Austin K4 Turntable Ladder

First Registered: 6 March 1944

Past History: New to the National Fire Service (first licenced to the Secretary of State, Home Office), and then by the West Sussex Fire Brigade (at Chichester) from March 1948 to Feb 1972. It passed to two private owners in Kent, neither of whom licenced it (works fire brigades?) It was in Huddersfield, dry stored but untouched, from the mid-nineties until we purchased it in 2010. In October 2011, the crew cab from GXN202 was acquired from FireWorld in Weedon Bec, restored, and refitted. [GXN202 served in Canterbury post-war, and then was painted yellow by RAE.]

Bob Carver wrote: “The Austin K4 TL you have was of West Sussex Fire Brigade origins serving both at the Counties Worthing and Chichester Fire Stations they were swapped over the other K4/TL being GXN 210.

“When GXN 215 arrived within the brigade it was indeed wartime grey livery, during the fifties it was repainted fire engine red and also coach lined as well. It would have had the Barton Front Mounted pump and the rear crew cab intact. During the year 1963 each of these TLs were returned to workshops for a major overhaul, sometime prior to this they were fitted with a mechanical ladder operation by the Home Office (funding) the work was thought to have been carried out at the Home Office Workshops at Swindon, again I do have the dates and the info on what was carried out and cost.

“During the severe winter of 1963 GXN 215 the front mounted pump froze and cracked writing it off. It was around this era that on these TLs the crew cabs were removed as well as the pumps making the appliances a basic special appliance as prior to this they turned out as Pump Turntable Ladders, when in workshops they were stripped to the bare metal and new wings fitted I can’t recall if the cab was removed I believe it was. When finished a Lucas Acorn style blue light was fitted in the centre roof of the cab and two tone horns placed the on a front mantlepiece on the cab with the West Sussex motif on the nearside and offside cab doors, paint finish was excellent! and was done by hand! Immaculate.”

Owned: David Moore.

Recent work: front brakes checked,  brake shoes found to be new. Replaced brake pipes with copper, as old ones leaked. Master cylinder refurbished and honed. Both rear cylinders refurbished and honed. Ladder mechanism checked and lubricated (as ladder went up but not down!!!) Woodworm found in wooden lockers, and being replaced. Chassis under wooden floor painted. Replaced head gasket, fixed fuel tank leak, flushed radiator, painted grey, work on the ladder, so it now goes down as well as up!

Work to be Done:

  • Clean, de-rust and paint the ladder
  • Replace fuel tank send unit.

    GXN218 in Taunton in 1965, photo by ‘Bristol Bob’.


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  • Air Raid at Quorn Station, GCR 4th-5th June 2016 – instructions for reenactors May 20, 2016 The display will be at 1:10pm on Saturday and Sunday in Quorn Yard in the space between the Goods Shed and Marquee. Quorn and Woodhouse Station, Woodhouse Road, LE12 8AG. The detail of the scenario is here. Please look at the GCR Wartime Weekend website here. We are planning to take the Dodge Mobile Dam as the main vehicle ...
  • Plans for a significant air raid at Quorn GCR, 3rd-5th June 2016 February 5, 2016 The display will be at 1:10pm on Saturday and Sunday in Quorn Yard in the space between the Goods Shed and Marquee. Quorn and Woodhouse Station, Woodhouse Road, LE12 8AG. The storyline is this: A number of wagons have been delivered to Quorn Yard the previous day, and are standing on the siding between the signalbox and the ...
  • Remembering the Sheffield Blitz 75th Anniversary 12 December 2015 December 15, 2015 Last Sunday, Fran and I, Michael and Richard took the Turntable Ladder and a car-full of exhibits to the event at Sheffield Cathedral. We set off really well, with the vehicle going like a train, averaging 30+mph, until we were within 15 miles of Sheffield. Then the trouble began. There was a complete loss of power, which I ...
  • K4 Winter Maintenance November 17, 2015 Over the last few weeks, two key components of the K4 TL have received professional maintenance. Firstly, the petrol tank has always been a problem. The original filler spout entered the tank via a horizontal pipe, making for very slow filling, and entered the tank via a screw fitting that leaked. The tank was repaired ...
  • Newark Emergency Services Heritage Show 4-5 July July 1, 2015 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 ...
  • K4 misfire – carburetor overhaul April 19, 2015 The K4 TL has suffered from a misfire – which was rather more pronounced at the end of 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 ...
  • Training session on Fordson Escape and Turntable Ladder March 16, 2015 A group of 9 of us met to train on the Wheeled Escape and the Turntable Ladder. 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, ...
  • Papplewick Pumping Station this weekend 17 Oct 14 October 17, 2014 Just a short note to say that we are taking the K2 with a pump, the Mobile Canteen and the Turntable Ladder. Additionally, we may take the Pump Escape on Sunday if there is any prospect of doing some training with the escape (as Papplewick is one of very few locations where we can get ...
  • Photos of Air Raid at Rufford, Sept 2014 October 14, 2014 We have just received a report from the ARP wardens as follows: At around 2:20pm we received word from our colleagues in Leicester that a doodlebug had passed overhead, and was approaching us. At 400mph, it would be with us in around 10 minutes. We scoured the skies, and sounded the alarm. We heard it approach, ...
  • Rufford Abbey Air Raid timeline September 26, 2014 Important note for all participants: Briefing at 10:30 in the Turning Circle (Saturday) Start at 2:30 (Both Days) Siren is start of scenario. End of siren is cue for start of V1 approach sound. ARPs look to the sky, and point to the approaching bomb. Try to all look in the same direction! Evacuees Uninjured evacuees come out as directed by ...

Workshop and Restoration

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2016

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2011