A Twickenham Fireman Remembers, 1929-1933

A Twickenham Fireman Remembers, 1929-1933
Booklet published by the Twickenham Local History Society in 1991, 38 pages. A5 size booklet (N7283X1)

From the introduction: We are now grateful to Mr F.W. Hitchinson, for a personal account of the Twickenham Fire Brigade. Though he did not join it until 1929, his boyhood ambition to become a fireman led him to frequent the Fire Station, and he recalls the days of the Volunteers.

Frank William Hitchinson was born at 24 St Mary's Terrace, Mortlake, S.W.B, in 1910, the son of an omnibus inspector. When he was under two years of age, the growing family - it eventually numbered three boys and five girls - moved to Laurel Avenue, Twickenham, and Frank attended Trafalgar Boys' School, of which he retains warm memories. During the First World War, he worked before school (5.30 to 8.30 am), and all day at weekends, for the Bedford Dairy at 108 Heath Road. At the end of the War boys under fourteen were limited to an hour's work daily.

He then worked on George Stanford's farm in Waldegrave Road near Strawberry Hill, where they had three horse-drawn milk floats, and although he could only work one hour outside the farm, he worked longer hours inside it, learning "to milk the cows, groom and harness the horses, drive horses, tie up the cows who were reluctant to let the bull serve them, and the many other things that went on in farms".

When he left school Frank served as a Fitter's Improver in the commer­cial section of the Associated Daimler Co., Southall, the makers of London's buses, and then the Automotive Engineering Co., Twickenham Green, the experimental engineers who designed and produced the first duralumin pistons for engines, replacing cast iron ones. This was a new metal, a trade name for a series of alloys of aluminium, copper, magnesium and manganese, now largely used in aircraft work on account of its lightness, strength, and hardness.

He relates how this experience served him well when he joined the Twickenham Fire Brigade in 1929, and allowed him to become a Chartered Fire Engineer. After four years in Twickenham, as recalled in the following pages, came his rise in the service...

Condition of the booklet is generally very good. The cover has one or two very minor scuffs and blemishes, but the staple spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.