How do we commemorate the end of the AFS, which was disbanded in 1968, 50 years ago?
I have recently had a long conversation with Dean Bloxham, who is on the organising committee for the Gaydon show this summer. It is being run by the Fire Services Preservation Group (FSPG) to commemorate the Group’s 50th birthday, and to remember the 50th anniversary of the disbanding of the AFS.
They have chosen ‘Firefighting Through the Ages‘ as the theme for the show, and plan to have arena displays of:
- Manual pumping
- Steam pumps – not just one, but several, preferably horse-drawn, and crewed by firemen in appropriate brass helmets
- Inter-War – early red motorised appliances
- Wartime – AFS and NFS in grey
- Postwar AFS – a mobile column with Green Goddesses and RLs
- Red post-war, Appliances with those lovely curved roofs
- Turntable Ladders – can we get ten, yes ten TLs raised at the same time?
- And I suppose there will be a few modern things as well.
Essentially, Dean said that he wants the show to be as interesting and fun as possible, whilst being safe, and as historically authentic as possible.
So where do we fit in?
A spectacular Green AFS display
Welland Steam Rally 2011
This event has the potential to be a really good ‘Green’ event. Let’s get together as many AFS motorbikes, Land Rovers, Gypsies, Control Units, Wreckers, GP RLs, Petrol Carriers, Pipe Carriers, Hose Layers and of course Green Goddesses as we can. Let’s see if we can run a permanent 6-inch hose from one lake to the other, and run a short pumping demo every few hours, including the pipe bridge. Lets see if we can run a representation of a Mobile Column round the arena, and possibly take part in a road run.
A Great Wartime Display
Dean would like to see an air raid at this event, involving a good selection of other wartime reenactors, not just NFS firemen. He would like ARP, Police, WVS, Army or Home Guard, Ambulance Service, Rescue and civilian casualties. to be involved. He recognises that, not being a core 1940s event, people may not initially be attracted, but he has the idea for an area of the show to be a ‘1940s village’ with the NFS, and ARP post, and other features to keep interest going. We could do some Firemen’s Training in a small enclosed area.
And of course, there is the fantastic Motor Museum there, where you can easily spend all weekend!
At the moment (11 Jan 2018), application forms are not yet available, but more information, and application forms should be out in a few weeks time. In the meantime, if you would like to be involved either with a vehicle, or as crew, please get in touch in the usual ways.
We will need lots of crew, and as many 1940s reenactors as possible!