Firemen's Strike 1977

Discussion in 'Old & Bold' started by Talent, Oct 5, 2012.

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  1. I mentioned a couple of things on the 'latest' SLR thread about the firemen's strike in 1977. I didn't want it to usurp the interesting banter and the downright rudeness of the why's and wherefores of the good 'ole SLR.
    So I've started a new thread. I realise there will be some don't have a clue what it's about, but that's true anyway ;-P.... also there must be some old frats still around.... well look at the SLR thread.

    I spent about 10 days in a TA Drill Hall in Leicester covering the firemen's strike and then managed to get shifted. The main building was Victorian or Edwardian I reckon, definitely before WW1. It was a running concern, there was a bar upstairs with a retired squaddies group. There were meetings and fitness classes, a reading room and TV room and a stage. A load of young squaddies were dumped on the drill hall floor on camp beds. I've been told it was near Glen Parva.
    It wasn't the Ulverscroft Road Royal Anglian TA place, I've looked on Google Earth. That's too modern.

    Any ideas anyone?
  2. What was the address? If you can remember it, I'll Google it for you.
  3. Try the Drill Hall Project.
    They have a database of the country's drill halls.

    I was also involved in the Fireman's strike, serving for the full period (9 weeks?) on the two Green Goddesses covering Grimsby. We were based at Westward House Drill Hall in Grimsby which is a cadet drill hall nowadays, according to the web. I think it was a TA drill hall at the time we were there.

    I also remember some dirty little ******* discovering that a woman whose house backed on to the drill hall used to get undressed in the evening and wander about naked in the room with the lights on, occasionally touching herself. Cue about 50 blokes in the darkened room at night with the curtains drawn back, gleefully ogling this rather tasty bit of cracklin' getting her kit off every night.
    Ah. memories.

    *Yes, the dirty little ****** was yours truly.
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  4. Okay, this is how this thread came about. It looked like STONKER didn't believe my post....

    The '77-'78 firemans strike found me in the Leicester TA centre. A Green Goddess went on a shout but was recalled as the fire was already out. About half an hour after they got back a civvy turned up with a load of rolled up hoses in his carboot. They'd dropped out the lockers on a roundabout. Squaddies, hey!

    If that was during the first 6 weeks of the strike - I shoulda been told!! I was the officer in charge of all the Depot Queen's troops deployed in/around Leicester. Happy[?] Daze

    You will remember the freezing weather then? There were 2 Goddesses but only room for one in the warm shed and she was filled up. The one outside had to be drained to stop it freezing solid. After about a week of this and a few changes of shifts, the warm one went on a shout but on arrival it was empty. The mattress on fire in a back garden was stamped out by the squaddies. They should really have noticed there was a weight difference between an empty and a full one though, don't you think??
    Anyway, the firemens wives fitness group had sessions in the TA centre several times a week. A couple of squaddies got lucky!

    Well. you clearly weren't in the same TA centre as me (Leicester had the biggest no. of firefighting soldiers in E Dist). The best site was in the Town Hall/Council Offices - weekly disco there, squaddies get in for free.
    I do remember one 'shout' at a hooker's house in one of the many rough parts of the city. It didn't take long to extinguish, but the Old Bill had to draw truncheons so they could force a path through the crowd of rubbernecking neighbours, wide enough for the Goddess to get to the fire . . .

    A week after the squaddies were billeted there, the Navy turned up in 2 forward control Land Rovers with, I think, Green Howards drivers (but I can't be sure of that). They were armed with breathing sets and Fearnought asbestos suits as the Rapid Response team. Get in, get people out, stuff the fire. They were billeted in the classrooms around the back, away from the oiks, with their own ablutions. The flag pole over the front entrance was empty so the blue jobs ran up a White Ensign. What a 'to do'. Oh dear. There was a near riot. The Ensign came down and a TA flag run up.
    There were complaints about the sub-standard living arrangements, shitpans blocking up and showers being broken in the main building. 'Dignitaries' visited including the Lord Lieutenant, he was heard to say "Better than the Mayfair hotel, what ho chaps" or some similar light hearted drivel.
    The Navy got split into 2 watches, 24 about. Off duty watch was billeted in an empty army married quarter a few miles away (at Magnum Parva or sumfin) to make life a bit more comfortable for them. The ruffy tuffy squaddies stayed put on camp beds in the main hall.

    Not so fast, my lad. When the Andrew rocked up with their breathing apparatus at my TA Hall in week 1 of the strike (or mebbe a tad later), they took one look, and f#cked off to some hotel. Never saw 'em again.

    I'm trying to find some pics and I'll reply with a new thread. There must have been more than one Drill Hall being used in Leicester. As I said, this one was near 'Magnum Parva' and the navy were billeted in a army married quarter. I think it was a stores depot.

    Indeed there were. (More than one drill hall). It was the biggest deployment in EDIST.

    New thread started…. Firemen’s strike 1977
  5. All I remember was that it was a couple of miles from Glen Parva married quarters. I've Googled Drill Halls and TA Centres and followed the links and gone on Google Earth to look from street level. It may be that it's been demolished.... it was 34 years ago. I've tried the Drill Hall Project and also Billets and Barracks. No luck.
  6. 9 weeks? I thought it lasted longer than that. IIRC I went to Deepcut for training (and escaped alive) then St Johns Wood Barracks (RHA?) then Knightsbridge with the Donkeys and finally ended up in Chelsea until just after the New Year when 1SG took over and us crows, who were taken straight from Passing Out to Fire fighting training, finally went to our Battalions.

    And yes, it was a ******* excellent adventure for a spotty 17 year old.
  7. So not city centre, three storey brick building, high (though not particularly wide) arched vehicle (originally horse?) entrance directly onto main road. Military vehicle entrance/parking would have been at the back, entered by a narrow road off a side street?

    This describes a building on Oxford Street, which is not necessarily one of the Drill Halls that used to be along the road, but looks fairly similar in some respects to the Met Police stables at Scotland Yard, so could have started as horsey TA unit building. If you try to find it on Google Earth, it's next to the road markings on Oxford Street, just south of Bonners Lane.
  8. Had a look on Google Earth, it's not that building but thanks. I've been looking around the area of Wigston as that's not far from Glen Parva. It's where the 'D' Squadron of the Leicestershire Yeomanry were. However, it looks like a lot of these old buildings, classed as 'brown field sites' have gone for new builds.

    I remembered the local sea cadet officer used the bar in the drill hall, I think he was actually involved in running the place, so I've emailed TS Tiger. He's long gone though, they've had a few changes of CO since then.

    It's difficult to stay on track when you start surfing.... I assume that being SEA cadets, their unit is named after the cruiser HMS TIGER. I've found that the Leicester Regiment were also called THE TIGERS, do the Royal Anglians still use it?


    The building we were in was more like this....

    View attachment 93131
  9. I have the start at Grimsby as 14th November 1977 and the finish on 15th January 1978. (Still got the copy I did of the shouts that we attended). I'm fairly sure we were there for the whole period although it's possible the strike was longer and it took us a week or so to get deployed with equipment in Grimsby Police Station. I remember all we had was the hand rung bell at first and we had to follow the police car to fires, later we had some two tone horns fitted. And the coach full of nurses actually did turn up one Friday night as well!*

    *But sadly only to sing Christmas carols in a choir at a school, we were 'volunteered' to attend and after it finished all the nurses got back on the bus. Not that this spotty little Herbert would have got a look in...
  10. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    You got me wrong, feller. I was OC of all the troops on firefighting duty in Leicester, from Day 1 of the strike, for 6 weeks. I too was based in a TA Centre (with 2 Green Goddesses and crews), and I had a whole bunch of other detachments aropund the place (buggered if I can remember the name of my own location, let alone theirs, after this much time)

    After it was over, we found out that, compared to all the other troops deployed on fire duties in the District we had (variously) had more 'shouts' , more false alarms, attended more real fires, bigger fires, longer fires, and fires that caused more damage. It was a busy time !!

    I was simply trying to ascertain if you were one of my lads (recruits in Wk 13 of their basic training at the time), or if you were part of the second rotation who saw the thing through to ENDEX.

    I have some piccies somewhere gifted to me by the Leicester Mercury reporter who covered the strike. I'll have little dig for them.
  11. Basic training would have been nice.... I arrived in Leicester end of week one, lasted just over a week. I was pushing 40 and due out, kept my head down and got shifted. :pissedoff:
  12. Cor. If you're that old, you must have been issued with the A1 version of the SLR...
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  13. As they say small world, I was waiting to join up during the strike and was working at the time in the Leicestershire Fire Service Workshops out at Glenfield

    All hell let loose when it was decided that we would repair the GG when they broke down (we saw quite a bit of them I recall) as the guys on the workshop floor were local authority employees and not affiliated to the FBU in any shape or form. There was also some friction as the Fire service QM's stores was housed in the workshops and we were told to hand out specialist kit if it was needed. Some of the older guys on the shop floor had no problems as they were familiar with the vintage og the GG it was some of the younger guys who had problems.

    Also had some problems getting rid of the GG crews when the District Nurses turned up at the workshops to pick up their Mini's which we were also responsible for servicing, couldn't see what all that was about at the time but after I joined up all became clear.

    Seem to remember also that there was a further problem with demarcation over what was City of Leicester territory and Leicestershire territory which ran into problems with the Station Officers who did not strike saying but you can't use that GG its in the City and the fire is across the boundary.
  14. I was on the third floor of the British Gas office block in De Montfort Street, We could see the FBU post with tarpaulin, brazier, portable TV, the lot.
    What happened? The ****** caught fire and burned out in about 30 seconds. Laugh? I nearly pissed on the flames.
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