Massive Farm Fire Near Camber


By Jim Hollands Friday 29 September 2017

Fire crews from Rye and others including  Hastings, Battle and Ashford are fighting a multi-building farm fire just outside Camber on the Lydd Road.

Police and ambulance attendance, but as far as we can ascertain there were no injuries.  Around ten fire appliances are at the blaze, including a Ladder Platform and around fifty firefighters,. Police are running traffic control but the road has not been closed. Continue reading Massive Farm Fire Near Camber

SAP 201 Comes Home on Sunday

SAP 201 Will be at the Rye Fire-fighters Open Day on Sunday (10 September 2017)

The men featured in the picture are part of a team of brilliant firemen who kept this town safe while they were ‘on watch’ with their famous Fire Appliance        SAP 201.

Rye Firemen – Cup 1967

On Sunday (10 September 2017) SAP 201 returns to Rye, 45 years after she left service in Rye, restored to her original condition by Mike Garrett, to be at the Rye Fire-Fighters open day.

The very latest picture of SAP 201 on her first road trip under her own power


Surviving members of her old crew will be there to greet her plus the rest of Rye’s fire-fighters including Rye Fire Chief Gary Bourn, whose grandfather and father both fought many blazes with SAP 201.

The Open Day runs from 10 am. – 2 pm. at the Fire Station in Mill Lane. Come along and see one of Rye’s greatest fire fighting machines looking just as she did 50 years ago.

© World Copyright 2017 Cinque Ports Magazines Rye Ltd., Guinea Hall Lodge Sellindge TN25 6EG

Harvest Festival Service 1967 St Mary’s

A Movie Society Film from the Rye’s Own Archive

This film includes many well known Ryers and dignitaries. Rye Firemen are very well represented, including Mick Bourn, Bobby Edwards, Bob Rogers and Michael Fagan.

Cannon John Williams, Mrs Camier and Michael, John Hacking, Terry Spencer and many more.

A film from the Rye’s Own Archive Released Saturday 2 September 2017

Hugh Sutton’s Shop Smashed By Car

In the early hours of yesterday morning (Tuesday 2 May) the famous fish shop belonging to Hugh Sutton was badly damaged by a car which collided with the building after leaving the road and smashing through the  garden. It ended up embedded into the side of the shop,

The occupant or occupants from the vehicle ran off. Police, Ambulance, Rye Fire Service attended and a police helicopter and police dog were called in an effort to find the driver. Continue reading Hugh Sutton’s Shop Smashed By Car

An Old Friend Returns to Rye

SAP 201 Returns

“Rye’s Own” is making a film about a Famous Rye Fire Appliance and the men who served with her.

This is just a short sequence showing the old pump’s return to Rye after almost 50 years away from the Ancient Town she served so well in the 1960’s and early 70’s.


Retired Fireman, Bob Rogers and his son Shaun, who now serves with Rye Continue reading An Old Friend Returns to Rye

My Dad – Gary Bourn’s Tribute

For those that were unable to attend the Memorial Service here is Gary Bourn’s Tribute to his Dad

Michael, Mick, Mike, Ernie, Mick the Milk, Mr Bourn, Sub Officer Bourn and even Russ Abbott are some of the names you have known my Dad by – His actual name was George Michael Albert – but to make this easy for me to do, and as he was mine, I will refer to him simply as “Dad”.

Dad was born on the 16 August 1938. He was Ethel and Franks, aka Pop-Pop’s, third child and only son and a little brother for his sisters Audrey and Margaret. They all grew up in the family home at number 4 Richmond Villas or as we know it 17 Rope Walk. Continue reading My Dad – Gary Bourn’s Tribute

The Last Shout

They came in their Hundreds

They came in their hundreds to St Mary’s Church on Thursday 21 April to say last goodbyes to one of Rye’s best known heroes, George Michael Albert Bourn M. B. E. The Church was packed, every pew was filled. Rye Firemen and Firefighters from other stations were there in force.

There was a hushed silence as Gary Bourn paid tribute to his father’s life and recalled many of the incidents in Michael’s very active and eventful time from his birth on 16 August 1938. Continue reading The Last Shout

Michael Bourn MBE

One of Rye’s Great Fire Chiefs

It is with great personal sadness I have to report the death of one of Rye’s truly great characters.

I have known ‘Mick’ Bourn since school-days, he was in the same class at Rye Primary.

Mick worked with his dad’s painting and decorating business. He joined the Rye Fire Service when his dad was fire chief at Rye and learned the secrets of Rye’s  inter-connecting buildings, roof and wall spaces. This knowledge became Continue reading Michael Bourn MBE

Firemen’s Night Out

Surprise for Michael

Searching through the “Rye’s Own” archives we came across this interesting piece in the very first issue of The Rye Gazette ‘October 1982’ We have added “Rye’s Own” pictures to Mary Oliver’s article.

Michael Bourn and his wife Sheila, of Udimore Road, went out on Saturday evening. It was, they thought, just one of the Rye firemen’s regular social get together’s but the rest of the Rye firemen didn’t think so.

Rye Fire Brigade 1966
Rye Fire Brigade 1966

In the largest reception room at Peppers, enjoying a buffet and disco, the Bourn’s found almost the entire Rye Fire Brigade with their ladies, plus the Divisional Commander Mr. Foster (two divisions cover all East Sussex), Mr. Foster’s predecessor Mr. Beaumont and the two Divisional Officers (Mr. Noads and Mr. MalIion) to whom Mr. Bourn turns for advice on Rye Brigade matters. Sub-Officer Michael Bourn is, of course, the Officer in charge of Rye Fire Station; and without his knowledge, the evening had been arranged to celebrate his 25 years in the Fire Service.

The New Rye Fire Appliance 1937
The New Rye Fire Appliance 1937

Naturally there was a presentation to be made, and Mr. Foster made it. It is traditional in the Fire Service for the fireman’s own axe to be presented to him, but Mr. Bourn’s is still very much in use. So another was polished up and mounted, together with two cap badges – one of the current issue, and one dating back to the days before the larger Borough brigades were all merged with East Sussex, and cadged from Mr. Bourn senior, since Michael’s badge had gone to Rye New York as part of a swap.

Michael Bourn joined the Fire Service as a lad of 17, following in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather; his uncle was also a fireman and so, rather unexpectedly, was his sister – not as a firefighter but busy back at the station keeping the records; Margaret married a fellow-fireman, Arthur Tiltman, and their son Alec now keeps up the family tradition. Michael’s son Gary would like to be in the brigade, but his eyesight is marginally below that demanded by the very high standards of the fire service – not that it hinders him when he plays cricket or football for Rye or for Sussex junior teams – but there is always young Philip on the way up.

It is in fact 27 years since Michael went to his first fire – at Walter Stocks in 1956, pedalling madly along from his home in Rope Walk at 2 am with his boots on the wrong feet – but of course there were two years spent doing national service; then back to Rye, and incidentally to great success in the various firemen’s darts leagues, though he has now put his darts in his pocket and is leaving the laurels to the younger members of the brigade.

Rye Fire Brigade 1952
Rye Fire Brigade 1952

We thought we might be allowed a little more history? Michael Bourn took charge of Rye Fire Station four years ago from the late Michael Fagan. Mr. Fagan’s predecessor was Frank Davey, who did the job full-time. He came from Bexhill (but in due course retired to live in Udimore Road, a very popular address for Rye firemen). Before Mr. Davey the Station Officer was Michael’s father, Frank!

The Town Hall’s 1933 Directory gives the names of the Rye firemen of fifty years ago. The Captain was W.J. Burnham of Landgate, the Lieutenant W. Bourn of West Street, the Engineer R.O. Bayley of Wish Street. The firemen were J. Tiltman of Watchbell Street; A. Devonshire, Gas Works; W. Hicks, Albion Place; A. Pope, Bridge Place; F. Bourn, Adelaide Terrace; T. Pope, Bedford Place; F. Kirby, Watchbell Lane; A. Frampton, Ferry Road; G. Small, Wish Street; G. H. Bourn, The Mint; J. Tanton, Tillingham Avenue; T. Wood, Bath Buildings; and P. Cook, Bedford Place. “The first alarm of Fire must be given by ringing the Fire Alarm Bell fixed in front of the Town Hall, which is in electric communication with all the members of the Brigade, and await the arrival of the Captain. Keys are kept by the officers)’

Rye Fire Brigade - Among this group are many from the list for 1898

In 1898 the Captain was W. Wright, and even then he was in “electric communication with all members of the Brigade. The list of names includes three Bourns, two Southerdens, two Morphys, and Henbrey, Blunden, Huggett, Bayley, Almond, Pulford and Hopper.

To complete the record, the present Rye Brigade (1982) is as follows. Michael Bourn’s Leading Firemen are Bill Paige, Alan Thomas, Malcolm Turk and Dennis Turner. Firemen are David Catt, Graham Cole, Michael Crafer, David Giles, Derek Hanwell, David Paige, Clive Paine, Terry Pankhurst, Roger Polley, Andrew Polley, Bob Rogers and Alec Tiltman. The communication nowadays is electronic rather than electric, and it is no longer necessary to race up to the Town Hall if your house is on fire. But the job is basically the same – dangerous, frightening, dirty and with unsocial hours; the firemen are just as dedicated, with equally dedicated wives backing them; and whether or not it is ever for us that the bleepers go, we are very grateful indeed to all of them.

“Rye’s Own” January 2016 Copies still available Tel. 01303 814874

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