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Firemen's Contests
District Competitions

Rushden Echo, 11th June 1909, transcribed by Kay Collins

Fire Brigade Contests
Higham Ferrers and Rushden Firemen Compete – A Prize for Rushden

Yesterday, at Stamford, the cup competitions and demonstration in connection with the North-eastern district of the national Fire Brigades Union were held. Among the competitors were teams from Higham and Rushden, Higham competing in the manual and hose-cart drills and Rushden in the hose-cart and steamer drills.

Capt. F. J. Simpson, of Higham, was one of the officers in charge of the arena, and Capt. F. Knight, of Rushden, was also present.

In the manual drill Higham did a remarkably good performance and would have taken third prize but for a 10secs. penalty. The Higham team included Vice-captain Martin, Firemen Twelftree, Lambert, Middleton, Partirdge, and Stokes.

The hose-cart competition was won by Market Harborough in 25 2/5 secs., and Stamford secured second prize 32 1/5 secs. and rushdenm third in 32 4/5 secs. Higham were placed sixth. There were fourteen competing teams in this section and some excellent work was done. The majority of the teams, including Higham and Rushden, however, were working at a great disadvantage in having to use a standpipe of an antiquated pattern, the property of Market Harborough, the winners of the first prize. The result was that none of the teams used to up-to-date appliances were able to approach the times they had made in practice. The Rushden team was composed of Firemen Wildman, Sparrow, Whiting, and Britchford. The Higham team included Firemen Twelvetree, Lambert, Stokes, and Partridge.

The Rushden team met with a slight accident in their drill, the hose-cart stopping with such unexpected suddenesss that Fireman Britchford was struck on the left eye and shot under the cart. Britchford recovered himself very smartly, however, and the team secured third prize. Fireman Wildman also sustained a bruised thigh.

The steamer competition was won by Stamford, Wellingborough being third, and Rushden eighth. The Rushden team was: Engineer C. Green and Firemen Wildman, Sparrow, Whiting, and Britchford.

The Rushden Echo, 26th September 1913, transcribed by Kay Collins

Firemen's Contests at Rushden
The Annual Competitions - Smart Work

Competitions amongst the members of the Rushden Fire Brigade took place on Saturday afternoon at the Fire Station, and were witnessed by a good number of spectators. The teams were as follow:-

A team-Third Officer R. F. Knight, Firemen L. Britchford, H. Payne, and W. Jaques.

B team Firemen J. Whitney, M. Wildman, A. Jaques, and E. Bollard.

C team Firemen C. Green, J. Sparrow, C. Thompson, and J. Wooding.

In the four men hose cart competition the stand post had to be fixed, three 50 feet lengths of hose run out, and all connections made, including branch. A team won in 26 2/5 secs., B team was second with 28 3/5 secs., and C team finished in 29 4/5 secs., but were penalised one sec, making a total of 30 4/5 secs.

In the steamer drill, for which a handsome cup was offered, a similar form was followed but the hose had to be connected to the steamer and a target had to be struck with the jet. Results: A team 30 secs., B team 33 3/5 secs., C team 36 2/5 secs. An interesting sight was that of the

Escape Drill Test

Each team had to run the escape, a distance of 30 ft to a "burning" building, fully raise the ladder 40 ft., and bring down a dummy, weighing about 8 stone, properly lifted.

Results: B team 66 secs., C team 65 1/5 secs. (penalty one sec. total 66 1/5 secs.), A team 65 1/5 secs. (penalty three secs. total 68 1/5 secs.)

After the competitions tea was provided in the upper room of the Fire Station by Mr and Mrs Wilkins, of the Waggon and Horses Hotel. About 30 sat down, including the firemen and their wives. Capt. Yorke and two Raunds firemen were also present.

Capt. F Knight, J.P., presented the prizes. A vote of thanks to the caterers for the splendid manner in which they had carried out the tea arrangements, was passed. A very enjoyable time was spent during the rest of the evening.

The Rushden Echo, 5th June, 1914, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Annual Fire Brigade Competitions
Rushden Win Valuable Cup
Successful Day at Castle Ashby

The inhabitants of Rushden have cause to be proud of the Rushden Fire Brigade who distinguished themselves at the annual competitions of the North Eastern District of the National Fire Brigades’ Union, held at Castle Ashby on Monday. As will be seen below, they knocked out all comers in the fire escape competition, which is a fine spectacular affair.

Prior to the competition a business meeting was held, under the presidency of Capt. F. Knight, J.P. (Rushden), when the following brigades were elected to the Union: Chatteris, Yardley Hastings, Lincoln, Earls Barton, and Skegness. No invitation was forthcoming for the annual meeting, and it was left with the secretary to arrange.

At the brigades’ luncheon Capt. Knight again presided. After the loyal toast the Chairman gave the health of Lord Northampton, and said the Union were very much indebted to his lordship for giving them permission to be there for their annual competition. They all appreciated the kindness of the Marquis of Northampton, and they were also thankful to Mr. Pike, the tenant of the grounds on which they met that day.

In response, on behalf of the Marquis, Mr. F. H. M. Savile said it gave his lordship great pleasure to see them there that day, for he, like his noble father before him, took a great interest in the fire brigade movement. (Applause.)

Arrangements for the competitions were in the hands of the following officials; Chairman, Capt. J. C. Gill (Peterborough); vice-chairman, Capt. F. Knight (Rushden); Hon. District Secretary, Second Officer M. H. Brewer (Kettering).

Judges: Steamer and manual drills, Capt. H. Amos (Brackley) and Capt. F. Corby (Bedford); hose cart and escape drills, Supt. Stanley Thorpe, C.O. (Kodack Works Brigade), and Second Officer T. H. Emmett (Isleworth); time-keepers, Messrs. T. F. Douglass and W. C. Woodford (Northampton), J. Bosworth and W. W. Grant (Kettering); arena officials, Chief Officers Haller (Carlton), R. Knight (Oundle), Thomlinson (Market Harborough), R. F. Knight (Rushden) and W. Riddle (Kettering); record keeper Second Officer G. R. Turner (Rushden).


Special interest was shown in the fire escape competition. The Rushden team comprised Firemen C. Timpson, J. Whiting, H. Payne, and A. Jaques.

Under this competition the rules of the N.F.B.U. had been slightly modified so that all the more credit is due to the above team, whose task was a little more difficult than was anticipated. Of course the revised rules applied to all entrants. A dummy man, weighing over eight stone, had to be rescued from a platform 30 feet high after the competitors had run the escape 40 feet along the ground towards the platform. After allowing for penalties the result was:-

1 Rushden (1 min. 10 secs.)

2 Wellingborough (1 min. 11¾ secs.)

Rushden thus won the handsome silver cup, weighing 7 lbs., which Market Harborough had held for two years in succession.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 14th July 1922, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden and Higham Firemen
The North-East District Competitions
Irthlingborough and Raunds Successes

On Saturday afternoon 12 of the members of the Rushden Fire Brigade, under Second Officer Packwood, and members of the Higham Ferrers Brigade took part in the annual competition which the North-Eastern District of the National Fire Brigade Association was holding at Nottingham.

It was unfortunate that one of the Rushden men, Fred Payne, was slightly injured in the steamer drill, so could not take part in the escape drill. The weather conditions were all against good drill, as it was pouring with rain all the time. Winners:

Four-man Manual Competition—1 Spading, 36 1/5 sec; 2 Irthlingborough, 38 2/5 sec; 3 Stamford, 41 sec.

Senior Steamer—1 Stamford, 30 3/5 sec; 2 Market Harborough, 32 2/5 sec; 3 Arnold, 33 sec.

Hose Cart—1 Kettering Clothing Society, 43 4/5 sec; 2 Irthlingborough 45 sec; 3 Finedon, 46 1/5 sec.

Junior Steamer—1 Carlton, 21 2/5 sec; 2 Market Harborough, 23 sec.

Dressing and Hose Cart Drill (dry)—1 Irthlingborough, 1min 13 3/5 sec; 2 Raunds, 1 min 16 2/5 sec; 3 Market Harborough, 1 min 16 3/5 sec.

Escape Drill—1 Stamford, 68 3/5 sec; 2 Market Harborough, 76 3/5 sec.

Rushden have been the holders of the Steamer Cup for three years. It now goes to Stamford.

Rushden Echo, 20th July 1923, transcribed by Kay Collins

Beating the Winners! —An unusual result occurred in the Fire Brigade Hose-cart Competition at Finedon on Saturday. Irthlingborough had won first prize (time, 38 2/5 sec.). Rushden and Castle Ashby No. 2 tied for second place, each with 39 3/5 sec., and in the run-off the Rushden men were victorious by 37 4/5 sec. to 44 sec. Thus Rushden’s time was 3/5 sec. shorter than that of Irthlingborough, a very creditable performance.

Rushden Echo, 3rd June 1927, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Firemen Happy - Champions of the North-Eastern District
Great Success at Stamford – Prizes for Higham, Raunds and Irthlingborough

The Rushden Fire Brigade were very successful in the annual competitions of the North-Eastern District of the National Fire Brigades Association at Stamford on Saturday last, and other local teams were also in the picture. About 2,000 spectators saw the competitions, but an unexpected thrill was caused when a real fire alarm was received at the ground. The outbreak of fire was at the works of Messrs Martin, who manufacture fire engines. Fortunately the blaze was extinguished before much damage was done.

There were 86 entries for the various events, and the Rushden Brigade secured first prize (silver cup) in the hose-cart competition, first prize (silver cup) in the junior steamer competition, second prize (cash) in the senior steamer competition, and second prize (cash) in the hook-ladder competition, the last being a new event. The Rushden Brigade thus qualified to represent the North-Eastern District in the national competitions, which will be held at Bournemouth in July, in the hose-cart, steamer, and escape competitions.

The results were:

Four-men manual (dry drill)—1 (silver cup and £3), Spalding, 22 2/5 sec.; 2 (£2), Yaxley, 24 3/5 sec.; 3 (£1), Holbeach, 27 3/5 sec.;. There were twelve competitors, including Higham Ferrers, 34 3/5 sec. (including 10 sec. penalty).

Hose-cart (dry drill)— 1 (silver cup and £2 2s) Rushden, 40 2/5 sec.; 2 (£2) Higham Ferrers, 42 sec.; 3 (£1), Irthlingborough. Eleven competitors, including Raunds (43sec.).

Senior steamer (wet drill)—1 (Londesborough Cup and £3), Market Harborough, 29 sec.; 2 (£2) Rushden, 32 sec.; 3 (£1), Yaxley, 34 4/5 sec. Sixteen competitors including Raunds (no drill).

Junior steamer (wet drill)—1 (the Clark trophy and £1 5s.), Rushden, 27 1/5 sec.; 1 (15s), Carlton, 27 3/5 sec.; 3 Yaxley, 28 sec. Eighteen competitors, including Raunds (30 sec.).

Dressing and hose-cart (dry drill)—1 (Gill Shield and £2 2s.), Market Harborough, 1 min. 4 3/5 sec.; 2 (£2), Stapleford, 1 min. 6 1/5 sec.; 3 (£1), Raunds, 1 min. 11 3/5 sec. Twelve competitors, including Higham Ferrers (1 min. 13 2/5 sec.), Rushden (1 min. 24 sec.), and Irthlingborough (no drill). When Higham completed their first drill, it was found that the timekeepers were absent, and so they had to drill again.

Escape drill—(Haddon Challenge Bowl and £1 5s.), Stapleford. Two competitors. Rushden and Stapleford met, but Fireman Bayes, who usually distinguished himself by his very expert ladder work, dropped his dummy when halfway down the ladder, and this led to the Rushden team, who were the holders of this trophy, being disqualified.

Hook-ladder drill—1 (Stamford Challenge Cup and £1 5s.), Martin’s (Stamford), 2 min. 3 3/5 sec.; 2 (15s), Rushden, 2 min. 13 1/5 sec.; 3 Kettering, 2 min. 11 3/5 sec. Six competitors.

Lady Kesteven presented the prizes, and, on the proposition of Captain R F Knight (Rushden), seconded by Chief Officer M H Brewer (Kettering), she was heartily thanked.

The Rushden team comprised Captain R F Knight, Second Officer W Packwood, and Firemen Bayes, Walker, Tears, Timpson, Bridgeford, Smith, Whiting, and Underwood.

Rushden Echo July 1935
Rushden Fire Brigade’s Winning Crew

Rushden Fire Brigade were a swift and sure crew in the big North-Eastern tournament held at Irthlingborough on Saturday week and carried off the honours in the senior steamer drill against ten others, besides being well to the fore in the junior motor escape and hook ladder events.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 5th June, 1936, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Two District Cups Retained
Rushden Fire Brigade’s Great Day at Spalding
New Captain’s Part

  It was no simple matter for the Rushden Fire Brigade, holders of two trophies, to retain them against increased competition in the important North-Eastern District contests this year, but the feat was accomplished at Spalding on Monday.

  The new officers recently appointed – Chief Officer A. P. Timpson, Second Officer J. Whiting and Third Officer T. Muxlow (secretary) – had every reason to be proud of the brigade’s good showing.  There had been no time to reorganise the teams since the change of officers, and Chief Officer Timpson, who for several years has been the “crack” man of the drills, took his accustomed parts for the last time – the running of the ladder in the escape event and the two-length and breaching part in the senior steamer and senior and junior motor pump drills.

  For the second year in succession Rushden won the Londesborough Cup (the biggest trophy in the competition) for the senior steamer drill, their time being 30 2/5 secs.  They also retained the Martin Cup, which they have now won on nine occasions, for the hook ladder drill, against a much larger opposition than for many years.  This event was run after a very severe rainstorm which made the tower and all the apparatus very slippery, but the time of 1 min. 48 secs. was a good one and 4 1/5 sec. quicker than that of Kettering, who finished second.

  Rushden rounded off the day’s work by finishing third in the senior motor pump after tying for second place with Peterborough Volunteers in 28 4/5 sec.

  The Rushden team consisted of C.O. Timpson, Second Officer J. Whiting, Firemen H. Bailey, F. Underwood, F. Tear, L. Bridgeford and T. Smith.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 25th May 1947, transcribed by Kay Collins

Fire Brigade— Rushden Fire Brigade competed with distinction in the North-Eastern District Competition at the London-road ground, Peterboro', on Whit-Monday, entering six events and taking two first prizes and two seconds. Their placings were as follows: Junior motor pump, 1st in 29.1-5 sec., winning the Clark Cup and £1 5s.; hook ladder, 1st with No. 1 team in 2min. 4sec., winning the Martin Cup and £1 5s., 3rd with No. 2 team in 2min. 31sec.; senior motor pump, 2nd in 31.1-5 sec. winning certificate and £2; escape, 2nd in 1min. 19.1-5 sec., including 5sec. penalty, winning 15s.; hose cart, 4th; senior steamer, not placed. Rushden already held the ladder trophy. The members taking part were Capt. R, F. Knight, Secretary T. Muxlow, Engineer J. Whiting, Firemen L. Bridgeford, J. Sparrow, C. Green, T. Smith, A. Bailey, A. Timpson, F. Underwood, E. Walker, E. Tassell and F. Tear.

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