Like to try re-enacting? Interested in NFS history? Like vintage vehicles? Interested in WW2 events? Like to have a go? Then why not join us? Have a look at ‘About Us’, and get in touch. Email:

Recent videos of us in action: Woodhall Spa Air Raid (2013) by Tricky Imp, Rufford Air Raid (2013) and by Ian Beck,  Lowdham Floods 2012, Crich Tramway Museum 2012.  newsreel of the air raid at Rufford by Ian Beck. James Walker made this video at Rufford 2012 using a tiny camera attached to his person whilst he went up the ladder! Our current leaflet is here: NFS Vehicles Group recruiting with 2014 events, and has the events list on the back.

You can contact us at or call David on 0115 9664938.

We are pleased to be associated with Home Front History. Visit their website

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Woodhall Spa Air Raid safety briefing

>To ALL reenactors planning to take part in the Air Raid at Woodhall Spa on 18/19 July. It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that you attend the safety briefing at 11:00am on the day of the air raid, and that you SIGN IN on the attendance sheet. This applies to ALL reenactors. No Exceptions (unless agreed with David Needham in advance)

So if you would like to be involved as: NFS, ARP, WVS, Police, Ambulance Driver, Dispatch rider, Walking evacuee, casualty, Doctor, civilian onlooker, Press or whatever, you MUST come to the briefing. It would also be helpful to PM lowdhamstation on facebook, or email NOW if there is any doubt if you are on our list.

11:00 both days, by the NFS Mobile Canteen in the Golf Hotel car park if fine, or in the reception of the Golf Hotel if wet.

If you are NOT on the safety briefing sign-in sheet you WILL NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE ACTION SIDE OF THE CROWD BARRIER.

Download the Casualty and Press Briefing PDF

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Newark Emergency Services Heritage Show 4-5 July

We are down to do a Wartime NFS display at 12:00 and a Cold War AFS display at 15:30 on Saturday, but on Sunday the times are AFS at 10:00 and NFS immediately following at 10:40. We also hope to take part in the vehicle parade (11:10 Sat, 15:00 Sun) and put our TL in with other high-rise appliances (15:00 Sat, 13:45 Sun).

See for visitor information.

John Sutcliffe will be Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the NFS with David Moore OIC of the AFS.

NFS Display Overview

All available NFS vehicles will enter the arena and perform a couple of laps. All except the Fordson PE will leave and park up outside the arena. The PE will slip the escape by the tower, and drive off to set suction into the dam.

A fireman will go up the escape ladder, and find a casualty in the tower. The TL is summoned, and a Neil Robertson stretcher  is hauled up.

By the time the TL is set in place and extended, the casualty is strapped into the stretcher. He is lowered to the ground using the TL as a crane. As soon as the casualty reaches the ground, a fireman will climb the ladder.

Meanwhile, the K2 will arrive, and set suction into the dam, and run out a couple of hand-held branches to tackle the fire.

As this happens, the ARP wardens and firemen will bring the stretcher to the foreground, where the casualty’s injuries are treated. If available, an ambulance will arrive to take the casualty to hospital.

The Fordson will then give water to the TL to continue fighting the fire. When the OIC deems the fire to be out, the order to ‘knock off and make up’ will be given. Once all equipment is made up, the firefighting vehicles will start to drive round the arena, with the OIC in the lead vehicle. At this point, the other vehicles parked at the back will join in, and once the complete convoy has completed a lap or two of the arena, the OIC will direct the convoy to return to base.

Practice for this session will be Friday afternoon with a ‘dress rehearsal’ 9:00 on Saturday.

AFS Display Overview

The convoy will form up outside the arena in the following order:

  • Motorbikes
  • Convoy Goddesses
  • Petrol Carrier
  • Hose Layer
  • Relay 4 Goddess (If present)
  • Relay 3 Goddess
  • Relay 2 Goddess
  • Delivery Goddess
  • Base Goddess

The convoy will enter the arena and make two full circuits.

The Convoy vehicles will peel off under  the pipe bridge, and park behind the dams. Note that crew members who do not have the relevant insurance must stay with the vehicles.

The hose layer will start at the dams, and will start laying hose. 8 lengths of 6-inch hose will be slaked and clamped ready for laying at speed (15-20 mph) as the layer makes an oval round the arena, heading back to the pipe bridge.

The base relay goddess and the delivery goddess will drop off the end of the convoy at the dams, and reverse back to set suction into the dam. Attention to be paid to position the goddesses to allow maximum view of the pumping by the public.

The 2 or 3 relay goddesses will follow the hose layer. The motorbike will indicate where a goddess should stop and break into the hose, and then catch up to indicate to the next goddess. Note that goddesses MUST drive slowly to not get too far ahead of the motorcycle. Once the hose is laid, the hose layer will go under the pipe bridge and park with the convoy vehicles.

The intermediate relay goddesses will connect into the relay hose using a nurse valve and a 45-degree bend.

The final relay goddess will connect to the nurse valve, and run out 4 delivery hoses which connect to the collecting head (either on the base of the pipe-bridge riser, or on a single length of 6-inch.

The delivery goddess will run out 4 delivery hoses, each to a ground monitor pointing towards the tower.

The OIC will despatch the motorcycle who will start at the final relay goddess and check that they are ready. This means all connections made, pump engaged and engine running at tickover. The motorbike will wait by any vehicle that is not ready before proceeding. On establishing that all vehicles are ready, the OIC, who will be near the base pump when the rider arrives, will then give the water on signal to the base pump operator, who will prime his pump, and run at low revs as the water fills the lines. As soon as water has passed the final pump, he will raise the pressure (and hence the flow rate). Maximum flow will be reached when all pumps are running at 3000 rpm.

As soon as water is circulating the relay, the delivery goddess can prime, and following ‘water on’ from the OIC, can deliver water to the fireground.

When ‘water off’ is given, it is given to the base pump. As each goddess stops receiving water, the inlet hose will collapse, and the engine knocked back to tickover. On the ‘Make Up’ signal, the hoses are disconnected and rolled, ready for collection by the RL. As the RL continues, the goddess will follow behind, till eventually all the goddesses are behind. As the convoy passes the non-operational vehicles, they tack on behind. Following a lap (or two) of the arena, the entire convoy leaves.



Each relay goddess should park with the joint in the hose directly in line with the outlet, and ideally with the wheels within 6” of the hose

It is not possible to prime the base pump in advance, as there is no valve on the 6-inch delivery. It will pump a substantial amount of water even on tickover.

As soon as a goddess is parked, the driver should engage the pump PTO, put the 2WD/4WD gear into neutral, and select 4th gear. The engine should be started.

The base pump controls the flow rate round the relay. All other pumps should adjust their revs until the inlet hose is still packed, but no water comes out of the nurse valve.

Assembling the victualic ring onto pipe or hose ends is much easier if they are lubricated with soapy water. Each goddess should carry a bucket with 2cm of water in the bottom, with a good squirt of washing-up liquid in it.

As soon as the pumping gets underway, a crew member with a suction spanner or crowbar will position himself adjacent to every joint, so that when the ‘knock off and make up’ signal is given, every joint will be split immediately and the ends moved apart, ensuring no kinks in the hose. Crew will start from the Goddesses rolling the hose towards the middle of the run, so that 2 hoses, and one clamp and rubber, are ready for the RL to collect.

Practice for this session will be Friday afternoon with a ‘dress rehearsal’ early evening on Friday.

Posted in 1940s Events, 7V PE, GGN802, AFS, Dennis No2 TA Trailer Pump, Goddess RLHZ PGW177, K2 ATV GLT676, K4 TL GXN215, Mobile Canteen, Re-enactor info | Leave a comment

Danger UXB

Just started watching the DVDs of the 1970s TV series, “Danger UXB”, and saw a fire engine. Got very excited when I saw what it was, and even more so when I saw the registration. You can see Episode 2 here (it’s about 11 minutes in).

Here are a few stills…

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K4 misfire – carburetor overhaul

The K4 TL has suffered from a misfire – which was rather more pronounced at the end ofIMG_20150419_160359 last season in that it seemed to struggle to extend the ladder. We checked the ignition – there is a great spark exceeding 1/4″ from the electronic ignition. The vacuum advance unit looked suspect, so we removed that and cleaned it up. It isn’t very effective, but the engine seems to run fine as long as the timing is somewhere in the vicinity of just before TDC. As the engine misfires most as you open the throttle quickly.

So it was time to look at the carburetor. Perhaps one of the jets was blocked, or just some crud in the float bowl, or a sticking float needle.

So today I stripped it down, cleaned everything, and put it all back together. No significant difference. So I tried a road test, and it reached 40mph between Lowdham roundabout and the de-restriction sign – about 1/4 mile, which does not seem to bad at all, especially given a top speed of around 45mph. So all we can do is try it out for real, unless anyone has any other bright ideas how to improve things.

IMG_20150419_184534Finally, the throttle combination linkage, which combines the foot pedal with the ladder extend control, is rather worn. So do I bore out the links and manufacture a special oversize cotter pin, or do I fill the holes with silver solder, and re-bore then to the correct size?

Posted in K4 TL GXN215, Workshop and Restoration | Leave a comment

Site restored after hack

Unfortunately, this site was hacked, which explains why it has been down for a few days. This is now a completely clean installation of WordPress, and I hope it will be fine now. If you see anything that looks dodgy – strange URLs, or corrupted graphics, please let me know ASAP. Thank you for your understanding.

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Training session on Fordson Escape and Turntable Ladder

A group of 9 of us met to train on the Wheeled Escape and the Turntable Ladder.

IMG_20150314_144330 (Copy)We wanted to get to be as competent and safe with the Escape as we are with the TL, and to practice rescue techniques using a Neil Robertson stretcher. A video of what we achieved can be seen here, on Facebook.

With the Escape, we learned the key skills from the drill book and Manual of Firemanship. For example, the No. 4 man must always remain in contact with the levers at all times when the escape is off the vehicle. What it doesn’t tell you is that you have to extend the escape at least three rounds, or the pawls catch on the rollers that support the ladder.

The scenario that we may wish to portray is that there is an injured casualty in a 3rd floor room that is now inaccessible because of fire. The escape goes in first, and a fireman goes into the room with the casualty, and confirms that the casualty will need lowering in a Neil Robertson stretcher.

IMG_20150314_145232 (Copy)The TL is put into place so that the ladder can be trained so that the lowering line can be reached by the fireman aloft, and then trained back so that there is clear space for the casualty to be lowered into.

The ladder was extended to 50 feet, with a lowering line already fed through the pulley block at the ladder head, with a caribina (actually the safely catch from the TL belt), and the guide line below. The Neil Robertson stretcher was also clipped on. The stretcher was hauled up to 40 feet, and guided with the guide line, [and then lowered so our chap on the ’40-foot tall’ IBC container could reach it :) ]

The man aloft then deftly swapped the empty stretcher for one with our ‘dead Fred’ already strapped in, and attached the lines to it.

IMG_20150314_145345 (Copy)The man on the ground  then took the weight of the casualty, as the man aloft carefully guided the casualty out of the imaginary window, and used the stretcher guide line to ease the stretcher out into free space. He was then hauled up to 40 feet, and then lowered to the ground.

At this point, the real live ‘bloody’ casualty in our display would be brought out from a suitable hiding place in our 3rd Neil Robertson stretcher, and switched for the ‘dead Fred’. and carried out on a wartime Civil Defence stretcher into the public view to have First Aid administered by an ARP warden.

IMG_20150314_171106 (Copy)Later on, we took the opportunity to lower the ladder on the carriage, and do some maintenance. All told, a very successful day.



Posted in 7V PE, GGN802, K4 TL GXN215, Training, Workshop and Restoration | Leave a comment

The Pump Escape in service in the 1950s

Following on from the photo from Bruce Hoad showing GGN802 at Uckfield Fire Station in East Sussex, we were delighted to hear from Guy Bowes  who is an archivist for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, and sent us these photos from the same day in the 1950s.

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Possible events for 2015

2015 looks like being a rather special year. We have the 75th anniversaries of Operation Dynamo, the Dunkirk evacuation in May, followed by 75th anniversaries of the Battle of Britain in the Summer, and the Blitz in the Autumn. Of course, the London Blitz ran from 7th September to 29th December (and continuing in fits and starts until 21st May the following year), punctuated by Coventry on 14th November, followed a few days later by 10 days of raids on Birmingham, and Sheffield 12th/15th December.

We also have the 70th anniversary of the V2 rockets, which landed on London and further afield between September 1944 and February 1945. But the main action was the liberation of Europe, with the bombing of Dresden on 14th February, the deaths of Hitler and Mussolini in April, and the long-awaited victory in Europe on 8th May. There were the nuclear bombs in Japan on 6th and 9th August followed by the Japanese surrender on 14th August, finally bringing the fighting of the war to a close.

Sadly, far from the war winding down, there was much pain and suffering right up to the very end.

So what of events?

The regular Chesterfield event in February or March has been cancelled for next year.

Always a nice start to the season is the Historical Bazaar at Rufford over the 25th/26th April.

Saturday 2nd May, we would like to take a vehicle to Abbey Pumping Station in Leicester for their Emergency Vehicles Day. On Monday 4th May, we have a small display at Lowdham Village Hall.

The Earl’s Barton Fire Show is a possibility, on 30th/31st May.

The Great Central Railway have their 1940s weekend on 5th-7th June, which will obviously have a ‘Victory’ feel, although it could have a ‘Battle of Britain’ theme. Either way, there will be a group of NFS firemen there doing some training exercises, possibly in conjunction with the local Police and ARP.

The Emergency Services Heritage Show at Newark Showground on 4th/5th July will be a great opportunity for a big green AFS display using Green Goddesses, RL Trucks, Land Rovers, Motorbikes, and lots of 6″ hose and tons of water. Should be a wartime display opportunity as well.

Kelham Island have just confirmed the date for their 40s event in July, but we have to miss it this year, as it clashes with Woodhall Spa.

Hot on the heels of this show is our big one of the year, at Woodhall Spa on 17th-19th July. There will obviously be a Victory feel, but it will also be the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain. So there will be a major air raid, obviously targeting the Officer’s Mess, but a few bombs go astray on the Golf Hotel.

Then a small display, probably static, at the Newark Air Museum VE day celebrations on 24th-25th July.

There is a possibility of a visit by the NFS to Peak Rail on 1st-2nd August.

On Sunday 23rd August, there is a 1940s day at Brayford Wharf, Lincoln. So we may

Following a lull, the Blitz returns to Rufford on 26th/27th September, with the last main 1940s event of the season at Papplewick Pumping Station usually around 10th/11th October.

We could make a first visit to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Wartime Weekend, on 16th-18th October.

We understand that Nottingham Central Fire Station is due to close possibly later this year, or more likely in 2016 – it would be nice to do something to commemorate its passing if possible.

Likewise, it would be good to mark the Coventry (Sat 14th Nov), Sheffield (Sat 12th Dec) and London (Tues 29th Dec) Blitz anniversaries.

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Photos of the ‘Salute to the Forties’ at Chatham Historic Dockyard 2014

Although a long way, we decided to join our friends the ‘Heroes with Grimy Faces‘ and take the mobile canteen, which was very well received.

During the weekend, the Picture Post came and did a photo shoot of the inside of the canteen, and of firemen and women gathered round for refreshments after a shout.

Some photos and an article appear in the current edition of the Picture Post.

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Papplewick 2014 photos

Papplewick - Simon Bailey (3)We took a small crew and the Turntable Ladder, and the K2 and a pump. The TL was demonstrated, but without water, as it was a bit breezy on Saturday. On Sunday, the wind got up and we were not able to do anything with the TL. We also had the mobile canteen, which was very well received.

However, on both days, we ran the pump with a variety of different branch and nozzle combinations. A popular one was with a 1-inch nozzle, with the branch supported by our new branch-holder, which we acquired just a couple of weeks earlier.

Posted in 1940s Events, Beresford Stork Trailer Pump, K2 ATV GLT676, Mobile Canteen | Tagged | Leave a comment