireman J. Hale
Fireman R. Kenchington
Fireman A. Gurd
Sub Officer L. Jones
Fireman L. Bailey
Fireman A. Cox
Fireman P. Larkin
Fireman J. West
Fireman S. Murphy
Fireman R. Candy
Fireman A. Brooks

Crew Manager C. Coley
Crew Manager J. Mouland
Fireman T. Harris
Fireman R. Shearing
Firefighter M. West
Firefighter D. Jones
Firefighter D. Palmer
Firefighter D. Stone
Firefighter D. Smith
Firefighter P. Dorrington
Firefighter B. Merrick
Fireman K. Brooks
Fireman N. Whatley
Watch Manager P. White
Firefighter I. Archer
Firefighter D. Horsburgh
Firefighter A. Brooks
Crew Manager R. Freeman
Firefighter K. Nicklen
Firefighter D. Ings
Firefighter K. Gray
Firefighter J. Hesford
Firefighter S. Waine
Crew Manager S. White
Firefighter D. Palmer
Firefighter C. Dedman
Firefighter L. Dorrington
Crew Manager S. Lincoln
Firefighter C. Reeves
Firefighter S. White
Firefighter C. Dedman
Firefighter P. Clarke
Firefighter O. Price

Introduction

Up to the late 17th Century Fordingbridge consisted almost entirely of thatched houses which had old
open chimneys making them very susceptible to fire.

Methods of fire extinction were very basic with neighbours and friends pulling off the burning thatch with
long iron hooks and trying to douse the flames with buckets of water. This was not, however, very
successful as in 1663 and 1672 much of the town was destroyed by fire. In 1702 the "Great Fire of
Fordingbridge" caused damage in the region of £5,059.19.0d. Collections were made in churches
throughout England to try and help the Fordingbridge community cope with the disaster.

In 1707 an Act of Parliament was passed which required every Parish to provide it’s own engine. Records
show that Fordingbridge’s ‘Water Engine’ was in use by 1711. It was kept in a locked shed on the junction
of Roundhill and the High Street. There was no Fire Brigade and the engine had to be collected in person
by the individual in need of it’s services!

Although fire protection was very limited and also very basic at this time Fordingbridge did, it would
appear, make some efforts to improve the towns ability to fight fire. The Church Wardens were made
responsible for the provision & maintenance of the Parishes firefighting equipment and the Church
records show repair work dating back as far as 1742 when the engines were mended after a fire at Fryern
Court. 

In 1755 a Thomas Lawes was paid 8 shillings to repair a pair of the engines wheels and in 1757 Edward
Dale, a local blacksmith, submitted the following account to the Parish for the maintenance of the town’s
fire engines:

May 13th
To one day self and William in mending the Great Engine.…….................................................... 4s.0d
To 5 ½ lbs of Soder………………………………………….....................................................…...……. 4s.7d
To having out 2 of the Engins to clean and work them and see them in order………………...… 2s.0d
July 10th
To ½ a day in mending the Great Engin………………….....................................................……….. 2s.0d.
To 2lbs of Soder…………………………………………………........................................................….. 1s.8d.
To having out Newshams Engin to see in order…....................................................……………… 1s.0d.
                                                                                                                                                          15s.3d.
In 1767 Edward Dale was paid 3/- to again repair the towns Newsham fire engine.

In the January of 1820 it is recorded that the old fire engine was disposed of and replaced by a third size engine purchased at a

cost of £60 along with two lengths of 40 foot hose at £10 and two dozen fire buckets at £12.12.0. The local Insurance Company
contributed ten guineas towards the overall cost.

However, it was to be another 44 years until the Fordingbridge community started to take the risk of fire more seriously and
realised the need for a more efficient line of protection. During this time the towns fire engines had varying degrees of success at
fires within the town as the reports below highlight.

On the 16th June 1839 a raging fire was discovered to the rear of the New Inn at around midnight. The flames soon spread to a
long range of thatched buildings consisting of a large malthouse, stables and a fuel house. These properties along with the New
Inn were totally consumed by the fire. The prevention of further destruction to adjacent buildings was attributed to the prompt and
well directed services of the fire engines.

In January 1852 a fire broke out, around 8pm, in the thatched home of a Mr. Sheppard, a local shoemaker. The fire eventually
spread to the next door property, The George Inn, and then consumed the whole of the building incredibly quickly. The fire burnt
throughout the night and although the fire brigade engines were brought to the scene early on they served little purpose as they
were found to be in poor repair with the pipes leaking badly. Eventually a fire engine arrived from Salisbury at 2am and played
water on the burning pile for some time.

Despite the poor performances of the town’s engines the majority of local ratepayers refused to raise sufficient funds, to keep the
engines in good order, from a local tax in August 1854 which surely did little to help the situation.

In December 1854 two cottages and an outhouse near to the Wesleyan Chapel, belonging to Mr.J. Rawlence and occupied by a
Mrs. Palmer, were destroyed by fire. The engines arrived quickly and with much hard work prevented the fire from spreading.

A loft belonging to Mr. Titus Mitchell and used for smoking bacon was damaged by a fire on the 28th February 1863. Although the
towns engines attended the blaze it is stated that they appeared to be useless in their efforts to stop the fire.

On the 2nd June 1855 the Stuckton Iron Works were destroyed by a fire and on the 7th July 1855 a fire occurred in the cellar of the

dwelling house of Mr. B.Legg, a rope and twine manufacturer. The fire started from a spark from a candle but luckily was
discovered before it had chance to spread to the nearby row of thatched cottages. 
Chapter 1 - The forming of a brigade.

In August 1864 a specially appointed board of Inspectors held a meeting in Fordingbridge to arrange the appointment of three
paid Fireman whose duty it would be to see that their respective engines were always in good order and ready for any emergency
that may transpire. It was also agreed that a Volunteer Fire Brigade, numbering 24 men, should be formed. Any person interested
in joining was asked to enrol at the office of Mr.J.Harrison, the Chairman of the board. This was obviously the initial attempt at
having an organised Fire Brigade in Fordingbridge.

In September 1864 the town received a new Fire Engine. This was presented to the Parish by the Royal Farmers Insurance Office.
In addition to the engine, thirty leather fire buckets with copper rims were also sent.

At the same time the old fire engines belonging to the parish, which for some years now had been in a worthless condition, were
brought to the hammer and auctioned off. The two largest engines were purchased by Mr. William Jefferis and the small one by
Messrs. Neave & Co. of Bickton Flour Mills.

By the middle of September 1864 the volunteer fire brigade was fully subscribed and had commenced practise with the new
engine. The Captain of the Brigade was named as R.M. Davy.

In November 1864 the "new engine rate" commenced - this was 4 1/2d in the pound on house property and 1 1/2d in the pound on
land. This was not to prove popular, with many of the rate payers feeling aggrieved at having to pay the rate.

In February 1865 a small size fire engine was purchased by the Parish and was tested along with the engine presented by the
Royal Farmers Insurance Office. Both machines were found to be very competent and capable of throwing a large quantity of water.

The Board of Directors resolved, in March 1865, to obtain a third fire engine from Messrs. Shand & Mason of London. The town
would now have three good engines.

The first test for the town's new engines came at 9 o'clock one Sunday morning in April 1866. A fire broke out in the premises of Mr.
John Russell a baker. Two of the Parish engines were speedily sent and a large quantity of water was soon poured on the flames.
The fire had been discovered in the loft over the bakehouse where furze and heath were kept for heating the oven - these were
believed to have been kindled by a crack in the oven. Several bags of flour were destroyed as well as a number of flour sacks.
However, it was stated that the exertions of those present greatly contributed to the saving of the adjoining premises and the towns
fire engines were said to have worked most satisfactorily.

On Christmas Day 1866 the Lodge of Burgate House, belonging to Mr.J.Coventry, was destroyed. The fire engine was present but
due to the ferocity of the blaze it proved useless in its attempts to extinguish it.

In late March 1870 the Gatrell family were rescued from a fire at their shop next door to the Greyhound Hotel. The fire broke out
around 4am and Mr & Mrs Gattrell and their two children were got to safety via a bedroom window.

The New Forest suffered several fires during April 1875 which caused much destruction to large areas of gorse. 

On a Wednesday afternoon in October 1881 a fire broke out in one of the rooms of Sandhill House, belonging to Mrs.W.M. Hewitt.
The flames quickly reduced the whole of the building to ashes although all of the furniture, apart from the bedspreads, was saved
from destruction. The Fordingbridge Fire Brigade was in attendance but due to the scarcity of water could not be used.

A large meeting was held, on the 10th February 1883, to discuss ways of raising money to provide for the maintenance of the
towns fire engines. Mr. Hannen, the meetings Chairman, explained how the original funds, raised in 1866, had been used up. It
was agreed to make a rate on the entire Parish again. This was set to be fixed for the 2nd March 1883 and was not to amount to
more than a penny in the pound in excess of the current rate.

It is recorded in a local history book of 1889 that there was, at this time, two Fire Engine Houses located in Fordingbridge. One
was in Church Street and the second was at the other end of town in Green Lane.

In December 1889 a fire broke out in the Vicarage when some clothes in a drying apparatus ignited. The fire quickly took hold and
filled the room with smoke making it impossible to enter. The Vicar at once applied several water grenades and fearing they would
be insufficient sent for the fire engine and then sought help from the neighbouring cottages. When the Fire Brigade arrived the fire
had died out by itself.

In the small hours of a Saturday morning in January 1892, Mr.H.Withers awoke to discover his outbuildings on fire. The alarm was
sounded and information was sent to Bridge House where the Principal Fireman, Mr.Alexander, was entertaining his friends.
Hearing of the fire Mr.Alexander and his guests, in full evening dress, manned the fire engine and subdued the flames.
On the 28th October 1898, a special committee was set up to look into the state of the town's fire engines and the need for a new
engine house.

The committee members were:       

Mr.J.G.Viney - Chairman
Mr.W.J.Alexander                Mr.W.Roberts
Mr.A.E.Marsh                        Mr.J.P.Neave
Mr.A.Luffman                        Mr.G.Absalom

The committee were to consider several different sites but it was to be some time before the Fordingbridge Fire Brigade saw any
real improvement.

It would seem that on occasions the Fordingbridge Volunteer Fireman were somewhat disorganised in the event of a fire call. The
following letter was sent to the Salisbury & Winchester Journal on the 26th August 1899:

Sir,
The occurrence just now of a call on the Fire Brigade of the above town to a furze and heather common which is on fire about three
miles away contrasts so strongly in every detail with a similar call on the Fordingbridge Brigade to Burgate Park on the 19th
instant, that it may be useful perhaps if I, as a past resident and recent visitor, draw attention to what really is a most important
matter. I was fortunate enough to be present at headquarters when the call was made at 11.25 am by a cycle messenger. He
appealed now and again for activity but in spite of this the proceedings were carried out in the most leisurely manner, the curious
old machine was pulled out from its shed - dusted - and then drawn at a walk (except for the first fifty yards) up to Burgate Park, the
procession closing up far behind with the horse that should have galloped it there! After a tiresome search to get within fifteen feet
of water, a ditch was found, and then it became evident that those who were helping had never been drilled in the matter. The fire
had almost been beaten out, but it was thought advisable to wet everything surrounding and so at 12.10 pm water gracefully
tumbled out from the nozzle under protest, apparently the jet being about two yards long. Is it not really time that this sportive little
place organised a properly trained brigade and obtained an up to date manual engine? - for if the lassitude in efficiency and
general apathy shown on the 19th is a specimen of what usually takes place then Fordingbridge is in a lamentably insecure state
as regards to the chance of life and property in ravage from fire. Thatch and wood abound good distances may have to be travelled
and hence there should be extra efficiency with good materials to work with. Instruction could surely be obtained from Salisbury or
Bournemouth and very soon someone enthusiastic would come to the front. Along with the collection of house refuse, watering of
the streets, a good water supply and drainage this matter should be put, and I hope, dealt with in earnest.

Yours Truly, Wm. Baxter.

Mr. Baxter received a prompt reply from the Parish Council the following week dismissing his claims completely and quite abruptly.

In the early hours of a Sunday morning in April 1900 a serious fire occurred at the farm of a Mr. George Mouland. All of his
outbuildings and animal stock were destroyed in the blaze.

Also in 1900 a workman spotted flames issuing from a building adjoining a cottage in Green Lane, Fordingbridge occupied by Mr.
H. Davis a bricklayer. The fire spread rapidly to Davis's dwelling which having a thatched roof was soon engulfed in flames and the
workshop of Messrs. Pitt & Sons, Wagon builders, also caught fire. The town's fire engines were quickly on the scene but due to
an inadequate water supply the fire was not extinguished until Davis's cottage and the upper storey of the workshop had been
destroyed.

In September 1905 a fire broke out at Rockstead farm near Whitsbury Cross. Immediately a message was sent to Fordingbridge
for the fire engine. The engine arrived promptly and confined the fire to the barn in which it had started - the barn and its contents
were destroyed.

At midday on Friday 28th August 1906, a fire broke out on the premises of a Mr. Smith, a Grocer in Fordingbridge. The property was
thatched and was ignited by a chimney which was on fire some three feet away. A good water supply was available and on the
arrival of two of the Fordingbridge fire engines all serious danger was soon averted and within a couple of hours the fire engines
had departed.

In the very early hours of a Sunday in April 1907 the farm premises occupied by Mr. Wiseman at Stuckton were set on fire. Mr.
Wiseman managed to escape the blaze but four of his heifers were burnt to death. A message was sent for the Fire Brigade which
arrived without delay. Meanwhile the fire had spread to the dwelling house which was soon totally wrecked. Simultaneously,
another fire broke out in a thatched cottage at Frogham occupied by an Eros Gurd. Local residents were very uneasy around this
time as there had been a spate of some twenty thatch roof fires in the area.

Chapter 2 - Changing for the better !

In July 1908 Superintendent Alexander was asked to supply the Fire Engine Committee with the required dimensions for a new
Engine House large enough to accommodate all three of the towns engines. An estimate was to be sought from a Mr. Witt of
Fordingbridge as to the cost of enlarging the present Engine House in Green Lane and also as to the cost of constructing a new
House and of the annual letting price.

In September 1908 a reply was received from Mr. Pitt offering to take down the old Engine House and to erect a new one in Green
Lane measuring 29 ½ feet by 10 ½ feet with a height of 7 foot, for the sum of £35.00. A yearly rent of £2.00 was also to be charged
with a six year lease offered on the property. The Committee rejected Mr. Pitts offer and sought more favourable terms elsewhere.

In November 1908 an estimate was received from Messrs. G. W. Arney & Son showing a sketch of an Engine House with a 36 foot
frontage and a height of 10 foot which also included a concrete floor and specially fitted brackets for drying canvas hose. They
offered to build the premises and let it to the Council for a term of twenty one years for the sum of £8.00 per annum. It was stated
that the old Engine House near the Church would be taken down and that the old materials would be reused. The Committee
recommended that the Council should accept this offer as a suitable answer to the problem of accommodating the town's fire
engines.

However, in June 1909 a letter was received from a Mr. Goode offering another site for the new Engine House in the form of a
disused store at Roundhill. The building was formerly in the possession of a Miss Pinhorn but was now in a bad state of repair.
Mr. Goode offered the premises to the Council for the annual sum of £5.00. The site was considered by the Council to be very
suitable for the purpose of the Fire Brigade but unfortunately they did not, at present, have the necessary capital in hand to rebuild
the store to the required standard. They agreed to put by £20 a year until they had sufficient funds available and it was decided that
the new Engine House would be at Roundhill whenever time and money permitted. Until then it was decided that Mr. Alexander
should be responsible for housing the fire engines at a suitable place. 

In April 1911 Mr. Sidney Horsey was appointed as Assistant Superintendent of the Fordingbridge Fire Brigade.

In April 1913 a Traction Engine with a furniture van attached was passing through Burgate when some sparks from the engine set

fire to the roof of a thatched cottage. The fire was promptly extinguished by two local workmen with buckets of water.

Also in April 1913 the Fire Engine Committee looked at another site for the purpose of an Engine House. The stores of Messrs. W.
King & Son in Shaftesbury Street, which were for sale, were deemed to be a suitable site to keep the engines. At the same time
the Committee authorised Mr. Alexander to keep an eye out for a fire engine that could be obtained at a moderate price.

However by November 1913 negotiations regarding the purchase of the property in Shaftesbury Street had fallen through.
Eventually in 1914 work was started on the new Engine House at Roundhill with the contract being awarded to Sherings builders
of Fordingbridge. After several disagreements regarding the stations sliding doors and the general standard of decoration the
Brigade occupied their new premises the same year.
On the 5th November 1914 a report was made by the Superintendent A. E. Alexander as to the condition of the town's fire engines.
As the report shows the engines were not in a particularly good state of repair.

Large Engine:
This engine has 200 feet of delivery hose and three lengths of suction hose. The wheels and carriage require thorough over
hauling and repair, also the body. The iron stay bar for fixing the handles is missing and requires replacing. A pair of lamps are
necessary and also two straps for the suction hose and the whole engine requires repainting.
The estimated cost of these repairs is £10.10.0.

Middle Engine:
This engine has 250 feet of delivery hose and three lengths of suction hose. We recommend that the engine be fitted with a pair of
shafts so that it may be used with one horse. The lamps are also unsatisfactory.
The estimated cost of fitting a pair of shafts together with a leather back strap is £3.7.6.

Small Engine:
This engine has only one 45 foot length of delivery hose and no suction hose. We recommend that one 50 foot length of delivery
hose and one 8 foot length of suction hose be provided and that the engine be repainted.
The estimated cost of this is £4.10.0.

Mr. Alexander also informed the Committee that he had seen a good second manual, belonging to the Earl of Shaftesbury, which
he believed could be purchased for as little as £15. It was, however, pointed out by Mr. Alexander and Mr. Horsey that in the almost
entire absence of horses it would useless to buy another heavy engine such as a Steam Engine!
The Council however did not consider that the town's machines required replacing and ordered that the middle sized engine and
the small engine be repaired and repainted.

A fire broke out on a Sunday afternoon in May 1918 in a store at the rear of Mrs. Privett's Chemist shop in the High Street. The
contents of the store were of a very inflammable nature and for a time burnt furiously. The fire was confined to the store.

In the early 1920's the local butcher, Mr. May, used to own a barn at Redbrook which unfortunately caught fire one day. On receiving
the report of the fire the Superintendent of the Fordingbridge Brigade cycled down to view the fire and to see if it was worth calling
out his team. On making a decision he returned to Fordingbridge and for some time searched for an available horse to draw the
engine to the fire. There is now no sign of this barn!

The Fordingbridge Fire Brigade seems to have gone into a decline around 1920 and gradually it appears they ceased in operation.

At a meeting to discuss the safety of the town’s Workhouse inhabitants in the event of a fire, in March 1924, the existence of the
Fordingbridge Fire Brigade was raised. Amidst much laughter it was stated that there was somewhere in the town an antiquated
fire engine, no Firemen and some hose that should probably be in the Salisbury museum! The chairman of this meeting was Mr.
S.B. Rake who, several years later, would experience the inadequacy of the local Fire Brigade.

On the 11th April 1924 the Fire Engine Committee again wrote to the Superintendent Mr. Alexander to ask as to the present state of
the town's fire engines and equipment.

On the 25th April 1924 a reply was received from Mr. Alexander stating that the engines and equipment would be virtually useless
in the event of a fire.

In May 1924 Fordingbridge Parish Council admitted that the towns fire engines were insufficient and asked if the District Council
would assist them in providing more modern equipment. During the meeting it was stated by a Council member “that an efficient
engine was not of much use without a fire brigade”. It was also the feeling of the Council that the Salisbury Fire Brigade could be
well relied upon to deal within any situation in Fordingbridge. The District Council therefore declined any assistance to
Fordingbridge.

An offer was received at the same time from the Salisbury Fire Brigade to provide fire cover for the town in the shape of two motor
fire engines, small ladders and about 3500 feet of hose in return for an annual retaining fee of £25.00. It is known that members of
the Committee met with the Salisbury Fire Brigade on the 5th June 1924 but it is not recorded as to whether an agreement was
ever reached on this issue or not.

A house in Back Street, owned by Mrs. Chubb and occupied by Mrs. C. Bryant, was destroyed by fire on the night of Thursday 11th
November 1926. Before the arrival of the fire engine, volunteers saturated the thatched roofs of nearby houses. When the manual
arrived it was got to work from a stream which ran past the house and it was past midnight before the fire was extinguished.

An outbreak of fire nearly gutted Oaklands, Fordingbridge, the residence of Mr. S. B. Rake in January 1929. The Police were
immediately informed and telephoned for the Salisbury Fire Brigade who, under Third Officer Woott, were playing water on the
building within half an hour of the summons. Their water was supplied from a pond some 300 yards away. The damage was
estimated at £2500 and the greater portion of the house was entirely burnt out.
Chapter 3 - The Fire Brigades Act 1938.

In 1938 the Government introduced the "Fire Brigades Act" which brought about the need for greater organisation within local
brigades. Therefore, the same year Fordingbridge Fire Brigade became the direct responsibility of the Ringwood and
Fordingbridge Rural District Council.

The Brigade continued to operate from the station at Roundhill and under the command of Superintendent Horace Willetts
provided fire cover for the town using a Hudson car converted for use as a fire appliance by 'Lines' of Boscombe. The vehicle was
purchased by the community and used to belong to a Duchess in Linwood. The Brigade charged local people one guinea to ride
from the Fire Station to Godshill to help cover the cost.

At the start of the Second World War an A.F.S. unit was established to the rear of Mr. Coleman's shop in the High Street. A Morris
Cowley car was used to tow a light pump if required. It is believed that the wartime crew was:

Mr. Coleman, Mr. Salafia, Mr. Hood, Mr. Arney & Mr. Gouge.
Chapter 4 - The National Fire Service Years.

On the 18th August 1941 Fordingbridge Fire Brigade became amalgamated in the newly formed National Fire Service becoming
part of 'Fire Force 16'. It's N.F.S. number was 16-C-3 Station U with Fordingbridge being a sub station under the control of
Ringwood. In 1941 Fordingbridge had an establishment of nine retained personnel who manned the Hudson appliance and a
light trailer pump.

Whilst fighting a forest fire at Pitts Wood Inclosure near Godshill one night during the war Fordingbridge fireman were subjected to
a bombing raid by German planes who had spotted the flames from overhead.

A Messerschmitt fighter plane was shot down later on in the War at Bramshaw Telegraph with a Fordingbridge crew attending to
make the area safe.

The home of a Miss. Deacon at Blissford was completely destroyed after a mid air collision between three P-38 Lightening Aircraft
from Stoney Cross. One of the planes crashed, killing the Pilot, several feet in front of her Cottage spraying it with petrol. Miss
Deacon’s dog was badly burned but survived. The work of the Fire and Rescue crews was extremely hazardous as one of the
aircraft’s large bombs was buried under the wreckage and live ammunition exploded at regular intervals.

Also the Albany Hotel in Bridge Street caught fire during the height of a German bombardment. This caused the locals some
distress as they were afraid that the enemy would use this as a guide and flatten the entire town!

Towards the end of the Second World War the Fordingbridge fireman moved into new premises in Salisbury Street, which later

became the site for the now disused Post Office, and around 1946 it was renumbered station 16.B.9 and was reclassed as an 'F'
risk station.

In March 1948 Fordingbridge received a Fordson Pump Escape (GGK 166) to replace the Hudson conversion appliance. This was
built on a Fordson Thames Chassis and had a forward mounted Barton pump. Due to the National Fire Service policy of keeping
two different types of appliance on certain fire stations during World War Two there was also a Fordson Water Tender (GXM 868),
which towed a light trailer pump, on the run at Fordingbridge.

Chapter 5 - The Hampshire Fire Service.

With the abolition of the National Fire Service on the 1st August 1948 Fordingbridge became part of the Hampshire Fire Service
being numbered station 47 in the Brigade's 'D' Division (D47). The station was now under the command of Sub Officer Bert King.

In early 1949 Fordingbridge began to receive fire calls via an experimental turnout system devised by the G.P.O. This was known
as System ‘D’ and utilised the exchange line network between the Brigade’s Headquarters at Winchester and Fordingbridge,
automatically operating the siren above Lloyds Bank and the firemen’s house bells in the event of a fire. The annual charge for this
system was £25.00 and there was only one other Hampshire Fire Station, West End, using this system and only a total of fifty
nationwide.

This was a great improvement on the previous arrangement where the Officer in Charge at Fordingbridge had to receive the call
and was responsible for operating the Klaxon siren, which was situated above Mr.Arney’s store in Shaftesbury Street, in the event
of a fire. However, the System ‘D’ was not always reliable as Fireman Ron Baines, who was watchroom man at Fordingbridge for
thirty years recollected:

“I remember that one day the house bells operated on a day time call but the siren did not so I ran to Lloyds Bank and operated the
siren manually – my father came and kept the siren button pushed in for me so that I could report to the fire station."

June 1949 was a busy month for the crew. On the 14th June a fire broke out in Gosney's oil store at Stuckton damaging the two
storey building as well as a residential flat and also a quantity of paraffin and ironmongery supplies.

The 25th June saw a fire occur at McMillan’s Foundry in Fordingbridge where a single storey corrugated iron and timber building,
used as a workshop, was damaged along with some electrical machinery and bags of coal dust.

On the 28th June a sawmill at West Park Estate, Damerham suffered severe damage to power operated saws, diesel engines
and a large quantity of timber and sawdust. At this incident there was a serious shortage of water and a water relay of one mile in
length, using three pumps, was instituted from a stream.

On the 1st October 1949 Bob Kenchington took charge of the station and was to remain in this post until his retirement in 1961.

By 1950 the Fordson Pump Escape was in a bad state of repair and it was decided to replace it with a converted Austin Towing
Vehicle (ATV) with a trailer pump (GLR 77) which arrived on the 5th August 1951.
The Fordson Water Tender was also to be replaced, in order that the station could return to its correct compliment of one
appliance, by a new A40 van, although this did not actually arrive until early in 1952.
Also in 1950 it is recorded that one of the firemen put a spade through an electric cable whilst digging a hole for a hose hoist at the
Salisbury Street fire station. The final account for repair from the Electricity Board was - £6.7.6d.

On the 26th November 1950 the roof of Martin Church was seriously damaged by fire requiring the Fordingbridge firemen to be on
the scene for nearly eleven hours.

March 1952 saw a new appliance, a Commer (KAA 523), arrive at Fordingbridge to improve the town’s firefighting capabilities.
In 1953 the fire station in Salisbury Street was in need of some attention. The prefabricated hut to the rear of the station was in a
dilapidated state requiring major roof repairs and also repairs to internal linings. The estimated cost of which was approximately
£85.
In the August of 1953 the G.P.O., who owned the fire station site, informed the Hampshire Fire Service that it wished to extend the
local telephone exchange within the next three years by utilising the current fire station site. It was necessary therefore to look for a
new site suitable for housing the Fordingbridge Fire Station.

In September 1954 a new site was located in Station Road, Fordingbridge, with an area of  0.4 acres and costing £227.2.1d plus
legal costs. The approximate running costs for the Salisbury Street fire station and for the new proposed fire station were:

EXISTING STATION                PROPOSED STATION
Rent                               -                                                                        -
Rates                           £18.00                                             £67.00
Electricity                     £45.00                                             £45.00
Gas & Water               £  5.00                                             £  5.00
Maintenance              £40.00                                             £20.00
Furniture & Fittings   £  5.00                                             £  5.00
         =====                                             =====
     £113.00                                           £142.00

On the 8th March 1955 the Hampshire Fire Service agreed to purchase the land in Station Road and also granted permission for
the building of a new fire station as long as the total cost of construction did not exceed £7,760.00 plus £275.00 for the Quantity
Surveyor's fees and expenses.
Also in March 1955 it was resolved that the Austin A40 van should be withdrawn and that Fordingbridge should just operate as a
one pump station with the continued establishment of twelve firemen.

On the morning of the 23rd July 1955 Fordingbridge firemen attended a plane that had crash landed near the Royal Oak Public
House at Fritham.

In 1956 the County Council agreed to the tender of T. Holdoway & Son Ltd amounting to £6,363.15.9d, together with any
reasonable incidentals, to construct the new fire station.
On the 15th December 1956 a serious fire occurred at the East Mills Woollen Factory as Leading Fireman Charlie Gouge recalled:

”We had been called to a chimney fire but when we were driving over the bridge out of town we could clearly see flames. On our
arrival we found the turbine house and main weaving shed were well alight. Luckily there was ample water available from the
nearby River Avon. It is the quickest I have ever seen suction hose made up!”

Reinforcements were called on from Ringwood & Cranborne and the main store was saved from destruction although the turbine
house and weaving shed were destroyed. Charlie Gouge received £1.19.0d for his six hours hard graft at this incident.

In February 1957 a serious fire occurred at Parkers Oil Store in Provost Street, Fordingbridge and on the 8th March 1957 a fire
broke out at the home of the local artist Augustus John at Fryern Court.

On the 21st July 1957 Fordingbridge’s new fire station was officially in operation and is still the home for the present crew and
appliances.

An aircraft crash at Cuckoo Hill, Gorley on the 9th November 1957 saw Fordingbridge in action again whilst on the 26th February
1958 there was another call out to a plane crash, this time at Farewells Farm in Bisterne.

A special service call was undertaken on the 1st February 1959 when Fordingbridge firemen assisted with filling a steam train
with water at Fordingbridge Railway Station.
On the 9th and 10th October 1960 Fordingbridge and the surrounding villages suffered badly with flood water which helped keep
the fire crew busy!

On Boxing Day 1960 Fordingbridge was one of the stations called to the serious fire at the Picket Post Hotel near Ringwood and
spent several hours damping down the blackened shell of the property.

In the early 1960's Fordingbridge Fire Station took an active part in many competitions. They excelled in the major pump drills and
won several cups for their efforts including the District final at HMS Sultan in Gosport in 1962.

At around 1320 hours on the 22nd March 1961 a call was received to a fire at Lewtas Motor Cycle Shop in Salisbury Street. Charlie
Gouge was on the crew that day and recalled:

”When we got there the workshop was well alight. We got two jets to work even before the driver had time to put his boots on and
managed to get the fire, which had been started by petrol leaking from a motorbike while the mechanic was out on his lunchbreak,
under control quite quickly.”

Unbeknown to the crew at the time but a Chief Fire Officer from up North had witnessed all the action and took the trouble that
afternoon to seek out Sub Officer Kenchington and congratulate him on his crew’s professionalism.

On the 1st October 1961 Bob Mouland took over as Officer in Charge of the station following the retirement of Bob Kenchington

During very severe weather conditions in 1962 the wiring in the Fordingbridge siren burnt out when it was operated for a fire call.
So that the station could return to normal as soon as possible Messrs. Goodwins, the Brigade siren maintenance contractors,
carried out the required repair work at the cost of £30.00 for rewiring and £20.00 for the installation of a temporary siren.

On the 27th August 1963 Fordingbridge firemen were called to assist the Police to recover a body in the weeds of the River Avon at
Bickton Mill.
The early hours of Boxing Day 1963 saw Fordingbridge being sent to Esso Fawley to assist at a large fire there. Fordingbridge
crews were mobilised to Esso Fawley a couple of times throughout the 1960’s.
In 1964 an Auxiliary Fire Service Unit was re-established at Fordingbridge and although they never actually fought a live fire they
participated in many drills and competitions. The A.F.S. contingent consisted of six auxiliary firemen and four auxiliary firewomen.

Sadly they were officially disbanded in April 1968 amidst quite a lot of media attention in the local newspapers. Members of the
Fordingbridge A.F.S. included; Leading Auxiliary Fireman Jim Palmer, Leading Auxiliary Firewoman Jane Kenchington and
Auxiliary Fireman John Carpenter.
1965 saw Fordingbridge called to two separate incidents where they had to come to the assistance of people in precarious
positions.
On the 26th April 1965 they released a young boy stuck down a hole in Ringwood Road, Alderholt and on the 6th June 1965 they
had to rescue a man who had fallen down a well at Down Farm, Martin.

On the 1st July 1965 the Fire Service began to rent a small garage next door to the station in Candy’s Yard for the annual rent of
£52.00. This was for the sole purpose of housing a Landrover appliance (YOR 207) which was an addition to the station’s fleet.

Also in 1965 Fordingbridge was placed into Sub Division D.3. along with Ringwood, Burley & Christchurch. However, this
arrangement did not last for long.

The 6th July 1966 saw another daring rescue carried out by Fordingbridge firemen when they were called to a boy stuck in a toilet
at Sandleheath.

In 1967 the station underwent building work to provide an additional appliance bay and a Landrover bay. The extension was
undertaken by Messrs. G. Wayman & Sons for a total price of £2,374.15.0d and was completed in March 1968.

1967 saw a serious fire at 'The Cottage' at Sandy Balls in May and in July the Brigade were called to release a man trapped under
his car at Frogham.

On the 28th September 1967 Fordingbridge were seen rescuing a man from a gravel pit at Blashford and in the October they
tackled a barn fire at Burgate.

The 3rd December 1967 saw a 'Bubble car' badly damaged by fire in Fordingbridge car park.

In July 1968 the old Commer (KAA 523) was replaced by a Bedford TK (MCG 557F).
At 1450 hours on Saturday 8th February 1969 crews from Fordingbridge and Ringwood Fire Stations were called to a house fire at
6 Lower Bartons, Fordingbridge where sadly an elderly lady was found to have died.

On the 7th May 1969 a fire occurred at Fordingbridge Junior School. Mr. Bill Bray, the Headmaster at Fordingbridge for many years
recalled:

"Just before nine o'clock that morning the teachers were gathering around the old table, in what is now the East Room at Avonway,
planning the day's events when a tiny child plucked at Miss. Cherrett's skirt shouting “please Miss the school is on fire!” The
youngster was gently coaxed back into the playground leaving the teachers in peace. The child returned with some friends and this
time the teachers attentions were raised - smoke was rising from the back of the school. The fire bell was rung and the children
were swiftly marched across to the Drill Hall yard. The fire engine with Leading Fireman Vic Oxford on the crew soon arrived. Mr.
Oxford was also the school caretaker but unfortunately did not take his keys with him to fires!  So a very fit Headmaster had to run
up to the Bartons for the keys and helped Fordingbridge Fire Brigade save the day!"

September 1969 saw a serious house fire at Whitsbury whilst on the 28th December 1969 Fordingbridge were again involved in a
major incident at Esso Fawley.

The 9th April 1970 found Fordingbridge firemen rescuing a horse which had fallen into a pit at Gorley Garage whilst on the 13th
September 1970 they were called to the scene of a plane crash at Martin Drove End.  September 1970 also saw Fordingbridge
undertake training in the newly provided breathing apparatus sets – a great asset to the station.
A serious fire at Wilton's Toy Shop in Salisbury on the 16th February 1973 saw Fordingbridge in action again whilst on the 31st
May 1973 a fatal helicopter crash occurred at Whitsbury.
On the 13th January 1974 Fordingbridge firemen were called out to pump flood water from the Fire Station due to severe flooding
problems in nearby West Street.

On the 2nd March 1974 Fordingbridge firemen managed to save the thatched roof of Channel Hill at Damerham when it caught
alight – sadly the same property was struck by lightning in 1983 and this time the roof was completely lost
A man who was trapped underneath a tractor at Whitsbury needed the services of Fordingbridge Fire Brigade on the 5th June
1974.

Chapter 6 - The Hampshire Fire Brigade.

A local government review in 1974 saw Fordingbridge become part of the Hampshire Fire Brigade following the amalgamation of
the Hampshire Fire Service, City of Southampton Fire Brigade and Portsmouth City Fire Brigade. The station remained as D47.

On the 13th February 1975 Fordingbridge firemen were called to Brookheath Cottage at Whitsbury to rescue a cat which was stuck
up a tree.

During a Wednesday drill night on the 11th June 1975 a call was received to a thatch roof fire to the rear of the Horse and Groom
Public House at Woodgreen. The roof and property were extensively damaged in the blaze.
Another serious house fire occurred at Forest Road in Hale on the 28th December 1975.

The long hot summer of 1976 saw Fordingbridge tackle grass and heath fires on a daily basis from April till September. Among
the most memorable were the forest fires at Avon Causeway on the 10th July 1976 that attracted the attendance of twenty pumps
and the thirty pump fire at Ringwood Forest on the 11th July 1976.

Shortly after the end of the busy summer period of 1976 members of Fordingbridge Fire Station were invited to a special dinner
held at the Ashburn Hotel, Fordingbridge. The evening was arranged by Fordingbridge Parish Council to acknowledge the hard
work and effort of the station during this period.

A ‘thankyou’ to the Fordingbridge fire crew at the Ashburn Hotel in 1976
Back row L-R: John Mouland, Steve Coles, Colin Coley, Alan Brooks, Ken Coles, Brian Perkins
Front row L-R: Ewert Stevens, Alf Brewer (Chairman Parish Council), Bob Mouland, Charlie Gouge, ‘Spud’ Murphy, John West

Following the fierce forest fires of 1976 a new Landrover (KPX 240P) arrived at Fordingbridge to replace the ageing Landrover (YOR 207).

A house at Mill End, Damerham was badly damaged by a blaze on the 30th January 1977 and on the 5th February 1977 there was a fatality in a caravan fire at Sandy Balls, Godshill.

In June 1977 Fordingbridge received a Bedford S (YHO 398) to use as a Water Appliance to assist with initial water supplies at
property and forest fires. Basically this was a stripped down appliance with no ladder or equipment and had previously served atBishops Waltham.

Fordingbridge’s Water Appliance – Bedford S (YHO 398)

The thatched roof and an adjoining workshop of a property in Breamore caught alight at 6.30 in the morning of September 6th 1977. Five pumps assisted Fordingbridge crews in subduing the flames.

Thatch roof fire at Breamore – 6th September 1977 Fordingbridge’s Bedford TK Water Tender (MCG 557F) stands in the foreground

A range of farm buildings were badly damaged in a blaze which broke out at Lopshill Farm in Crendell on the 16th October 1978.

Fordingbridge Fire Station personnel in 1979
L-R: K.Coles, L.Jones, J.West, C.Gouge, T.Harris, R.Baines, A.Brooks, C.Coley, J.Mouland, S.Coles, B.Perkins Front: B.Mouland

In 1979 Len Jones took over as Officer in Charge following the retirement of Bob Mouland. Sub Officer Mouland received the British
Empire Medal for his services to the Brigade and the community of Fordingbridge.

On the 8th August 1979 a car, a lorry and an army tank were involved in a collision on the A338 road at Charford with a
Fordingbridge crew attending to make the scene safe.

                                               Road Traffic Accident involving a tank – 8th August 1979

On the 28th December 1979 there was again serious flooding in West Street and Provost Street, Fordingbridge which required
pumping out by the Brigade.

Also in 1979 a replacement Water Appliance went on the run at Fordingbridge (HOR 208E) and was again used to assist with initial water supplies at forest fires and other incidents.

                                                               Fordingbridge’s Water Appliance (HOR 208E)

A serious fire badly damaged a terraced house at Redbrook Cottages, Redbrook on the 15th January 1980 and Fordingbridge
firemen were called to rescue a cow that had fallen down a well at Ogdens on the 2nd March 1980.

Late at night on the 21st April 1980 a major forest fire broke out near Ashley Walk at Godshill. It took the crews of eight pumps all night to subdue the flames.

The occupants of 6 Shaftesbury Street, Fordingbridge had to be rescued from their blazing terraced house after a serious fire had developed there on the 10th January 1981.

                    Shaftesbury Street Persons Reported January 1981 and a happy ending with a young boy safely rescued

The roof of a large house at Bleak Hill, Harbridge was badly damaged by a blaze in November 1981.  The 5th May 1982 saw the
Churchill Arms at Alderholt badly damaged by a fire that had started in a bedroom.
A fire at Stoby’s fish and chip shop in Salisbury saw a crew from Fordingbridge called to assist their Wiltshire colleagues at this
major fire on the 6th July 1982.

In January 1983 the Water Appliance was replaced by a Water Carrier (UTP 78K) capable of holding 900 gallons of water. This had been converted from a Dennis pump ladder, originally stationed at B24 Southsea, by Brigade Workshops

John Mouland & Colin Coley pictured with Fordingbridge’s new Water Carrier (UTP 78K)  January 1983

Fordingbridge Fire Station – January 1983

On the 12th August 1983 Fordingbridge attended a thatch roof fire at the Old Beams Inn at Ibsley and battled for several hours with Ringwood, Burley and Lyndhurst crews to save the roof.

                                                         Fordingbridge Fire Station personnel in 1983
L-R: C.Gouge, A.Brooks, M.West, D.Palmer, R.Baines, C.Coley, L.Jones,J.Mouland, K.Coles, D.Stone, S.Coles, J.West, D.Jones

A new HCB Angus Water Tender (A33 OPX) arrived in December 1983 to replace the ageing Bedford.

                                 Colin Coley & Len Jones with Fordingbridge’s new Water Tender (A33 OPX)

In early 1984 a fire broke out in Molly Parker's store in Provost Street, Fordingbridge. The shop was full of all sorts of combustible
materials and was therefore extensively damaged by the blaze.

                                                               Fordingbridge Fire Station – November 1984

In 1985 a new Landrover (GPX 583N) arrived at Fordingbridge. This had been originally stationed at A4 Fleet.

                                                                            Fordingbridge’s Landrover (GPX 583N)

Also in 1985 Fordingbridge attended a Microlite which had crashed into the crowd at a fete, causing the death of a lady, at
Fordingbridge Junior School on the 28th September.

In 1986 Steve Coles took over as the Officer in Charge following the retirement of Len Jones.

On the 15th August 1986 Fordingbridge were the first to arrive at a serious fire that destroyed the Alderholt Surplus Stores

                                                  Alderholt Surplus Stores well alight – 15th August 1986

The horrific murders of 5 people at Burgate House, Fordingbridge on the 2nd September 1986 made national headlines and
carried pictures of the Fordingbridge firemen on the front pages of the daily papers and television screens all around the world

                                                            Burgate House, Fordingbridge – 2nd September 1986

Fordingbridge were called to assist at the spectacular eight pump fire at the Optica factory on Old Sarum Aerodrome in Salisbury
on the 16th January 1987.

The Albany Hotel in Bridge Street, Fordingbridge suffered serious damage during the five pump fire there in the early hours of the 11th January 1988.

                                                      The Albany Hotel, Fordingbridge – 11th January 1988

A fire in a thatch roof at Woodgreen in May 1988 caused severe damage whilst on the 24th November 1988 Fordingbridge firemen along with a Coastguard helicopter from Lee-on-Solent rescued the television news presenter, Sue Saville, from the depths of the New Forest after she had injured her back whilst horse riding.

                                                                      Thatch roof fire at Woodgreen – May 1988

The farmhouse at Moor Farm in Fritham was virtually destroyed by an early morning fire on the 7th January 1989 whilst the A338
road claimed several lives at serious road traffic accidents during early 1989.

The 6th August 1989 saw a Fordingbridge crew called to one of the most spectacular fires they are ever likely to attend. The early
morning destruction of the Maltings Shopping Centre in Salisbury attracted the attendance of fifteen pumps and lit up the night sky over Salisbury for several hours.

Below shows Fordingbridge Fire Fighters at the Maltings

The following day Fordingbridge firemen had to contend with a six pump field fire at Whitsbury Manor Stud, Whitsbury.

A fibre glass factory at Glendale Farm, Whiteparish was badly damaged in a 5 pump fire on the 18th August 1989. Acetylene
cylinders, which had been involved in the fire, had to be cooled for several hours at the scene.
The huge forest fire on the A31 at Bratley Arch on the 8th September 1989 saw Fordingbridge firemen occupied for many hours
whilst on the 14th November 1989 they were called to assist their Ringwood colleagues at the serious six pump fire at the High
Corner Inn at Linwood.

                                                          Fire at The High Corner Inn – 14th November 1989

Also in November 1989 Fordingbridge crews attended two fatal road traffic accidents at Breamore and Martin Drove End.

Road Traffic Accident at Breamore – November 1989

Fordingbridge’s Water Tender (A33 OPX) with a Bus that had been blown off the A338 road during the storm of January 1990.

A local farm worker who had broken his leg was rescued from a muddy ditch at Mill Farm, Alderholt on the 22nd May 1990 by
Fordingbridge firemen.

                                                                   Fordingbridge Fire Station personnel in 1990

                                                    Back Row L-R: M.West, D.Stone, J.Mouland, D.Smith, C.Coley, P.White

                                                    Front Row L-R: D.Horsburgh, P.Dorrington, S.Coles, D.Jones, D.Palmer

On the 26th June 1990 a serious fire at Yew Tree Cottage, Whiteparish virtually destroyed the building, attracting the attendance of 6 pumps including Fordingbridge's.

A cow, heavily in calf, was released from a deep slurry pit at Glebe Farm in Rockbourne on the evening of 21st October 1990. Both
mother and baby survived their ordeal.

Fordingbridge were called to assist at a six pump fire at the Chef Peking Restaurant in Salisbury on the 27th November 1990. The
roof of the premises was badly damaged.

Early in the morning of the 28th September 1991 Fordingbridge attended a fatal road traffic accident on the A338 road at Gorley.

Barn fires were all the rage in 1991 it seemed. Stories appeared in the local papers claiming that there was someone starting the
fires deliberately after several incidents occurred within close proximity to each other.

                                                                         Barn fire in Rockbourne - 31st August 1991

Another large forest fire broke out on the 23rd May 1992 at Kingston Great Common near Burley attracting the attendance of ten pumps and eight Landrovers including Fordingbridge's.

The Alderholt Surplus Stores suffered further damage on the 26th August 1992 when a lunch time blaze destroyed a large brick outbuilding.

Chapter 7 - The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.
On the 1st September 1992 Fordingbridge became part of the newly named Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. Their first shout under the new identity was to lift a very large lady who had fallen out of bed at the Fordingbridge Nursing home and was unable to be picked up off the floor by the nursing staff.
On the 14th October 1992 a large barn at Harbridge was badly damaged by fire requiring the attendance of six pumps.

                                                                       Fordingbridge Fire Station personnel in 1993
Back Row L-R: M.West, D.Stone, D.Palmer, Station Officer R.Kidd, P.White, D.Smith, D.Jones,R.Freeman
Front row L-R: K.Nicklen, P.Dorrington, C.Coley, S.Coles, J.Mouland, D.Horsburgh, A.Brooks

Work was started on improving the fire station drill yard in late 1993 with the area being enlarged and a new drill tower being
erected. The work was finally completed in the summer of 1994.

Also in 1993 more serious road traffic accidents occurred at Breamore and Gorley. 

Probably the biggest fire ever in Fordingbridge broke out in the early hours of Saturday 8th January 1994. Fordingbridge firemen
battled all day, backed up by seven other crews, to extinguish Loaders Mill which was badly damaged throughout.

Loaders Mill lighting up the night sky over Fordingbridge – 8th January 1994

January 1994 also saw the furthest a Fordingbridge crew has ever travelled to an incident. On the 18th January Fordingbridge were mobilised to assist with the major flooding operation at Hambledon, near Portsmouth, and spent the night pumping out cellars and drains.

                         Fordingbridge crew at Hambledon S.Coles, D.Stone, C.Coley, D.Smith, M.West, P.White

A cow was rescued from the muddy bank of the River Avon at East Mills in Fordingbridge on the 19th May 1994.
A fatal helicopter crash at Martin Drove End on the 8th June 1994 saw a Fordingbridge crew standing by at the scene for several
hours.

On the 13th June 1994 a Water Tender Ladder (H371 BTP) was placed at Fordingbridge to increase the station's rescue capability at road traffic accidents and other incidents. The Water Tender (A33 OPX) was revamped by brigade workshops and placed at Wickham Fire Station (B22).

Fordingbridge’s Water Tender Ladder (H371 BTP) with the Bridge in Fordingbridge in the background viewed from the recreation ground

                                                                         Fordingbridge Fire Station 1994

On the 12th August 1994 Fordingbridge attended a serious fire at the White Hart Hotel in Salisbury. The roof and second floor of the famous 17th century hotel was badly damaged in the fire which started just before 10am. A total of fifteen pumps, a Water Carrier, two Aerial appliances, two Emergency Tenders, two Damage Control Units and a Control Unit tackled the blaze which was one of the biggest fires to have occurred in Salisbury.

                                                   Smoke billowing from the roof of the White Hart in Salisbury

The 5th October 1994 saw Fordingbridge in action in Wiltshire again when they attended an eight pump warehouse fire at
Downton. The store contained a multitude of chemicals and coal and for a time gave off some rather nasty smoke.

                                                    Road Traffic Accident, A338, North Gorley – 20th October 1994

On the 20th October 1994 a serious road traffic accident occurred outside Gorley Nurseries on the A338 road involving a van and an armoured Post Office lorry carrying the weekly pension money and on the 22nd October 1994 Fordingbridge were called on to assist with the rescue of an injured horse rider from a muddy field near Alderholt Riding Stables.

A house fire at Fritham, on the 9th November 1994, had a dramatic moment when a petrol can ignited close to the BA crew, who were just entering the building, engulfing them in a ball of flame - luckily no one was hurt.

At 0244 on a freezing cold morning on the 23rd December 1994 Fordingbridge attended a six pump fire at Cross Trees Cottage at Breamore. The occupiers, Sir and Lady Westrow Hulse, had a lucky escape when they managed to escape from their burning home by climbing down a knotted bed sheet from their bedroom window. Sadly the Grade One listed building and most of its contents were destroyed in the fire. The hydrant pressure was very poor at this location and so a water shuttle, using two Water Carriers, was carried out to supply the fireground with water.

Cross Trees Cottage burning furiously & below Andy Brooks and Pete White at the window of the occupants lucky escape – 23rd December 1994

The occupants of Cross Trees Cottage in Breamore escaped from the inferno by climbing down the knotted bed sheet

Another serious road traffic accident occurred on the A338 road outside of Redbrook Cottages at Redbrook on the 19th January 1995 with the Fordingbridge crew being joined by crews from Lyndhurst, St. Marys and Salisbury fire stations.

 

Extremely high water levels on the River Avon led to flooding in the Bridge Street and Southampton Road areas of Fordingbridge. The crew spent the day assisting with clearing the floodwater on the 1st February 1995.

A toddler was safely released from his bedroom after he had become stuck in after the door had jammed at Hillbury Road,Alderholt on the 25th February 1995.

On the 28th February 1995 a Leyland Mastiff Water Carrier (GOT 357K) capable of holding 2000 gallons of water went on the run at Fordingbridge replacing the much smaller Water Carrier (UTP 78K) which headed out to Rwanda to assist with supplying water to remote villages and the suchlike.

                                                                  Fordingbridge’s Water Carrier (GOT 357K)

A Bedford lorry carrying a large number of straw bales caught alight outside the Fordingbridge Nursing Home on the 24th July 1995. The lorry, and its contents, were destroyed in the fire which burnt furiously for several hours

                                                                       Lorry carrying straw bales – 24th July 1995

The following day a Fordingbridge crew attended a six pump heath fire at Dewlands Common in Verwood. The fire broke out on an extremely hot afternoon and raged through trees and undergrowth over a large area and at one time threatened to engulf nearby houses and stables as well as the Crane Valley Golf Course.
The month of August 1995 proved to be one of the busiest on record for Fordingbridge due a long spell of hot and dry weather.

The following day a Fordingbridge crew attended a six pump heath fire at Dewlands Common in Verwood. The fire broke out on an extremely hot afternoon and raged through trees and undergrowth over a large area and at one time threatened to engulf nearby houses and stables as well as the Crane Valley Golf Course.

The month of August 1995 proved to be one of the busiest on record for Fordingbridge due a long spell of hot and dry weather.

One of the many forest fires from 1995

On the 2nd August they attended a six pump field fire at Waldrons Farm in Salisbury whilst on the 6th August the stations Water Carrier assisted at a large blaze on Canford Heath in Dorset.

A young boy, on holiday in the area, required the services of Fordingbridge firefighters on the 16th August when he slipped and fell about 100 feet down a steep incline at Castle Hill View Point near Godshill. Fordingbridge assisted the Ambulance Service with the arduous task of hauling him up the treacherous slope to safety.

On the 17th August 1995 one of the biggest fires to have occurred in the New Forest for several years broke out at Broomy Lodge near Linwood. The fire spread rapidly over 20 hectares of forestry land and required the attendance of seven pumps, five landrovers, three water carriers and a huge articulated water carrier from Esso Fawley Fire Department to subdue the flames. Crews remained at the scene for several days, utilising Home Office Green Goddess appliances, damping down the scorched area. 

A fierce blaze destroyed a double garage and two cars in Burgate Fields, Fordingbridge early on the morning of the 21st August with the smoke being visible for miles around.
The same day Fordingbridge’s Water Carrier was mobilised to a huge fire alongside the M27 motorway at Eastleigh. Despite the considerable distance that had to be travelled the incident was clearly visible from Godshill.

A fatal road traffic accident occurred on the 30th August at Bickton crossroads with a Fordingbridge crew attending to make the scene safe.

A fire at Hamptworth Lodge, Hamptworth on the 21st November 1995 badly damaged a workshop with Fordingbridge being joined by crews from Salisbury and Lyndhurst to successfully save an adjoining property.

A call to a chip pan fire in a mobile home on 1st December saw Fordingbridge confronted with a serious fire which virtually destroyed the building at Meadow View, Sandleheath.

The early hours of the 9th December saw three people rescued from a flat fire in Diamond Court, Fordingbridge. An unattended pan had filled the premises with thick choking smoke and the occupants certainly had a lucky escape.

Two people were rescued from this window in Diamond Court

A cold spell of weather at the start of 1996 saw the brand new sixth form complex at The Burgate School devastated by flooding after water pipes in the roof burst bringing down the ceilings in most of the newly furnished classrooms on the 3rd January. The Fordingbridge crew, along with school staff, assisted with clearing away the water and tidying up the debris.

Kev Nicklen mopping up at the Burgate School sixth form block

A fire, caused by a suspected spark from a chimney, broke out at Keepers Cottage in Frogham on the 9th April 1996. When the first appliance from Fordingbridge arrived one corner of the thatched roof was heavily involved in fire. Luckily damage was restricted to about one third of the roof due to the hard work of the crews involved

On the 17th June 1996 a barn and a large amount of straw bales were damaged in a fire at Allenford Farm, Damerham.

The month of August 1996 saw Fordingbridge assisting in Wiltshire on a regular basis, both on standby at Salisbury Fire Station and also dealing with minor fires on Salisbury’s ground. A serious fire however, was attended by a Fordingbridge crew at Kwik Fit in Southampton Road, Salisbury on the 16th August. A large amount of tyres and several cars were destroyed in this mid afternoon blaze.

Fire at Kwik Fit, Salisbury – 16th August 1996

A serious road traffic accident in the early hours of the 19th August 1996 saw Fordingbridge confronted with a woman badly trapped upside down in her vehicle at Court Hill, Damerham. The delicate operation to release the lady was successfully completed with the entire crew being actively involved in her rescue.

A spooky experience occurred for the crew, on the 10th September 1996, when a shed caught fire at 2am in the graveyard at Downton Cemetery.

Another serious road traffic accident, outside Hucklesbrook Garage on the A338 at North Gorley, saw Fordingbridge in action again when they had to release the driver of a car after it had collided with a lorry on the 25th October 1996.

The month of November 1996 saw Fordingbridge involved in two serious industrial accidents.

The first, on the 6th November, occurred at Tarmac Topblock in West Street, Fordingbridge when a workman was crushed to death underneath a concrete press. Fordingbridge crews released the victim and made the area safe.

The second was exactly a week later on the 13th November. A workman was attempting to fix a leaking water pipe on the roof of Loaders Mill when he crashed through a skylight and fell 30 feet into an empty grain hopper. Fordingbridge firefighters, assisted by a crew from St. Marys Fire Station in Southampton, painstakingly lifted the seriously injured man back to the top of the hopper before he was taken by helicopter to hospital.

Also in November 1996 Fordingbridge, along with the rest of Hampshire, received Gallet fire helmets to replace the long serving Cromwell helmets. These new style helmets are of a French design and made of fibre glass with integral goggles and face shields to provide better all round protection.

                                                                                          New style Gallet helmets

A Terrier dog required the services of Fordingbridge firefighters on the 19th December 1996 when it became stuck down a fox hole at Toyd Corner. After a period of digging the dog was successfully released from its predicament.

On the 31st March 1997 the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service changed its structure from having four separate divisional areas to only having three. As a result of this Fordingbridge became part of the newly restructured ‘C’ Division and was renumbered station C47.

On the 16th April 1997 a cow became trapped in a bog at Ashley Walk in Godshill. After an hour of digging and pulling the animal was eventually released and taken to a nearby farm.

A large forest fire, on the 19th April 1997, at Markway Inclosure on the A35 road near Lyndhurst saw Fordingbridge’s Water Carrier and Landrover in action for several hours at this fifteen pump incident.

A replacement Leyland Water Carrier (D624 DTR) went on the run at Fordingbridge on the 7th October 1998 having previously

Fordingbridge Fire Station 1997