Rye Fire Brigade 1952

Photograph taken at the Annual Competitions Rye Grammar School

L to R Standing :- Fred Pawsey, Frank Small, Mick Fagan, Cecil Tiltman, Reg Bailey, Margaret Tiltman (nee Bourne), Bert Southerden, ‘Gemma’ Day, George Fletcher, Arthur Tiltman, Fred Bourn, Joe Vincent, Les Small, Bill Britt and Geoff Curtis. Bottom Row :- Station Officer Frank Bourn, Judge, Division Officer Adams, The Mayor of Rye Councillor Candler and Mrs. Candler, Brigadier Gardham, Division Officer Hollands and second Judge.

What a list of Rye characters are included in this photograph. It seems impossible that it was taken over fifty years ago. The Rye Part time firemen or firefighters as they are called today, have always been one of the most effective crews in Sussex or Kent. At that time they were led by the legendary Frank Bourne, part of a family who have been associated with the Rye Fire Service almost since its conception in the mists of time. We hear all the hoo-ha in these enlightened times about equality of the sexes. This photograph proves that Rye was miles ahead of the times, a lady fireman, no less than Margaret Bourne, daughter of Frank, pulled her full weight in the Rye crew back in the 1950’s.
There are no women in the present make up of Rye but under the present Chief, Andy Polley, the Station is still one of the most efficient double pump units in the country, serving as it does a town with precious old buildings requiring special knowledge and expertise to deal with fire hazards unknown in new towns.  There is also one of the premium fire hazards in the county right on Rye’s doorstep. The oil refinery on the Harbour Road processes all manner of dangerous and inflammable materials.
Rye Firefighters are the first in line when problems occur, their dedication ensures Rye’s safety around the clock.

“Rye’s Own”  April 2005

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