Newlands Volunteer Fire Brigade


As mentioned earlier Stan Francis was the first member of the Fire Police in the area having been sworn in on 21 October 1957. He was later promoted to the rank of Sub-Officer and later again to Lieutenant in charge of the Newlands Squad. On the formation of the Brigade he was made Officer in Charge with the rank of Station Officer. Under the Fire Service Commission the Officer in Charge post became that of District Officer with the rank of Senior Station Officer. Stan retired in May 1988 and became the first member of the Brigade to be awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal - a fitting reward for the years of dedicated service he rendered to the Fire Service in Newlands.

Currently there is only one Foundation member of the Brigade still serving, and that is Bill Bambery who transferred back from the Rotorua Brigade. Other foundation members were Cliff Latham who transferred to Fiji in his position as an Air Traffic Controller after six years in the Brigade. Ken Mills was promoted to the vacancy of Station Officer created by Cliff s resignation and continued his service until he retired in 1985 when he shifted to Waikanae. Ken was Secretary of the Brigade for many years. Tony Robinson retired in May 1991 with the rank of Station Officer. Doug Brewer, the first Secretary of the Brigade, resigned after three years to take up other interests. Ian Irving and Barry Stimpson served sixteen and eighteen years respectively before having to leave for reasons of health. Em Wallace put in three and a half years before shifting to Hawkes Bay. Bill Bambery transferred to the volunteer section of the Rotorua Brigade and, as mentioned earlier, has since transferred back.

Other members have come and gone over the years and a full list of members appears later. Some members found the excitement got to them to the extent they joined the permanent fire service.

They were:

•Dick Reeves currently a Senior Station Officer at Khandallah

•Gordon Duncan Senior Fire Fighter at Wellington Central

•Peter O'More Station Officer at Petone

•John Devereux Station Officer at Petone

•Dave Joseph Fire Fighter at Wellington Central (since medically retired)

Members with service in other Brigades before joining Newlands were:

R J Nordell - Johnsonville Brigade

Don Smith - Wellington and Lower Hutt Brigades Neil Smith - Wellington and Lower Hutt Brigades

Robert Cook - Wellington Brigade Alex Robertson - Picton and Kumara Brigades

Les Boyd - Devonport Brigade Dave Muir - Templeview and Porirua Brigades

Alan De La Mare - Oxford and Mitsubishi Industrial Brigades

Robin Kellett - Gisborne Brigade David Harris - Gisborne Brigade

John Hughes - Foxton Beach Brigade Kevin Murphy - Wairoa Brigade Tony Swain - Wellington Fire Police and New Plymouth Brigade

Frank Simpson - Wainuiomata and Wellington

Brigades Russell Cook - a number of other Brigades

Dean Tutton - Wellington Fire Police, Wellington City Rural Fire Force

Nigel Le Grice - Rarangi Rural, Picton VFB, Johnsonville VFB

Chad O'Hara - Upper Hutt VFB

Families have featured in the history of the Newlands Brigade over the years. Don and Neil Smith grew up in the Wellington Brigade where their father was a Station Officer. Stan Francis' brother was a member of the Fire Police and was employed as a Control Room Supervisor. Their brother-in-law Eric also worked in the Control Room. Stan's son, Ralph, is currently a Station Officer in the Newlands Brigade while sons-in-law, Barry King and Trevor Gatfield, were also firefighters with Newlands. Brothers-in-law who have also served are Tony Swain and Dave Joseph, and Peter O'More and Walter Smith.