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Fire Drill Competitions 1917

The Lancaster Guardian, April 7, 1917


Fire Drill Competitions

Interesting Presentations

In connection with the Lancaster troops of Boy Scouts, a highly interesting series of competitions, coupled with an exhibition in life-saving was given in the Parade-room at the Town Hall on Saturday evening. The boys had been trained in fire-drill by Mr. R. H. Simpson*, engineer to the Lancaster Fire Brigade, and proved their efficiency in various drills, both juniors and seniors accomplishing very smart performances in hydrant and hose drills, dressing-races, etc. Perhaps the most interest was aroused by the dressing-races, in which each competitor had to halt at a given distance to don some part of his clothing, finishing up by carrying an apparently injured scout to safety.

The competition was exceedingly close, especially in the hydrant drills, and the fact that there were very few mishaps was a tribute to the thoroughness of the instruction given.

A feature of the programme was an exhibition in fire-drill and life-saving given by Scouts Horner, Hodgson, Barnes, and Isherwood, which included the rescue of a child from a burning building. The fire had to be imagined, but the drill was very smartly accomplished. The District Commissioner (Mr. W. Garnett D.L.) presided, supported by the Mayor and Mayoress (Mr. and Mrs. W. Briggs) Coun. C. F. Seward, Coun. E. Cardwell, J.P., Rev. T. Allcock, Rev. J. H. Dawson and Mrs. Dawson, Mr. and Mrs. T. D. Wright etc. The arrangements were carried out by a Committee, comprising Chief Constable Harries, Messrs. R. E. Wright, W. Douthwaite, L. Horner, J. Barnes, O. Cowin, and R. H. Simpson ; the Mayor officiated as judge; and Inspector Wearing as timekeeper. The results were as follows :

Two men hydrant drill (juniors)-1st St . Peter ‘s (Proctor and Holden), time 22 secs. ; 2nd, 4th Wesley (A. Isherwood and E. Wilson), 23 3/5 secs.
Dressing race (juniors)- 1st E. Wilson, 2nd H. Taylor, 3rd R. Parker, all 4th Wesley.
Two men hydrant drill (Scout firemen)- 1st, 4th Wesley (E. Isherwood and J. Bishop), time 32 secs. ; 2nd St. Peter’s (Horner and Pedder), 33 secs.
Three men hydrant drill (senior)—1st, 4th Wesley (Shenton, Burton, and McKnight), time 32 secs. ; 2nd, Parish Church (Whipp, Jackson, and Carradus), 34-2/5 secs.
Three men hydrant, and rescue drill (juniors) -1st St. Peter’s (Proctor, Holden, and Parkinson), time 19-3/5 secs. ; 2nd, 4th Wesley (Kitson, Brown, and Derrick), 20-2/5 secs.
Two men hydrant drill (seniors)-1st Parish Church (Jackson and Wearing), time 22-2/5 secs. ; 2nd, 4th Wesley (Butterworth and McKnight), 27 Secs.
Four men hydrant drill (Scout firemen)-1st Horner, Pedder (St. Peter’s), Isherwood, Bishop (4th Wesley), time 22-3/5 secs. ; 2nd Barnes (St. Peter’s), Cowin (Parish), Brown and Webster (4th Wesley), 23 3/5 secs. One man hydrant drill (Scout firemen)-1st St. Peter’s (Horner), 41-4/5 secs. ; 2nd, 4th Wesley (E. Isherwood), 43 secs.; 3rd St. Peter’s (Pedder), 46 secs.

At the close the prizes were gracefully presented by the MAYORESS.

The DISTRICT COMMISSIONER heartily congratulated the Scouts upon the interesting and thoroughly good work they had accomplished in fire drill. They were greatly indebted to Mr. Simpson. As District Commissioner he had known for some time the work Mr. Simpson had been doing for the Scouts in Lancaster and neighbourhood. No one could have thrown themselves more heartily into the work of instructing them than he had done, and the public of Lancaster, as well as the Scouts, owed him a deep debt of gratitude for what, he had done, without the idea of reward or getting anything out of it. For about three years he had spent three nights per week in giving them instruction in the rudiments of fire drill. It was suggested to him (the Commissioner) that something should be done for Mr. Simpson, and he certainly agreed that his services deserved recognition. There was a special medal only given by the Chief Scout to people who had done really good work for the movement, and therefore he wrote to General Baden Powell about it. When the Chief Scout heard what Mr. Simpson had done he kindly sent down a medal to Mr. Simpson, with a message of hearty congratulation on the way he had spent himself for the benefit of the Scouts. (Applause.)

The MAYORESS presented the medal to Mr. Simpson, who was also the recipient of a present from the Scouts, and who briefly thanked the Scouts for their gift, expressed his appreciation of the attention given by them to his instruction, and also to their indebtedness to Chief Constable Harries, who had taken great interest in the movement, and lent them the apparatus.

*Robert Henry Simpson was born 1869 in Sheffield.

In 1901 his address is 24 Roseberry Avenue, Lancaster – his occupation is Mechanic (Water Valves & Hot Water).

In 1911 he was living at 2 Springfield Street, Lancaster with wife Florence and 3 children. He lists his occupation as Assistant to Weights & Measures Inspector, Lancaster Corporation.


The DISTRICT COMMISSIONER said a great many Scouts, who had only recently joined, might not realise how much the Scout movement owed the gentlemen by whose efforts it was started in Lancaster at a time when it was not looked upon with favour by the public, who did not realise that it was one of the best movements ever brought into existence for our young people. Mr. Beeton, an enthusiastic Scout, was one of the promoters, organising the R.G.S. troop, which had since been merged into another corps; and he had a confrere who was equally enthusiastic, by whose untiring efforts, even against stone-throwing and mud flinging and much opposition, the movement had got such a grip upon the life of Lancaster. Instead of one troop, as they had then, they had now in the town and district ten or eleven troops, not all of them in full going order, but containing the nucleus of what would, he hoped, prove to be thoroughly efficient troops. The Secretary (Mr. R. E. Wright), had gone up and down the district, organising and giving his advice on the formation of troops, and they saw the fruit of his labours in the success of the movement. At the time he wrote to the Chief Scout about Mr. Simpson, he also asked for a medal for Mr. Wright, and the Chief Scout had forwarded the medal with a similar personal message of congratulation upon what Mr. Wright had done for the Scouts.

The MAYORESS presented the medal to Mr. Wright, who briefly acknowledged the gift.

Thanks were accorded to the Mayoress on the call of Councillors SEWARD and CARDWELL