One step forward and another back! A well known saying and one which has definitely applied this month. At the start of the month on April 6th, the team set with 240FLM for the overdue replacement of the rear differential oil seals which had been delayed from earlier in the year due to a " fail to start". However, this time no such problems and the small team of group members made their way to a local HGV repair facility kindly loaned out to us for this task. The appliance was carefully driven onto the hydraulic lift and the team set about the task in hand. Everything went as planned and the seal was replaced fairly simply and without any great issue. However, it was at the point of concluding the days work that the problems started. The starter motor refused to engage and there was a distinct smell of burning rubber or similar and so it was concluded that the only thing to do was to return the appliance back to the hydraulic lift and have a look. On investigation it was found that the starter motor had indeed failed and there also appeared top be a fuel system issue. By now it was mid afternoon so the decision was made to call for a heavy recovery lift back to our base at Romford, it had been a long day with the driver finally parking the appliance back in the station at about 8.00pm.
During the week that followed, the starter motor was stripped and a full overhaul conducted. Fortunately, within the group we have the skills to do this work so it didn't take long for the motor to be returned and refitted. With the fuel system bled, the appliance burst back into life and hopefully the starter motor will provide another 50 years of service.
Later in the month we held a busy working party during which the hand bell, which had required a new strap was refitted. Some woodwork around the OIC door had been stripped back and this was primed ready for coating up.
The hose ramp retaining frame that sits behind the cab, but had been mostly missing when we obtained 240FLM, had been constructed offsite and this was trial fitted and the fixing holes drilled out. It will now be brought to a full paint finish and the 3 base runners that the ramps sit on will be finished.
The 12mm radio cable was trial fitted and reaches from the radio on the dashboard to the rear seat area under which the transceiver will sit but some alterations are required to the connector to get it to fit, this is in hand and once installed, the cable will complement the "original" appearance as it is in fact a period item found by chance for £5 plus postage on an internet auction website.
Offsite, 2 new "original" extinguisher brackets had been made for the Foam and Water Stored Pressure extinguishers in the back cab, These had been routed out to accept the straps on the back and are now ready for final painting, strap attachment and fitting.
On the same day, attention was given by some of the team to the problem with the communications system that runs between the operators consul at the bottom and the speaker box at the head of the ladder. Although the whole system is now installed, the cable should run smoothly when the ladder is extending or housing, To assist the functionality of the cable, there is a twin wheel runner set that sits in a channel above the cable, It was noticed that the twin wheels were sticking at various points and after much investigation it was discovered that the trough that they sit in was heavily congealed with old muck and rubbish. This has now been fully cleaned out and should allow the system to perform correctly.
Arriving at Romford just before 7am, the crew, Dave Porter, Gary Quinnell, Steve Houston and Paul Wood readied the appliance and set off for Southend airport just after 7.30 with 240FLM starting first time thanks to the newly refurbished starter motor and engine servicing. The journey down to Southend was uneventful with Dave at the wheel but on Garys advice Dave negotiated the roundabout at Gallows Corner rather than try to get over the flyover.
The Vulcan Restoration Trust (VRT) treated us like royalty. We were given a VIP tour of the Vulcan cockpit
The gates were opened at 10am, and (apart from the Vulcan - obviously) we were the main attraction. Everyone wanted a bit of 240 - with some parents bringing their kids back several times such was the interest in her.
Tea and coffee was supplied by the VRT all day long, with a food stall available if you wished to buy burgers.
We were joined by our Chairman Peter Russell, along with Lady Julia mid morning, who supplied a box of famous brand of doughnuts for the crew.
The rain and wind was on and off all day, but the sun did show itself several times. To compliment the day, the Essex Yeomanry Band played appropriate music for several hours, and the electrics were powered up on the Vulcan to give a small demonstration.
The opportunity to get some photos alongside the Vulcan was hastily accepted with Gary lining 240 up alongside the aircraft as the crowds gathered around to snap away.
Gary did the honours driving back to Romford (via the fuel station to top the old girl up with fuel).
An excellent day for all concerned, and the amount of interest shown was beyond what we expected.
The on-board pump had been presenting us with problems and had recently failed to start. After much searching and testing, it was established that the fuel pump had become defective so it was removed, thoroughly overhauled by group member Mike Cotton and refitted. A little tweaking and checking and once again the pump has fired back into life and runs beautifully. It is our intention to have the appliance fully functioning in all aspects so this is a significant step towards that goal.
To complement the mechanical repairs, the pump deliveries and collecting head have had their ( non original) blank caps cleaned and reconnected via new galvanised chain. Unfortunately, the original chain remnants, (of which there was 3 different sizes) is no longer available so the closest match to that seen in the pre delivery pictures we have was purchased and used.
The driver’s dashboard gauge cluster had for a long time been in need of complete overhaul. Some of the more vital gauges in fact didn’t function at all so after much thought, this task was handed to professionals and the results are fantastic. A new set of cables were made and now that it is connected and reinstated, it completely finishes the repainted cab and dashboard.
Also fitted in the cab was a modern 2KG dry powder extinguisher. It had been considered a sensible precaution in case a member of the public approached us in an emergency, or, we needed it for ourselves!!
The exterior has continued to have finishing items added. The cable reel to supply the Francis searchlight has been refitted to the roof of the pump bay having been fully restored by Graham Pearce. It is likely we will be replacing the 50 year cable though as it looks rather unsafe!
The original windscreen washer system, including the plastic reservoir in the OIC footwell looked quite serviceable, however, it became clear that it wasn't pumping so a replacement pump has been sourced and installed and the system is once again working correctly.The Raydyot hand lamp for the OIC had developed a sever crack in the swivel joint since it was installed last month. Fortunately, one of our group members is a dab hand with brazing equipment so out it came and has been repaired and now sits back in its position, this now needs wiring up.
The Original radio channel plaque was in a bad visual state and, as this is on show, it was concluded that a new one was probably more suitable.This has been made and now sits back on top of the radio control box on the dashboard and reflects the early period in the Brigades radio history.
The " Licence" holder is now in place complete with the Joe Milner period certificate of ownership, we can however switch this to Mr Leete's period in tenure if we desire as we have one of those as well.
The drivers side floor has had its coat of black metal paint and this now means we can go ahead and install the rubber matting.
Attention will now turn to the 3 lockers on the outside. There are 2 foot lockers and a rear hose locker. All 3 were hand made by the group and the original skins then laid over. All 3 are currently still in the paint primer stage and it is our intention to get all 3 fully repainted and then refitted with the myriad of brackets, hooks and wooden formers that we removed some 3 ½ years ago. Once completed, this will allow us to restow the appliance with all the original LFB gear and equipment we have been able to collect since November 2015 and be one giant step closer to being able to proclaim 240FLM as “ On the run”.
Finally, a start has been made by Dave Porter on cleaning the original checkerplate decking which has been long overdue, initial impressions are that it will come up a treat for the summer.
February has seen significant steps forward in our winter maintenance and improvement programme.
Works by Trevor and Martyn to the onboard pump have resulted in the fuel pump being removed and dispatched for a much needed overhaul. It had become clear that this was the cause of the pump not firing when the start button was pushed. The dashboard has been completely removed and sent away for refurbishment as several of the gauges were not working and the surround needed painting.
Colin has started the first phase of the reattaching of the communications cable, between the head of the ladder and the operator consul. The cable is now loosely attached along its full length and connected to the refitted operator speaker and microphone box which is fitted at the head of the ladder. However, 3 specialist springs are required to keep the tension on the cable so these are being made " in house". Once made the whole system can finally be permanently attached and tested.
2 "new old stock" headlamps have been sourced and fitted by John Lewis as the silvering on the originals had started to fail.
In the crew cab, the radio, handset and speaker have now been fitted and immediately this has brought the cab back to life. The intention now is to install a small "bluetooth" system, played through the original speaker, to run original radio soundtracks appropriate to the service period. Also, in the cab (and pump bay) the replacement interior lights have been installed and are fully functioning.
Graham has finished the painting on the remaining ladder section at the foot of the main ladder and also given the steering column a much needed lick of paint, Trevor has also managed to get the " High Wind warning" pennant bracket at the head of the top extension painted in silver which is far better than the rust colour we had been looking at!
The foot mount for the Francis searchlight is now back on the roof ready for the light itself although this is currently being rewired and the hunt is on for an original " Niphan" bullet connector to complete the period look.
Finally, when the original interior cab lights, and the pump bay light, were removed for restoration, it quickly became apparent that they were beyond redemption!. It was fortunate that the identical " cage" lamps are still produced so with 3 new ones on site they were immediately fitted and connected, all 3 work perfectly!
Attention was focused on the on-board Light Portable Pump or " Donkey Pump" as its sometimes known *( it supplies high pressure water to the monitor at the head of the ladder when utilising the appliance as a water tower for large fires).
A couple of years ago, we gave it a limited refurbishment with new filters, exhaust and hoses and it had in fact run well but we didnt pump any water or put it under great strain. So when we came to fire it up in the new year, it steadfastly refused to start. A thorough visual inspection of the ignition system showed that we had a good spark and therefore a good electrical system so a strip out of the fuel system followed. This revealed that the fuel pump had failed so this has been removed and sent for repair. We have just been informed that the pump needed a thoroughly good clean and service and it has now been bench tested and produces the correct jets of fuel so it now just needs a final seal change and it can be refitted. Our thanks go to group members,Dave Porter, Trevor Barnwell and Mike Cotton for resolving this problem.
The hand bell over the Officer In Charge's seat has been removed to allow for a replacement leather strap to be fitted as the original one disintegrated this summer.
The complete driver instrument cluster ( dashboard) has been removed for overhaul and refurbishment as some of the gauges just didn't work, this should take several weeks to be completed so until then, 240FLM must remain static.
Running alongside the mechanical repairs and servicing, other group members had set about reinstating several of the new, or restored, original accessories inside the cab and on the exterior.
One very notable item to be restored has been the 8 day mechanical clock located centrally above the windscreen. This had been gifted to the group and it has fitted perfectly to the existing back plate and works beautifully.
An original, gifted, address/searchlight for the Officer In Charge was refitted. However, sadly a crack has appeared in the swivel mount so this will need to be brazed at some stage. Notwithstanding this, the period wiring can now be run to make the lamp functional.
After many weeks of deliberation, the final position of the radio receiver and handset were decided. Months of research had failed to provide any firm evidence of the fitting positions and no photographic evidence could be found. Discussions were held with retired members of the LFB Radio Workshops team and they confirmed that radios, speakers and handsets were in fact not fitted in identical positions and it very much depended on the appliance and fitter on the day. As no absolute certainty could be found or traced for the exact location, our joint collective memories decided on a later, known location, and the holes drilled accordingly. The new radio mount bracket will now be painted and installed on the next visit. The radio speaker will sit just to the left of the driver on the central divider, exactly as seen in several period appliance images. The handset will sit high up on the dashboard between the driver and OIC. Once all the 3 elements are installed, period wiring will be run to finish the project and it is anticipated that at some stage, we will install a Bluetooth speaker and player in the cab and have period appropriate recordings of radio traffic playing at events.
Measurements have been taken for the 3 wooden bearers that sit on the LPP pump housing behind the cab to accommodate the 2 hose ramps.These are now in construction and period leather straps have been sourced and are ready to fit once the wooden bearers are made.
The mechanical team gathered at Romford today with the intention of changing the engine oil & filters and a provisional look at the the next task of changing the gearbox oil. Meanwhile others had arrived to start the installation of some of the fittings and accesories that will start to make 240FLM look original again.
With the necessary safety options in place, the drain plug was opened and a rather unpleasant looking volume of old engine oil appeared. No one actually knows when it was last changed as we hadn't done this since we purchased her, however, it quickly became apparent that this was a wise decision. The rest of the day was spent inspecting the general access and state of the mechanics in preparation for the forthcoming season.
Meanwhile, the other lads were busy installing the new roof aerial and running the cable from it back towards the radio pack which, if we can locate one, will be sited in its original position under the offside rear crew seat.
A fully restored original CTC ( Carbon Tetra Chloride) extinguisher and bracket were fitted in the correct location behind the drivers seat. 2 of the newly re-chromed grab handles were refitted in the front cab, much to everyone's relief, the hand bell was removed to allow for the replacement of the leather strap which had broken during one of our event days and the original remnants of the 4 chains that retain the female blank caps were removed to enable us to try and source replacements. All in and excellent days effort before christmas.
The waiting was over, the decision made, the funds approved and finally, the majority of the items needing re-plating were off to the factory! Although as a group we had decided from the beginning that 240FLM was not going to be restored to "Concourse" condition, we had always envisaged that she would look at least as good as when she was operational. Items which would detract from that look were always likely to be the shiniest parts and during the restoration it became apparent that the Francis searchlight, which sits very prominently on the cab roof, and the interior grab handles were probably going to be the items most in need of re chroming. As we had reached a suitable point, the hunt began for a company capable fof undertaking this work, which we had assumed would be straightforward. This was a wrong assumption though as most plating companies will not deal with cast brass items, which both the grab handles and blank cap are made of, and the quantity is rather small. It was a relief indeed when we did manage to locate a company near Stevenage in Hertfordshire willing and able to offer a full professional service. The items have now been returned and look fantastic, almost as new, and we look forward to installing them in the new year.
During the course of November, a number of working parties have taken place. The purpose was initially to seek to remove the differential so that a troublesome oil leak could be repaired. However, on the chosen day, an electrical issue meant that we were unable to relocate the appliance from Romford to a pre-agreed location nearby where we could have use of HGV ramps.
Undaunted, the team set about the next task of dealing with the removal of the rear brakes to assess the condition of the linings and other mechanical parts. Over a period of 4 weeks, the small team, working outside in all weathers, removed both sides, and sets, of wheels, brake drums, hubs and seals. A thorough inspection revealed that the hub seals were failing and the brake linings were heavily contaminated so the decision was made to replace all these parts. The brake shoes were relined and new seals installed.
This was an onerous task, made all the more difficult as most of the team are of a more mature age and the weather was not always very kind. However, a very determined and small group of members, led by Colin Farrington and Trevor Barnwell supported by Dave Porter, Steve Houston, Steve Lomas and other supporters got the job done.
With the first, and unexpectedly busy summer now firmly behind us, the team are preparing to get stuck into some much needed winter maintenance on 240FLM. In particular, the differential has developed a leak and Colin, Trevor and Steve Lomas have prepared plans to access it and install new seals and oil with support from other group members.
Other maintenance will include complete renewal of the brake linings and adjustment of the handbrake cable as well as general greasing of the grease points and perhaps an attempt to get the onboard pump working so that 240FLM can once again pump her own water supply to the monitor.
In addition to this, further restoration will carry on and we are hopeful of re installing the communications system between the operator console and head of ladder, bringing the cab to a complete finish ready for next year with the installation of new interior lights, original equipment such as the radio system and all the small gear normally found in the cab of a fire appliance. All the original equipment has now been sourced and restored where necessary and is ready for installation and if at all possible, the final fit of the dozens of rubber treads to the 3 moving extension rounds.
On the exterior, the foot lockers on both sides of the vehicle need final carpentry work such as door shuts and then the refitting of all the small gear brackets and clips, of which there are many! Once this is done, the final painting can take place and then the equipment can be restowed finally.
Recently, we have been very fortunate to have been contacted by retired members of the London Fire Brigade with offers of some very rare items applicable to 240FLM. As well as uniforms etc of the correct period and which will complement our project beautifully, there has also been donations of: 2 original "Certificates of Ownership" to be displayed in the cab window, both have the signatures of the Chief Officers of the LFB at the respective times and each covers a block period of 240FLM's service period. An original and much prized, unused London County Council appliance log book and incredibly, an original mechanical clock, complete with bracket to sit proudly in the vacant space above the centre of the windscreen and a super rare original radio speaker to match the radio pack.
One item of particular historic value has been the gifting of an original 1965 LFB vehicle inventory sheet specifically for this type of appliance. To date, we have had to rely on memory and hearsay but now with the definitive list we can conclude our search for equipment far more rapidly.
A very difficult to find LCC hand Controlled Branch was also gifted to us and after full restoration it is now in its correct colour ready to restow. All of this however is now only possible thanks to the London Fire Brigade for allowing us to keep 240FLM warm and safe back in a London Fire Station and our group members who continue to support both physically where possible and financially likewise this project.
For all of this we are so very grateful because without the generosity of like minded people, the project may well have failed before now at worst or been nowhere near close to completion as we actually are!
After 3 years of collecting and having many items donated, the stores of uniforms, clothing and personal gear are now established at Romford. It was important to have it adjacent to the appliance so that on show days we can easily grab what we need to take with us.
Gary Quinnell and Paul Schedler Davis took 240FLM out for a lovely sunny day at the Dartford Classic Car Show in Kent. On show were a lovely variety of vintage and more modern vehicles although our appliance was the only fire engine on show, this of course meant that she attracted a lot of attention. Another excellent day and more publicity for our project.
240FLM and her crew were absolutely delighted to have been invited to attend one of the best Fire Station open days held in recent years. The organisers had gone to extraordinary lengths to get a broad range of attractions signed up and these included the traditional " wet sponge throwing" at various peoples heads which brought huge amounts of laughter, a wonderful selection of restored fire appliances, some right up to date and operational London Fire Brigade appliances and various side stands depicting the historical and cultural aspects of the Fire Service in London. One vital ingredients was an Ice Cream van which did a roaring trade thanks to the beautiful weather.
240FLM was inundated with children and adults all wanting to experience the inside of a vintage appliance, something that the group are keen to encourage as the vast majority of restored vehicles rarely allow this type of "hands on" approach for obvious reasons which are completely valid and understandable. The owners will have spent many thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours bringing the vehicles back to life and maintaining them and many of the "on board" items are irreplaceable. Alongside the fire appliances there were live action displays, demonstrations of the modern equipment, local suppliers of services and face to face communications with serving and retired London Fire Brigade members. At the conclusion of the event, all the vintage appliances participated in a historic "Turn Out" for a brief drive down the road and back, a real sight to see and it stirred so many memories for so many people. As a group we had a wonderful time. Thankyou.
2 working parties were undertaken during August.
On Saturday 18th, Pete started the final push towards getting the front of the cab area painted whilst Graham Pearce set about the final part of restoring the “Fly ladder” brackets with new copper washers and leather inserts.
Before setting about the actual cab, it was decided to try and clean up the aluminum trims around the windscreen and dashboard areas. This was no easy task as they hadn’t been cleaned in probably 30 years, are a difficult shape and area to get at and Pete had no real experience of the best method to use! After much head scratching and trying different techniques and materials, a plastic based rotary drill attachment with some metal polish, accompanied by occasional wire brushing, produced an acceptable finish.
Once this and the full masking up of the areas were done, all surfaces were cleaned thoroughly and finally the paint could go on. The dashboard area and the engine top cover had 1 top coat before time ran out, but the signs were promising for a good finish.
Graham meanwhile had made good progress but was prevented from finishing as he ran out of copper rivets.
The following week, Saturday 25th, Pete & Graham were back at Romford for a re run but this time it was decided that every effort should be made to get both jobs fully finished in advance of the next event for 240 which was going to happen on the following Sunday.
Once again, the front seats came out, the cab was stripped of all the small parts, had a thorough flatting down, clean and finally the masking up done and then the paint could go on. Once masked up, we were about to start the spraying of the area behind the seats when we realised that like last week, we should sensibly try to clean down the brightwork and trims abutting the paint area.
Last week was a real trauma trying different systems to clean the alloy so this time, a more pragmatic view was adopted and Pete set about the central divider top panel with a small amount of extra fine rubbing compound and a superfine sanding soft pad. Eureka!!! It has come up a treat with almost no effort. This will now be finished off next time with a quick clean with metal polish to be sure of removing the remaining paint residue from previous efforts of others.
The back panels and engine side panels had their first coat, the front dashboard area and engine cover, which had previously had 1 coat got masked up and then had their 2nd coat, and finally back to the rear panels and engine side panels for coat number 2 and the job, was done with ½ can of paint left out of the 6 x 400ml tins we started with.
It is really pleasing to see 240FLM with her correct colour reinstated, hopefully next year we will be in a position to do the same to the outside.
The last weekend of July and 240FLM had made the journey across country from Warwickshire to the Bressingham Steam Museum near Diss in Norfolk for their annual " Steam rally" .
A fabulous weekend of steam, vintage vehicles, including a range of fire appliances, and other means of transport were on display and several live action displays were put on, some of which included the participation of the Norfolk fire cadets.
Camping was available on site and our crew of Colin Farrington, suitably supported by Steve Houston,took advantage of this option.
During one of these wet displays, 240 did spring a couple of leaks but these can be fairly easily rectified, and, given the amount of miles she has covered, and the amount of pumping undertaken recently, the appliance held up remarkably well. The appliance was eventually returned down to Romford on Monday and a review of the journeys, displays and other vehicle activities has produced a "To Do" list which is not to painful to read!!.
All images are courtesy & copyright of the Norfolk Fire Museum, C Farrington and S Houston and no reproduction is permitted.
240FLM made the long journey out to the British Motor Museum last weekend to participate in the Fire service Preservation group 50th Anniversary rally. The appliance formed both part of the static display and also participated in live practical demonstrations during the weekend. Our particular demonstration was the 1960's to 1990's theme where 240FLM was used as a " water tower", something she was designed and built for as well as rescue operations.
A blisteringly hot weekend was enjoyed by all the group members who travelled out to help support the appliance and Colin, our valiant driver who had transferred the appliance from to and from Romford. A wonderful weekend of nostalgia, meeting and making friends and sharing in the remarkable event.
You are courteously reminded that all images are copyright 240FLM Preservation Group, No unauthorised copying, reproduction or use is permitted without prior permission being granted. Please use the contact facility to apply for a usage notice.
With a crew of 3, Steve Lomas, Gary Quinnell and Steve Houston on board, 240FLM attended her first event at a London Fire Station open day on Saturday when she did the short, 30 minute journey to East London to F44 East Ham Fire Station. Gary had been born in East Ham, and the 2 Steve's both know the area well from their Brigade service so it was quite a trip down memory lane for them.
A lovely day was spent entertaining the visitors and the "on call" crews put on an excellent demonstration of vehicle extrication and cutting despite the intense hot weather.
The appliance, although breathing hard in the sunshine, performed as expected and the return trip was made that evening ready for the very next day where a group of members from the " Fire Brigade Society" were starting their London tour at F38 Romford, home of 240FLM. The current PL and our own appliance were brought out into the sunshine for the photo call.
Work continued on the preparation and priming of the front cab interior. With the seats removed, it was possible to get in the tight corners to apply the spray primer. A small repair was done to the underside of the engine cover and whilst it was off, it was thoroughly cleaned of 50 years of grime!
The next step will be a final flattening and then the top coats can be applied.
The group were proud to have been invited to attend, and act as a backdrop, to an official London Fire Brigade retirement ceremony held at F21 Stratford Fire Station on Wednesday 20th June 2018.
As it was planned to be an early start, Colin Farrington had relocated the appliance from Romford the night before to be sure of being on site in good time.
A little more progress this weekend!
The dashboard,surrounding framework and the back panel behind the OIC seat has now been partially spray primed/undercoated.
Being amateurs, we are having to find our way through each job both with regard to the work and the materials. Therefore, it was decided to just get one " rattle can" to see how far that would go.
With the masking up and final wipe down complete, a small fibreglass patch repair was sanded back,the OIC seat removed and spraying commenced.
The nearside footwell was given its last coat of "Hammerite" to make the final seal to the pan before the floor covering is fitted.
The rear seat cushions and back pad were reinstated and that element of the work can now be signed off. Not the busiest day but good progress continues to be made.
240FLM undertook its second "out duty" on the early May bank Holiday Sunday last weekend with its participation in the 2018 London to Brighton Historic Commercial Vehicle Run. This was not the first time that the appliance had done the run from Crystal Palace to Madeira Drive in Brighton but the last time was 1994 so quite a gap between attendances!
The crew of 4, consisting of Colin Farrington, Peter Russell, Paul Wood and Steve Houston, gathered the day before at Romford to transfer the appliance down to its secure overnight parking at the Crystal Palace Park ready for the 0815 start the following morning. During the first part of the journey the crew made a brief stop for photos at the original, first home, of 240FLM at New Cross Fire Station in SE London. The "on duty" watch were delighted to see one of their historic vehicles pull up outside and, for one of our crew members, a unique moment as he had driven our appliance when brand new at New Cross in 1964! A real moment of history.
Once photos had been taken and a brief chat with the station personnel concluded, it was back on the road to the overnight parking at Crystal Palace Park. The crew were staying at a local hotel and had booked an early taxi for the return to the appliance, however, the taxi failed to appear so after some fine diplomacy, the team who had brought a beautiful 1948 single deck coach from the South Yorkshire Transport Museum kindly agreed to give our lads a lift to the park in time for their allotted start so the 0815 time was just met.
Once on the road, the initial journey was quick and untroubled and they headed south to reach the 1/2 way stop at the George Hotel near Crawley.
This was a welcome break given the rising temperature on this beautiful day and the stop also allowed plenty of local visitors and supporters of the run to get a close look at 240FLM and take pictures before the crew were back on board and moving again.
Sadly, the smooth journey was about to come to a halt near the notorious " Pease Pottage" Boot sale venue where the combination of boot sale visitors, historic vehicle and their supporters and holiday makers all came to meet and create a 90 minute delay with static traffic for most of it. Not to be daunted, the crew reverted to old school local knowledge and took to the country lanes, not necessarily something to be done to often with a vehicle of this size and age, but nevertheless, better than sitting any longer being cooked in the cab next to a 6 cylinder diesel! Once out of the traffic chaos, the run down into Brighton was smooth and the lads arrived at their allotted position at just about 13.45.
Once parked up in the midst of several other fire appliances, lunch was happily devoured, obviously fish and chips, and the afternoon judging commenced. visitors and supporters flocked to see the vast array of vehicles of all types, sizes and ages and even the Mayor of Brighton took a shine to our old girl.
As the afternoon closed, the final judging result was announced and to everyone's surprise, we were awarded 2nd place in the Fire Engine class, this is a wonderful vindication and regard for all the hard work put in by the restoration team over the last 3 years. Even though the appliance still has much to be done to it, this award has served to inspire us to push even harder so that by this time next year, we may well be in a position to take first place!
As the sun began to set, it was time to head off back up the A23 to North East London, to Romford, and base for 240FLM.
The journey back was uneventful, but long, and our sole driver did a fantastic job under very tiring conditions, especially as once the appliance was safely home, the crew still had the long drive back to their own homes, some of these journeys were over a hundred miles so a huge but rewarding effort and the whole 240 FLM Preservation Group are proud of their achievements.
The day finally arrived when all our efforts over the last 3 1/2 years were put on display to the public.
240FLM was being used to transport the late Station Officer William " darkie" Knight (C24 Whitechapel Red Watch. London Fire Brigade.) from the funeral directors on the Bromley Road SE6 to Hither Green Crematorium.
The assembled crew of Paul Wood, Steve Houston, Colin Farrington and Pete Weight had met at Romford Fire Station, The home of 240FLM, and headed off down the A12 via the Blackwall Tunnel to Bromley. The journey down was straightforward, once we had decided that Sat Navs were not always right, and we arrived in plenty of time for local residents and passers by to come and have a look, take pictures, and generally show a great deal of interest.
Equally interested were the staff from the funeral directors, Francis Chappell & Sons, who welcomed us with cups of tea which was a nice gesture much appreciated.
Transfer of the coffin was to take place outside the Funeral Directors and this was a tense moment being our first experience of doing this, however, all went smoothly. A last minute decision was made to have two of the crew riding (as is traditional) on the side plates and this added an additional safety level to ensure all was well on the journey as well as looking exactly correct for the family and assembled congregation waiting at the crematorium.
Much discussion had taken place before the final journey about whether or not we could get the appliance close enough to the actual chapel due the regular problem of insufficient parking on site, therefore,a plan was devised in case this was the situation. However, on arrival, Colin skilfully manoeuvred the ladders down the very narrow road and positioned the appliance exactly where it was meant to be.
The family, friends and ex colleagues were very grateful for our efforts and professionalism and I think we as a small team were also proud of what we had achieved as " First Timers".
Thanks to Paul Wood for getting some sensitive images which of course remain copyright protected to him,no reproduction is permitted without express authority being granted.
On Tuesday 1st May, at 13.30, 240FLM will undertake its first "Out duty" and Public engagement. The appliance has been requested to participate in the funeral of the late, Station Officer, William " Darkie" Knight at Hither Green crematorium, London SE6.
We are honoured to have been approached to conduct the last ride for this highly respected fireman who served much of his career at C24 Whitechapel during the 1960's.
The appliance will be travelling from Romford to Hither Green during the morning via the A12, Blackwall Tunnel and South Circular and returning the same day so if you see us out and about please give us a wave, or if you are attending the funeral, please come and say hello after the ceremony.
Colin, Trevor, Pete and Steve Houston gathered at Romford to continue the work on the restoration. Trevor completed the installation of a permanent battery charger and associated electrical repairs and alterations which will ensure that the appliance never suffers from a battery drain down whilst residing in the bay at Romford. He then fitted the nice new control operators display panel which was needed due to the awful faded condition of the original one.
Colin got busy servicing one of the hydraulic jacks which unfortunately was starting to drip fluid due to lack of operational use, he also fitted the nice new " Burgee" or wind directional flag onto the beautifully handcrafted swing weighted bracket at the head of the top extension. Once fitted, he then managed to reattach the nearside front wheel "step down" rings which was not able to be refitted when the new tyres went on as the studs had snapped. Colin had carefully manufactured new ones at home and then drilled out the old broken studs on site.
Pete & Steve got stuck into the interior of the cab and it now has its cream coloured undercoat to the roof interior and back cab area. This is in preparation for the final top coats of "County Cream"which should go on this weekend. It was fortunate that when Pete removed the original inerior lights for refurbishment, a small patch of the original colour had been spotted so this meant that the repainting would be exactly in line with how 240 would have appeared fresh from Merryweathers.
The group are delighted to be able to announce that following an invitation, the Chief Officer & Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Dany Cotton, has agreed to become our new President. She will assume position at the 2018 AGM. She takes over the vacancy left by the sad passing of Bill Butler, former ACO in the London Fire Brigade in 2016.
A very happy new year to all our friends and followers, we hope you had a most enjoyable seasonal break.
With 2018 well underway, the first small working party gathered at Romford to accommodate the fitting of a complete set of 6 new tyres. This was decided following the unfortunate incident on the day of the relocation to Romford when the appliance suffered a blow out on the motorway, fortunately, the driver was able to control the vehicle and continue the journey.
During the day, a couple other small jobs were undertaken including finally resolving where the last few remaining diamond plate panels should be fitted!. these plates were usually hidden when the appliance was constructed so it is like a game of "Cluedo" trying to establish exactly where they go,but eventually it all made sense and they can now be returned to their correct locations.
The first of the show dates has now been pencilled in and more will follow once the various groups around the country start to announce their shows. we look forward to announcing our attendance at some of these in due course, however, before we do venture out, more work will take place to bring the appliance to an even better position for showing, one of those jobs, the repainting of the interior of the cab, should start as soon as the weather improves enough for the paint to dry!