Our History

Our Seventh acquisition was  another TACR2 Gloster Saro B332MPF. Powered by a standard Rover V8 petrol engine as were all TACR2’s this one at first glance looks the same. Take a closer look! On the outside the only obvious difference is the apparent lack of foam branches and hose lockers (compare the picture of this vehicle with that of our previous TACR2). The main difference is internally in that this vehicle has two separate tanks for the foam and water and two independent delivery valves within the rear locker. This was a unique arrangement designed to allow the use of water or foam at an incident unlike the conventional TACR2 that can only supply a pre-mixed foam solution.  This vehicle carries 175 gallons of water, 25 gallons of foam compound and can be equipped with various items of equipment to suit the environment in which it’s working. This arrangement was ideal for use on the gorse covered MOD ranges at Aberporth where this vehicle was stationed prior to disposal.

Unfortunately we had to sell this vehicle in August 2007 to Stapleford airfield.  

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North Weald Fire Rescue (Volunteers) is a non-profit making group that provides aviation fire cover to users of North Weald airfield. The group was formed in 1987 by Eddie and Steve, two close supporters of North Weald who purchased the first and subsequent group vehicles. They were, and still are, the group’s main financiers.

North Weald is an unlicensed airfield owned and operated by Epping Forest District Council. It is used primarily for light aviation having a resident population of 100+ aircraft. These include ex military jets, vintage light aeroplanes and icons such as the Kittyhawk, Mustang, Seafire and Spitfire. Being a famous WW2 airfield, still with an intact 6000’ asphalt runway, it can be extremely busy with large numbers of visiting aircraft especially during the summer months. The group has always worked closely with the “Squadron” regularly providing fire cover for their Fly In’s. As well as the aviation related activities a number of other events take place during the year such as drag racing, the Wings and Wheels show, corporate events and cycle racing. In addition a number of warehousing, driver training and shipping companies operate from the airfield along with the largest Saturday market in the UK.

Over the years the majority of volunteers have been serving or recently retired local authority firefighters both full time and retained. Most have come from the local county fire services of Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The remainder all have emergency service or military backgrounds though this is not a pre requisite to membership.

All crew members are trained to Civil Aviation Authority Low Category Airfield Standards for fire service personnel, the training being carried out at North Weald by qualified members of the group. As skills and qualifications have increased over the years we have been able to attend other venues such as air shows and commercial events. North Weald Fire Rescue are members of the British Fires Services Association and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Financing the group and accommodating the vehicles has always been a major problem, two members having spent in the region of £30,000 since 1990. In recent years we have received some small grants from North Weald Parish Council and donations from the Airfield Users Group, The Squadron and a private benefactor.

All of the funds raised go towards the maintenance of the vehicles and the purchase of fire fighting and personal protective equipment. Annual expenditure is normally in the region of £1500 – £6000, which always outstrips our income.

Our vehicles are designed to be kept under cover so that they are in a state of immediate readiness. One vehicle is kept inside a bay of the original airfield fire station courtesy of the council who in return receive training for their Immediate Emergency Response fire crew who now cover the airfield during operating hours. The others are housed in the open with the attendant maintenance and corrosion problems that open air storage brings.

We have attended all the major aviation events at North Weald for the past 24 years, fortunately there have only been a few incidents in this time. We are always ready to work with the council having trained and assisted them in the setting up of their IER capability.

NWFR’s first vehicle was purchased from the MOD auctions at Aston Down in 1990.



WHJ 285M.

This was a Bedford / Pyrene Mark 8 Crash truck RAF registration 28AG25 re registered as WHJ285M. It was originally built as a 3 ton 4 wheel drive truck for the Ministry of Supply around 1960 – 67. Forty eight of these trucks were withdrawn from storage in 1974 and converted into Bedford / Pyrene Mark 8 Crash trucks as a stop gap for the Harrier force until introduction of the Range Rover based TACR2.

The engine and drive train were standard Bedford RL with a Weber twin carburettor added in the forlorn hope of increasing the power output of the Bedford engine. Ironically the fire pump and associated equipment in the rear compartment was powered by a Jaguar 4.2 litre 6 cylinder engine as fitted to E type Jaguars and the Scorpion light tank. This engine powered a drive belt system that in turn drove a large air blower and the 500 gallon per minute fire pump, allowing thick heavy foam to be blown onto an aircraft fire.  

In 1997 the blower system was replaced by a modern aspirated foam system.
This truck served at RAF Kemble and Chivenor and was sold to Perth airfield in July 2000.

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The groups second vehicle purchased from the MOD auctions at Aston Down in December 1997.




UAR 327Y

The group’s second vehicle, Range Rover HCB-Angus Truck Aircraft Crash Rescue
Mk 2 51AG47 re registered as UAR327Y, was purchased from Aston Down in December 1997. It was known to have served at RAF Coningsby and Carlisle. It was built in 1982 to a MOD design, based on a standard Range Rover. An extension was added to the chassis rails and a third trailing axle attached purely to support the increased gross weight of the vehicle in its fire fighting role. Powered by a standard Rover V8 petrol engine, carrying 200 gallons of pre-mixed foam, water and light rescue equipment, the vehicle was designed to transport four fire-fighters across any type of terrain to effect the fast rescue of the aircraft crew prior to the arrival of the heavier foam tenders.  

This vehicle has some interesting and alarming characteristics, which take some getting used to. Ordinary Range Rovers had a lot of body roll due to the design of the suspension. RAF drivers regularly rolled TACR2’s as of course an additional tonne of water over the back axles radically changes the centre of gravity

With funds desperately needed for the refurbishment of the Mark 10 the vehicle was sold in March 2001 to Texel Airport in the Netherlands.  

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The groups third vehicle was purchased from MOD auctions at Blackbushe in March 2000




B854 FHK

The group’s third vehicle, Reynolds Boughton RB44 Crash Truck 00KD87 re registered as B854FHK was purchased from the MOD auctions at Blackbushe in March 2000.

It was manufactured by Reynolds Boughton in 1985 for use on Army Air Corps airfields with a secondary capability for domestic and industrial use at barracks and storage depots. A small number were also used by the RAF. During service a General Motors ohv petrol V8 engine of 5736cc as fitted to the Chevrolet Corvette replaced the original Rover V8. Four crew can be carried along with breathing apparatus, rescue gear, 270 gallons of water and 30 gallons of foam compound. The foam and water can be discharged through the roof mounted monitor, hose lines from the rear mounted pump or from high pressure hose reels in the side lockers.  

This vehicle spent most of its service at the Army Air Corps airfield at Middle Wallop in Hampshire. It also saw service in Bosnia and was being prepared for use in Kosovo. Whilst awaiting shipment from Marchwood damage was discovered to the pipework after freezing weather as a result of water being left in the vehicle. Consequently it was sent for disposal.

This is one of our four operational vehicles.  

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The volunteers fourth vehicle purchased again from MOD auctions at Blackbushe in September 2000.




D486 YNO

The fourth vehicle was purchased from the MOD auctions at Blackbushe in September 2000, Scammell Mk 10B Crash Truck 04AY50 re registered as D486YNO. This type of vehicle entered service in the mid eighties at RAF and RN airfields powered by a Cummins VT 903 14.5 litre turbo charged diesel engine with an automatic gearbox. Foam or water is discharged from the roof mounted monitor or hand held sidelines. Fully laden the vehicle weighs approximately 16.5 tons. This vehicle is known to have been used at RAF St Athan and the Defence Fire Service Training School at Manston for driver training. It is currently awaiting a major rebuild when time, finances and accommodation allow.  

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This vehicle, North Weald Fire Rescue’s fifth acquisition was purchased directly from the MOD in April 2001.



DJN 837X

NWFR’s fifth acquisition, Scammel Mk 10E Crash Truck 48AJ61 re registered as DJN837X was purchased directly from the MOD in April 2001. Originally built as a Mk 10 truck in 1982 it was comprehensively re built by Simon Gloster Saro in 1995. The chassis is identical to the Mk 10B but has a normally aspirated Cummins VT903 14.5 litre engine. The early Mk 10’s had severe corrosion problems with the steel cabs so a number were re built with new aluminium cabs. This vehicle was purchased in an operational state complete with fire hoses and branches. Considerable planning both financial and operational has preceded the purchase of all our vehicles over the years. When seen at Blackbushe this vehicle was considered to be too good an opportunity to miss so an offer outside of the auction system was made, much to the delight of two bank managers and us, the MOD accepted the offer. It was disposed of via RAF Odiham after returning from Bosnia where it provided in theatre fire cover to the British Support Helicopter force. Our second of four operational vehicles.   

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The groups sixth vehicle was purchased from directly from Stansted Airport Fire Service in 2004.


G731 DDD

The groups sixth vehicle was purchased directly from Stansted Airport Fire Service in 2004, a Simon Gloster Saro Meteor Mk 2 light foam tender G731DDD, the first non military and most modern appliance yet. It arrived at North Weald in April 2004 via a spell of stand by duties at Edinburgh airport before making the long journey south.

A General Motors 8V92T Detroit Diesel V8 engine which develops 492 bhp powers this vehicle which has a gross weight of 16.9 tons. The fire pump is a Godiva UMPX Mk 50 capable of delivering 500 gpm. It has a water tank capacity of 600 gallons and a foam tank capacity of 80 gallons. Water or foam delivery is via a bumper mounted monitor with a range of 120 feet plus two side lines and a high pressure hose reel.  

Breathing apparatus and light rescue equipment is also carried on this appliance. Although big powerful and fast it is also the most costly vehicle to own and operate.

Sadly we had to sell her in May 2013 but she went to a good home.  

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The Seventh  acquisition to the North Weald Fire Rescue Fleet was a Tactical Aircraft Crash Rescue

Mark 2 with a difference.



B332 MPF

The Eighth addition to North Weald Fire Rescue Fleet

Carmichael -TACR 2 6X6

3.5 LTR Petrol V8 Engine

Crew of 2 Light Rescue Equipment

990 litres of Walter  136 litres AFFF Foam (Sererate Tanks)

2 X 38mm 100 ft Side Lines

Short Extension Ladder

25kg Dry Powder Perren Unit - 18kg Monnex - 5kg Co2

First Aid Equipment and Stretcher

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The Ninth addition to North Weald Fire Rescue Fleet


2.5 LTR Diesel Engine D22

Crew of  2 Light & Powered Rescue Equipment

650 litres Water 35 litres AFFF Foam

1 X 38mm 75ft Hose Line

Short Extension Combination Ladder

18kg Monnex - 5kg CO2 -  4kgDry Powder & BCF Extinguishers

First Aid - Defibrillator  & Stretcher 

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Aviation & Event Fire Cover

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