Preservation Through Operation

GGX 689 1941 Austin K2 Hose Reel Tender

This 1941 Auxiliary Towing Vehicle is based on the Austin K2 lorry chassis fitted with a cab and integral van body with seats for the crew and internal lockers for the hose and small equipment. In action, the appliance would tow a trailer pump. This trailer pump would either draw water from hydrants fed off towns mains or could be set into the nearest river or pond. Shortly after the end of the war, responsibility for fighting fires passed to Local Authorities and the newly formed Brigades were allocated many of these wartime appliances.

An A.T.V. towing its trailer pump was a familiar sight all over Britain and hundreds of communities relied on these vehicles for fire cover in both rural and inner city locations. The exact history of GGX 689 is not known but it passed into the hands of the then Lanarkshire Fire brigade in 1947. It is believed that in 1948, this unit – like hundreds of others – was converted to a hose reel tender which gave it an inbuilt fire fighting capacity. This adaptation consisted of fitting a 100 gallon water tank inside the rear crew cab immediately behind the main bulkhead and fitting a small rotary pump which was driven from the vehicle’s petrol engine. A hose reel drum containing 180 feet of small diameter tubing was also fitted inside the rear cabin with holes cut into the van’s sides to enable it to be drawn out on either side. The fitting of a five way valve into the system enabled the crew to immediately tackle a blaze using water drawn from the integral hose reel water tank, and then augment it from external sources if the fire was serious enough to necessitate this.

This vehicle was acquired by Central Region Fire Brigade Preservation Group in 1986. Since then it has almost totally rebuilt, refurbished and kitted out with original equipment to match similar units in use in Central Scotland during the 1950 – 1960 period. This work was carried out by apprentices at Falkirk College of Technology, Forthside Depot, Stirling and Group members in their off duty time. In 2008 the vehicle was gifted to Strathclyde Fire Brigade Preservation Group on long term loan from Central Scotland Preservation Group. It is still marked STU15 standing for Standard Towing Unit another derivation for ATV, Auxiliary Towing Vehicle, which is what the example started out as.


© Scottish Fire Brigades Heritage Trust

Registered Scottish Charity (SC043929)

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