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Sawbridgeworth Fire Brigade - Chief Officers
||Ralph Riches 1875 - 1947
|Elected as the first Chief Officer
(based on the above at the age of 22) on the 27th September 1897. He
resigned from the brigade in April 1903 having, it seems, been elected to
the local Rural District Council. The vacancy for a Chief Officer had not
been filled by 11th June that year and Mr. Riches offered to resume in the
position but at that General Meeting of the brigade as above, Bryan D.
Nockolds was appointed. On-line research shows that Ralph had a Grocery
business at 7, Knight Street, presumably that which became Forrest Stores in
later years. It also appears from research that he probably took over the
grocery business from his father, also Ralph, where the family lived!
||Bryan D. Nockolds 1883 - 1958
Nockolds was the son of solicitor and became one himself the practice
being based in Bishop's Stortford but he lived, initially at home, The Limes
in Knight Street, then at Stone Leigh, West Road, Sawbridgeworth and was an
early Chief Officer of the brigade, being elected as 'Captain'in1903 at the
age of 20. He had a sporadic membership as he 'retired' as Chief Officer in
1907 on his leaving the town for Bishop's Stortford. On the 12th September
that year the Brigade decided to present him with an enlarged photograph of
the brigade framed in oak in recognition of his services. However, he was
re-appointed as "Captain in Charge" on the 8th February 1913 on the
resignation of Captain Allen. He attempted to resign, through business
pressures, in November 1927 but was eventually persuaded to continue,
eventually resigning through pressure of business, in September 1932. It
seems that he rejoined again at the outbreak of war and remained in the
brigade throughout the war years and until the latter years of the National
Fire Service (NFS) as "Company Officer".
The Webmaster is indebted to the company of Solicitors
that still retains the name "Nockolds" for providing the information that
Bryan D. Nockolds died on the 13th July 1958.
||Captain Ralph R. Allen 1873 - 1929 (*)
Captain Ralph Allen was appointed on the 3rd
October 1907 and other than a short "leave of absence" of some five months,
his being engaged at the "Festival of Empire Exhibition", resigned on the
20th January 1913 owing to the pressures of his private business(#).
It was at this time that Bryan Nockolds returned to the post. Captain Allen
was accorded Hon. Chief Officer in which connection he could continue his
supporting roles in the National Fire Brigade Union (later, Association)
in which it is apparent he held several officer posts(##).
The statement is extracted from the Brigade Minutes Book (1897 -
1949) but some very helpful delving into records of the National Fire
Brigade Association has resolved that there is no recorded evidence of
Captain Alan having "several officer posts" other than "RR Allen listed as
being on the 'South Midland District' committee in 1911". "It is possible he
did some organising work at District level, perhaps in the organising of the
annual drill competitions that were so popular then and being made an Hon
Chief would have allowed him to be a judge for the drills". (*)
The photograph used is one that relates to WW1 and was kindly provided by
the research of
Simon Lincoln -
Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue. It is assumed to be of the
Sawbridgeworth Chief Officer and the uniform insignia is that of The
With appreciation to Alan House QFSM FIFire for delving into the National
Fire Brigade Association historic records.
(#) Captain Allen ran, what appears to be, a substantial
business operated from Sawbridgeworth, called "The Allen Poultry Co. Ltd.".
Copy documents show that all manner of services and items to do with poultry
rearing and feeding etc. were offered. Captain Allen was also a
lecturer for Hertfordshire County Council. He also contributed to books on
Horticulture and was the author of books on Poultry subjects. He lived at
No.1 Fair Green and appears as such on the 1911 Census. His death is
recorded as 8th January 1929.
grateful thanks to Alexandra Fisher, Senior Library
Assistant, Cambridge University Library for supplying the information and
supporting documents regarding Captain Allen's business activity.
|Richard Marven Hale Everett - 1909 - 1978
|Mr. R. Marven Everett was a barrister and lived
at Springhall, Vantorts Road. Having been approached to take the position of
Chief Officer, he had declined on the pretext of not enough time. However,
his letter, among others that had been received and who had also been
approached, considered at the General Meeting on the 9th March 1933, gave
the impression that he would have liked to have accepted and a deputation
was arranged to visit Mr. Everett. A further meeting on the 27th April
indicated that he had consented to 'act' as Chief
(Marven's signature appears on the Annual Competition Certificate of 1933 -
see right.) . He resigned the position at the General Meeting of
the brigade on the13th June 1935 related to his pending marriage and as a
consequence of leaving the town. All members of the brigade were invited to
a Supper at Springhall on the 20th July, at the invitation of Mr. Everett's
Mother, as a farewell gesture. Following WWII army service, he returned to
live at Springhall until sometime in the late 1940's or early 1950's.
|© Hon Soc of Gray's Inn
|The Webmaster is indebted to
Mrs F Bellis, Assistant Librarian, Lincoln's Inn Library and Andrew Mussell,
Archivist, Hon Society of Gray's Inn for the details of Marven Everett's
time as a prominent Solicitor. The full details provided of the archived
HERE as a Download PDF.
bearing Marven Everett's signature
|Dr. Edward Newman Hailey - 1907 - 1973 (1935
Leyland Cub KF4 Photo)
After a Partnership with Dr. Burton of Vantorts
Road, Dr. Hailey ran his own surgery from 1947 in Knight Street opposite
Forrest Stores. There was a photograph of Dr. Hailey as a Chief Officer of
the Brigade that hung on the Control Room wall for many years but knowledge
of his service is sparse. He was proposed at the General Meeting of the
Brigade on the13th June 1935 and at the next meeting on the 3rd of October
he chaired the meeting, so it can be assumed that he accepted the position
in the meantime. It would seem that Dr. Hailey was 'Called Up' as a Medical
Doctor soon after the outbreak of war (*) as at a meeting held on
the 8th of February 1940 the Chief Officer was again Bryan D. Nockolds!
WWII Army Service - Royal Medical Corps - No.244457 promoted to 2nd
Lieutenant 29th August 1942.
Photo by kind
permission of Sawbridgeworth Cricket Club.
Born 6th January 1905(*) at
Bell Street Sawbridgeworth, one of five children. Attended the Fawbert &
Barnard School in Knight Street and left at the age of 13 to take a job as
Office Boy at H. A. & D. Taylors, Maltsters. He had joined the local Scout
Group at some time, where the Scout Master was Mr. S. P. Woodfield, who
informed him at the age of 16 that there was a vacancy in the Fire Brigade
for two Messengers and encouraged him to apply. In November 1921 he and Stan
Levey were told that they had been elected. The first fire he attended was
at the Orchard Maltings in Station Road at 6am on Saturday 21st December
1921 where the building was well alight. His last fire was attended on the
28th October 1967 - to Beechfield on the Vantorts estate only a few hundred
yards from where he lived! (*)
The Church Street Fire Station was built that same year.
|Like most fire
brigades of the time there was very keen competition within and with other
brigades and Frank took a very active part. He was a very keen fireman and
albeit both football and membership of the Young Men's Meeting, run by
Sidney Parmeter, manager of Forrest Stores in Knight Street, were also a
popular pastime, the fire brigade eventually became his only real interest.
In the late 1920's - early 1930's he applied for membership of
the London Fire Brigade and was awarded an interview at the London Headquarters
at Lamberth. However, for what ever reason he was not selected. After marriage he had a property built and lived at 31 Vantorts Road,
selected for its position within easy reach of the Fire Station in Church
Street. The 1939 - 1945 world war only expanded his keenness on the theory
side of fire fighting and his knowledge of water became extensive leading to
his being appointed Water Officer for Cambridge, should that city have been
by Divisional Office (East Herts) George Cotton
on Retirement October 1967.
||In November 1947, just before
the N.F.S. was
disbanded in April 1948, he was promoted to Section Leader in charge of the
Station. He then served the County brigade as Sub Officer in Charge until
his retirement at the age of 62 on the 31st October 1967, a total of
46 years continuous service in the brigade. His retirement was marked by a
gathering of members from The Sawbridgeworth and Bishops' Stortford Brigades
at the United Services Club in Station Road. The Tankard left was a gift
from Bishop's Stortford Colleagues.
(Died 25th December 1976). (The photo in the background can be seen