Author Topic: Fire Force HQ - Newham Story Board  (Read 1751 times)

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Offline MickG

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Fire Force HQ - Newham Story Board
« on: 22 July, 2010, 12:00:39 AM »
I noticed with interest the photograph that has appeared on the Newham Story Board entitled Fire Force HQ. The photograph dated during the war years in 1944 shows a fire service radio operator manning a radio desk. Although at the time local authority fire brigades had all been amalgamated into the National Fire Service (NFS). The board of the radio desk displays the radio call sign of the London Fire Brigade M2FH which is still in use today.

A legal requirement, even for the emergency services, is for the call sign of the radio station being called and the call sign of the sender, to be given at the begining of each radio transmission. The call sign was derived from the words "Mobile to Fire Headquarters". After the war when fire services reverted to local authorities in 1948, the County Borough of West Ham continued to share the London Fire Brigade radio scheme using the M2FH call sign. When the Greater London Council was created in 1965, due to it's size and great numbers of vehicles all fitted with radios, additional call signs were introduced. These reflected the three command structure set up in 1965 of Northern, Southern and Eastern sections of London. There never was a Western. The additional call signs were M2FN, M2FS and M2FE were introduced. The M2FH call sign was reserved for non operational traffic but could still be used in an emergency if any of the radio transmitters failed.

Lessons were learned in the Fire Service during the war about the non-standardisation of equipment. Up until the war, each local authority purchased and installed it's own equipment which did not necessarily match those of it's neighbouring brigades. As the various cities were bombed, fire columns were mobilised from around the country and descended on the relevant city to give support in firefighting and rescue operations. At times it was found that different hoses would not connect or that hydrants had different screw threads to the hydrants standpipes. As a result of all this, the Fire Services Act 1948 which led to the disbandment of the NFS also legislated for the national standardisation of fire service equipment.

The last such fire service column that I recall was the Torrey Canyon disaster in 1967. At the time the Auxillery Fire Service still existed with all it's equipment. This included the famous Green Goddesses stored at many fire stations including Plaistow along with many thousands of them stored in Government depots. Full time firefighters volunteered to man these appliances and great columns of Green Goddesses descended on Cornwall from all around the UK. Although the Green Goddess was a slow moving vehicle, it was primarily designed for Civil Defense purposes in the event of a nuclear war. It sat high off the ground and could traverse great piles of rubble. Ideal for the beaches of Cornwall.

Mick
« Last Edit: 23 July, 2010, 12:19:10 AM by MickG »

Offline petros

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Re: Fire Force HQ - Newham Story Board
« Reply #1 on: 27 June, 2017, 04:44:47 PM »
Mick
can you send me a link to this photo pl.

Peter - fire service historian, West ham

Offline MickG

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Re: Fire Force HQ - Newham Story Board
« Reply #2 on: 27 June, 2017, 08:30:53 PM »
Peter, I have tried find that picture again using this boards own search facility and also Google image search but I am unable to find it again. The only thing I can assume is when this board was taken down, some of the images in the post must have disappeared. If I come across it again I will let you know.