NOSTALGIA: The Green Goddesses – always ready for firefighting

Green Goddess fire engines parked in Duisburg Way, Southsea, possibly 1977

I know this photograph, below, might seem somewhat boring but I was wondering about the former Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) fire engines lined up along Duisburg Way.

Some little boys seem to be somewhat impressed by them.

No radio, one ladder and not good on sharp corners but a saviour, a Green Goddess

I know the photograph was taken before the storm of 1987 as the tree on the corner was taken out by it.

I wonder if they could have been on stand-by for when the Fire Brigade Union called a strike in 1977 and the army was called in as reserves?

Compared to modern fire engines – or should I say firefighting appliances? – it was like comparing HMS Victory to the new HMS Queen Elizabeth, but they did the job, of sorts.

In 2004 the government empowered fire brigades to allow their firefighting equipment to be used by stand-in forces.

Compared to modern fire engines – or should I say firefighting appliances? – it was like comparing HMS Victory to the new HMS Queen Elizabeth, but they did the job, of sorts.

The 50-year-old machines were then sold off to developing countries and restoration bodies.

n I was watching a programme on new discoveries about the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence – The Great Pyramid of Giza.

It reminded me of something my late father told me.

He served in Alexandria and Port Said in the Second World War with government and Portsmouth Dockyard employees.

Silent, no pollution, no fumes and cheap to run. Why did we get rid of them? A trolleybus passing the White House pub in Milton (Tony Belton)

During the four years he was there he visited the pyramids several times.

He told me that back then there was desert between Cairo and Giza. Today the area has been built on.

He also told me that the Great Pyramid is so vast that if a golf ball was struck from the very top it would not land in the sand at the base but bounce once or twice before doing so. I wonder if anyone can verify this?

Perhaps it’s possible for it to land without bouncing with new equipment.

Lord Louis Mountbatten Credit: PA Wire

n There has been much in the news recently about the ending manufacture of vehicles with diesel and petrol engines and the making of all cars into electric traction.

When you think of the wonderful trolleybus system that once ran around Portsea Island it is clear to me that doing away with the buses was a big mistake.

Silent and with no fumes or pollution, the trolleybus must be the answer to modern town planning.

Forty-three countries still have trolleybuses in operation and with the ever-increasing traffic build-up in the city surely it would be a good idea to think about replacing diesel buses before it becomes far too expensive?

n Isn’t it time the cenotaph alongside the Guildhall was opened up to the public again?

In the early 1970s the memorial was blocked off by the building of the northern part of the civic offices and a pub.

I am reliably informed that the part of the offices in front of the memorial are no longer in use, so why not demolish it?

I am sure it would please many, especially those who can remember the site as it once was, to open it up to full view once again.

With the centenary of the end of the First World War in November 2018 it would be a marvellous gesture from the city council.


With many former matelots living in the area this little anecdote will bring a smile to their faces.

In 1904, the battleship HMS Bulwark was anchored in Malta’s Grand Harbour and the Commander-inChief, Compton Domville, was to receive Prince Louis

of Battenburg on board.

Prince Louis, pictured, was a very tall man, 6ft 5in. The C-in-C was very short, 5ft 4in. Domville shook hands with Battenberg and then went to give him a congratulatory pat on the back.

Being so short the pat was placed on part of Battenberg’s person usually reserved for a caning from a headmaster.

In his book ‘The Sky Was Always Blue’ Admiral James writes: ‘The sailors manning the side who piped Prince Louis on board, saw what happened and had a devil of a job a job holding back their smiles.’

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