June 1951 began quietly for the firefighters of Ryde until Friday 8th when the crews were called to respond to an incident type identical to that which we are occasionally called to in the 2000’s. Police received the information and activated the siren that called for the need to attend a grass fire affecting the railway embankment that runs parallel to Ashey Road. Further information entered in to the log by Fireman Athey states that the precise location was Whitefield Farm. As the term Whitefield is more commonly associated with the woodland that borders Brading Road I researched this farm and found that the Ponda Rosa licensed premise features Whitefield Farm in its full postal address.
Following this it took another twenty days before the next call, this time to a chimney fire at the home of one Mr Jeffries of 16 School Street Oakfield which interestingly was noted as being near Ryde. Station Officer Potts responded with the main pump and crew who made good the offending chimney within twenty minutes of the time of call by use of a stirrup pump.
Later that morning Fireman Drayton reported an injury to the middle finger of his left hand when responding to the siren on his bicycle. Apparently his damaged digit managed to become entangled in his saddle! During the evening drill period of the same day Sub Officer Collis took those present to Partlands football field for a session of undisclosed training; possibly of the sporting variety?
June 1952 starts quietly for the nominal roll of eighteen strong plus Deputy Chief Fire Officer Tomlinson who made an appearance. Most probably he was there to brief all present on the content of their activities a week later on Wednesday 11th when at quarter past seven that evening all crews and appliances were in attendance at Simeon Street recreation ground to participate in drills for the benefit of a Home Office inspection.
At 01:58 on the morning of Monday 16th crews were roused from their beds by the house bells which were activated via the telephone lines by the police (and in all probability woke up whole families and perhaps the neighbours too). The call was to deal with a fire in timbers beneath the tram track at the pier head, which was dealt with and all crews returning home by 02:55.
Mid-afternoon of Sunday 29th saw the major pumping appliance respond to a telegraph pole on fire at Rowborough Corner and within a couple of hours the pump was erroneously sent to an alleged hedge fire in Havenstreet which turned out to be a bonfire attended by a wood merchant of 2 Hillside Cottage.