Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Sir Roger" The Type 'N' Dennis Fire Engine.

A copy of "Sir Roger."
A Dennis Type 'N' Ladder Pumper unit.

There are no records available at this time as to the whereabouts of this wonderful fire engine today, which served the village of Cookham for so many years. Maybe that someone reading this Blog will have knowledge of this fact. The licence number of YM 9050 I would think would still be with it. I will go into its technical details in another section of this at a later date.

From details that I have been able to glean from other sources the purchace price was somewhere in the region of £875-0-0. It came with three sections of suction hose and filter basket. There was 1000 feet of delivery hose with quick disconnect couplings.

With this unit the members used to do regular practice at various points in the Cookham's. They had a plan worked out on how they would tackle a fire in any of the village buildings should it arise, nothing was left to maybe or chance. The main problem was where they could get their closest water supply, if there was no stand pipe or water main. From all this pre-planning and practice the Cookham Volunteer Fire Brigade entered many competitions and carried off many a shield and cups. They would show off their skills at the annual village Flower Show every year up until the war.

Not only did they serve the village, during the war saw service in both the London and Southampton Blitz. Having solid rubber tyres Sir Roger never suffered from punctures like other units on the scene. Also at harvest time these men during the war turned out to gather in the wheat, oats and barley.

1 comment:

Roger said...

As a fire service historian with a special interest in appliances, I am interested in your suggestion that Cookham's motor fire engine was a Dennis N-type. The picture shown here certainly is an N-type pump but it is not the Cookham appliance. It looks to me like the preserved ex-London Fire Brigade 1916 Dennis registered LP 8389 with some Photoshop alterations.

In the piece "The Cookham Volunteer Fire Brigade" you show a photo of a completely different engine. I have so far been unable to identify it but it is definitely not a Dennis and looks like a private car conversion rather than a purpose-built fire engine. YM 9050 was a number issued by London County Council, as licensing authority, in late 1925 or early 1926 no doubt when the vehicle was new. It was presumably converted and acquired by Cookham VFB some years after that. It probably does not survive.

Cookham did not have a Dennis fire engine from new but may have had one secondhand from another brigade. London, for example, did sell some of its c.1916 appliances to smaller brigades in the 1930s. The village is unlikely to have had two engines at the same time so any Dennis would have almost certainly replaced YM 9050.

Until reading your articles I was unaware of any fire engines serving Cookham so you have provided a valuable addition to my records and I do hope that between us we can get the details correct. I wonder if you might re-check with your sources, in the light of what I have said, to see if any more information comes to light.

In "The Cookham & District Fire Brigade Early Years" you mention a Shannon Mason manual engine. This would actually have been by Shand Mason & Co, that company and its predecessors having a history going back to 1774. It was in turn taken over by Merryweather & Sons, another well-known fire engine building company, in 1922.

I hope this is of interest and that you will able to come up with some further information about the mystery motor appliance.