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National Fire Service
Gates' lorry used by the NFS
Herbert Gates, fruiterer, loaned his lorry to the NFS - John Smith standing left

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 28th August, 1942, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Fire Fighters Parade - Inspection by Committee
A birthday parade on Sunday morning showed the Rushden and Higham Ferrers sections of the National Fire Service to be in good strength and in good trim.

About 60 men – part-time firemen – marched into Spencer Park, Rushden, and lined up under the command of Company Officer A. P. Timpson, of Rushden, who is also the chairman of the North-Eastern District N.F.S. Association.

Rushden Urban Council was represented by Coun. W. J. Sawford J.P. (Chairman), Coun. A. Allebone J.P., C.C., Coun. J. George (members of the fire Brigade Sub-Committee), and Mr. W. L. Beetenson (Clerk), and Mr. Frank Deane (Deputy Chief) headed a party of Air Raid Wardens. Inspector R. E. Valentine, Special Inspector D. Chamberlain and Special Sergeant Skeeles attended for the Police.

Visiting N.F.S. officers were Column Officer Ridge (Peterborough) and Divisional Officer Haylett (Kettering), the latter introducing Coun. Sawford, who read Mr. Herbert Morrison’s “Order of the Day” (a first anniversary message for August 18th), the King’s message of congratulation, and the reply to His Majesty.

“Good Fighting”
Invited to speak as Chairman of the Council’s Fire Brigade Sub-Committee, Coun. Allebone said that for a number of years he worked very closely with the old Fire Brigade and knew its value to Rushden. He was pleased to see the N.F.S. men of to-day turn out in the smart manner, which was part of the efficiency which had been appreciated in the message from the King.

“None of us” said Mr. Allebone, “knows what is in store, but I am certain that those who are concerned for the defence of any locality can look confidently to the N.F.S. for some protection. I am confident that you will carry on the tradition of the old Fire Brigade, and we have as much confidence in you as we had in the old Brigade. I wish you all good luck and good fighting should it come.”

The men were inspected by the Councillors and the visiting officers and there was also a ceremonial march-past.

The Rushden Echo & Argus, 20th August, 1943, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Still Proud of It’s Fire Service
Anniversary Parade Brings Tribute from Council Chairman

  Twelve firewomen – practically identical with the team which heads the C. Division in squad drill efficiency – were among the 120 personnel of the Rushden N.F.S. Station who paraded on Wednesday evening for a civic inspection and the reading of Mr. Herbert Morrison’s anniversary message.

  In the column which marched from Newton-road to Spencer Park the leading position was given to part-time firemen in full uniform, the firewomen came next, and then a big group of firemen in boiler suits – the more recent recruits.

  At Spencer Park the ranks stood to attention under the command of Company Officer A. P. Timpson, while Mr. A. F. Weale, Chairman of the Rushden Urban Council, read out the Order of the Day.  The Chairman was accompanied by Couns. J. Allen, A. H. Bailey, T. W. Cox, J. E. Dilks, J. George, F. Green, J.P., J. T. Richardson, J.P., W. J. Sawford, T. J. Swindall and H. Waring, with the Chief Financial Officer, Mr. E. W. Williams.

  In a short address Coun. Weale said he would like to take the opportunity of thanking the N.F.S. members for their efficiency and for all the service they had already given in the town.  He spoke for the whole of the Council when he said that in every respect they were proud of the service that was being given.

Fine Equipment

  The aim of the N.F.S., as it should be in every other service, was 100 per cent efficiency, and he was pleased to see the general smartness in appearance of all members on parade.  They had been equipped magnificently with all the modern appliances that it was possible to give them, and he felt certain they would make themselves conversant with it so that if the opportunity came they would be able to deal energetically and efficiently with anything that might transpire.

  Rushden people had always been proud of their Fire Service, and they could look back many years to the men who in season or out of season were always ready when the call of duty came.  To those men they owed much, and it was up to the N.F.S. members to maintain their high tradition.

  Times changed, and the old volunteer brigade had to be suspended.  It reminded them that war was a great taskmaster and, he thought they could say, a great task-finder, for it had given every able-bodied man and woman a task to perform.

  During the last 18 months they had seen a vast change in the war.  Up to that time the Allies were standing on the defensive, but from then on they had been on the offensive.  Things had been going well, and the near future might see great events happening which would shake our enemies to the very firmament.  In the meantime all must be prepared to do every duty which might come to them.

The Local Link

  After his address Coun. Weale walked up and down the lines, escorted by C/O Timpson.

  Thanking Mr. Weale and the other councillors, C/O Timpson said the occasion showed that there was still a link between the local authorities and the Fire Service – a strong one, he hoped.

  People often asked him whether, when the war was over, they would revert back to the old local brigades.  He could not answer that question, but he was sure that under any circumstances the standard of service would be a high one.

  Among those watching the ceremony, which concluded with a march-past, were Mr. W. L. Beetenson, ex-Clerk to the Council, and Police Inspector R. E. Valentine.

Rushden’s Smart N.F.S. Girls
Top of Division and Fourth in Area

  Many times praised for its smartness in public parades, the Rushden team of N.F.S. firewomen was placed fourth on Saturday in an area squad drill competition at Leicester.  Though the Rushden girls were the only part-time team among the best squads of the large No. 9 area, they were only six marks behind the winners – the Area Headquarters team from Leicester.  The maximum number of marks was 220.

  Rushden competed by virtue of winning the “C” Division competition at Thrapston on Thursday week, when their rivals included Kettering and Peterborough.  The team comprised 12 firewomen, who are under the control of Company Officer A. P. Timpson but have no woman officer at their own station.


in the yard
In the yard behond the fire station

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st July, 1944, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Sailors Meet - Former N.F.S. Members
  Two Rushden sailors, former friends and members of the Rushden N.F.S. met in the Mediterranean on June 23rd and up to July 10th were known to be still together.

  They are Telegraphist Robert Scarborough, R.N., only son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Scarborough, of 82, Moor-road, and A/B William Talbot, R.N., son of Mr. and Mrs. Talbot, of 9, Ealing-terrace.

  Tel. Scarborough informs his parents that he was sitting for an examination when he received a note from Bill who had put in at the same port that day and so went over to visit him.

  Tel. Scarborough is 21 years of age and joined the Rushden Fire Brigade when 16 years old and was called up to the Navy two-and-a-half years ago after working for Messrs. Clarke Bros., radio engineers.  He has been in the Mediterranean for 18 months.

  A/B Talbot is 19 years of age and joined the Rushden Fire Brigade when he was 15.  He formerly worked for Messrs. John White, Ltd., and was called up about 14 months ago and has been in the Mediterranean for six months.


Rushden Echo and Argus, 27th April 1945, transcribed by Peter Brown

Rushden Fireman in Germany
Fireman Harold Robinson, of 4, Wentworth-road Rushden, was a member of the first N.F.S. unit to enter Germany.

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