Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a firefighter in the Blitz? Or wished you could try out the wartime equipment yourself? Or would you be interested to see wartime firefighting pumps and vehicles in action?
The National Fire Service Display Group is a re-enactment group that aims to bring the wartime NFS back to life at events with a 1940s theme. These are family-friendly events, often at interesting locations, such as National Trust properties, museums, or occasionally Fire Stations. Members of the group own three wartime fire appliances, together with a number of trailer pumps (which were the mainstay of firefighting equipment in the war) and a large amount of other equipment, including uniforms, breathing apparatus, down to axes, stirrup pumps and tin mugs!
So although the group cannot offer real live fires or bombs, they re-create a sub-fire-station, and offer training in the use of the equipment. And if you prefer to just watch, the group displays usually feature a session on how to tackle an incendiary bomb yourself (using stirrup pumps), leading on to how the NFS tackle a fire if things get out of hand. This involves running out hoses, starting a pump (or two), and demonstrating the power of this equipment.
The group were delighted to be invited to take part in a major Fire Station Open Day coming up soon in Nottingham. Over the weekend of 7th/8th May, which also happens to be the 70th anniversary of the worst nights of blitz in Nottingham, the group is taking over the main appliance room and training yard of the Central Fire Station on Shakespeare Street in Nottingham (NG1 4FB), where they will be doing a series of demonstrations, including a ‘shout’ to a major fire at 10:00am on the Saturday in the Council House in Old Market Square caused by a bombing raid by the Luftwaffe. All the appliances will come down to the square, and get to work with a pump and the 60-foot Turntable Ladder. Firemen will rescue the Lord Mayor and a Councillor, before ‘making up’ all the equipment and returning to the Fire Station. On the Sunday morning, some members of the group, and some appliances are planning to attend the Memorial Service for those who died in the Nottingham Raid, at St Mary’s Church, Lace Market at 10:45am, which will also be attended by the Lord Mayor and other civic dignatories.
The whole event is raising money for a permanent memorial to the Nottinghamshire Fire Fighters and Civil Defence workers who lost their lives in service during and since the war, including those who died at the raid on the Ransome and Marles factory in Newark. Further information about this can be found at www.nottsfirefightermemorial.org whilst information about the NFS Display Group can be found on www.nfs-afs.org.uk. Look under ‘Events 2011’ for more details of the Nottingham Open Day.
The Central Fire Station is on Shakespeare Street in Nottingham, NG1 4FB, and is open from 9:45am to 4:00pm on both Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May. Admission is free, but a donation is encouraged. The display in the Market Square is 10-10:30am on the Saturday, and the Memorial Service in St Mary’s Church in the Lace Market (opposite the Galleries of Justice) is at 10:45 on Sunday. If you are interested in finding out more about joining the group, please contact David Moore on 0115 9664938 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or simply talk to anyone at one of our events.