Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: November 21, 2019
Webpage updated: November 23, 2019




The City of Plymouth Fire Brigade was formed under the Fire Services Act 1947, which received the Royal Assent on Thursday July 31st 1947.

On and as from Thursday April 1st 1948 the National Fire Service was disbanded and reformed as the City of Plymouth Fire Brigade.  Mr George Drury (1893-1963) was appointed as Chief Fire Officer.  The headquarters was at "Wentworth", Dormy Avenue, Mannamead.  Station A was at Greenbank; Station B was at Molesworth Road; Station C was at The Drive, Hartley, with the Brigade Workshops; Station D was at Queen Anne Battery.

When Mr Drury presented his first annual report to the Watch Committee, he said that there had been 611 calls, with 477 actual fires.  The Brigade then comprised Chief Fire Officer; Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Divisional Officer (fire prevention and general duties; Assistant Divisional Officer; 5 x Fire Station Officers (including 1 Brigade Engineer); 8 x Sub-Officers; 12 x Leading Firemen; 89 x Firemen.  Total 118.  There were 13 fire appliances had been repainted from grey to red.

In 1951 the Queen Anne Battery Station was closed and the Fire Boat "Iris" relocated to Number 1 Basin, Royal Dockyard.

With the extension of the City boundary to the north, it was proposed to build new Fire Stations at Camel's Head and Crownhill to replace The Drive and Molesworth Road.

An Auxiliary Fire Service Headquarters was opened at Embankment Road in 1952 by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Alderman H E Wright JP, and the HM Inspector of Fire Services, Mr A V Thomas GM.

In 1953 the City of Plymouth Fire Brigade's headquarters were at Greenbank Fire Station, Greenbank Road, where a first floor had been added to the building.  The telephone number for administrative matters was Plymouth 60331.  There were three fire stations: Greenbank, Plymouth; Molesworth Road, Stoke; and The Drive, Torr, Hartley.  In case of emergency, private residents had to dial "2222" while from Public Call Offices it was "999".

A Coronation Display was put on at Raglan Barracks, Devonport, on Friday June 5th 1953.

One of the oldest vehicles to be taken over when the City of Plymouth Fire Brigade was formed was DR 7555, a Dennis Hatfield 50hp with a 35 feet escape ladder.  It had cost 1,350 when new in 1930 and it was disposed of in 1951 to Mr C A Nobbs of Plymouth.  It had apparently been stationed at the Catherine Street Fire Station until the move to Greenbank.

Crownhill Fire Station was officially opened on Thursday April 23rd 1959.

In 1961 the old turntable ladder was replaced with a new AEC Mercury with 100 foot Merryweather automatic ladder costing 12,000.

Mr George Dury OBE MBE QFSM retired in July 1962 after 51 years in the fire service.  His replacement was Mr Ralph Havery.

Camel's Head Fire Station was officially opened on Wednesday January 6th 1965.

On Saturday October 22nd 1966 the Fireboat "Iris" was renamed the "Cissie Brock", after Mrs L A Brock the first Lady Chairman of a Watch Committee in the country.

As from Saturday April 1st 1967 the City took over the day-manned Plymstock Fire Station and the retained Plympton Fire Station.

The Dockyard Fire Brigade was disbanded and the function transferred to the City in 1969.

Arrangements were already in place for the City of Exeter Fire Brigade to merge with the Devon County Fire Brigade on Tuesday May 1st 1973 and as Mr Havery was to be appointed the Chief Fire Officer of the new Devon Fire Brigade, it was decided to merge the City of Plymouth Brigade in to the new organisation, twelve months before it would have been required under the Local Government Act reorganisation in 1974.  This became the Devon Fire and Rescue Service from January 1st 1987 and the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service on April 1st 2007.

During 2004 the Greenbank Fire Station was relocated to the approach road to Mast House, Sutton Road, Coxside, while the old Station was demolished and a new one built.  It was reopened in June 2006.