Emsworth's first female firefighter from 1917: RETRO

Nowadays more and more occupations are being opened up to women that were previously the preserve of men.

By Bob Hind
Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 5:31 pm
No sex discrimination back in 1917 when Mabel Silver took the reins of the fire-engine horses. Photo: S Cribb / Barry Cox collection.
No sex discrimination back in 1917 when Mabel Silver took the reins of the fire-engine horses. Photo: S Cribb / Barry Cox collection.

Take a look at the picture, above, of a woman driving a horse-drawn fire engine way back in 1917.

This proves indeed that ladies could do any job the men could.

Mabel Silver is taking the reins of the Emsworth Fire Brigade horse drawn fire engine – and doesn’t she look the part?

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The epitaph to Lt. Lushington in the former St Andrews Church.

Mabel was the daughter of Farmer Silver whose premises were in North Street, Emsworth, and the horses were his property.

Barry Cox tells me she was on her way to a fire in Horndean.

Over the past few weeks I have mentioned Captain Gilbert Vernon Wildman-Lushington, Royal Marine, whose grave is in Christchurch churchyard, Widley.

Andy August contacted me to say there was a memorial window erected in the former Royal Marines Church, St Andrew’s, in Henderson Road, Eastney. It was paid for by his fellow officers.

May 1947, and the deckchair attendants have little to do. Photo: The News archive

After the marines moved out of the barracks the church was converted into apartments.

Was the memorial window retained? It has the outline of Gideon with an epitaph, below. I would like to photograph it.

At the time of his death, Wildman-Lushington was engaged to Miss Airlie Hynes of Southsea to whom Winston Churchill wrote to express his sympathy at her loss.

The burial of Captain Wildman-Lushington was held on December 5, 1913 at Christ Church, Portsdown Hill. Winston Churchill sent a wreath of laurel, tuber roses and Madonna lilies, and inscribed in his own hand, ‘In deepest regret for a gallant officer of achievement and promise, from Winston S Churchill.’

The escort carrier HMS Campania which was on station at the first British atomic bomb test in 1952.

In May, 1947, the council was expecting a sunny weekend and had hundreds of deckchairs ready to hire in Southsea. The attendants were dressed in uniform, complete with peaked caps.

As can be seen, below, the best place to be was sheltered against the stacked chairs.

On October 3, 1952, Britain’s first atomic bomb test took place in the Monte Bello Islands, off the Australian west coast. The escort carrier HMS Campania, river class frigate HMS Plym, and four landing craft, left Portsmouth on June 2, 1952 for the test site. The bomb was detonated below the waterline in HMS Plym, in part to determine the consequences of a bomb coming to a British port in a merchant vessel.

Departing Portsmouth on June 2, 1952, Campania was the command ship for the trial called Operation Hurricane.

Are there any survivors of the cruise to Australia for the bomb testing? Did you suffer any health defects after the detonation?