11 Jan Fireboats Silver Fox and Mullion – Book end discovery
We were recently contacted by a gentleman called Terry who owns a unique set of book ends claiming to be made from wood taken off two NFS fireboats, Silver Fox and Mullion.
This was of course an intriguing story and one our archiving team were keen to follow up, not hearing of fireboats Silver Fox and Mullion before. To add to the intrigue the book ends have a hidden note inside them explaining where the wood came from! It reads:
“This wood was part of 2 fire boats Silver Fox and Mullion used by the NFS to fight the fires of London in the Battle of Britain 1940 – 1941.”
“Here in Poole, the original fire boat was called Flame, when a semi submerged boat was found drifting outside the harbour, they towed it ashore, repaired it and added it to their ‘fleet’. It was believed to be one of the boats used for the Dunkirk evacuation, unfortunately nobody knows what happened to it after the war.”
Bill from our archiving team took a look into any references to the two vessels and found the following information:
A NFS list c.1944/45 shows “Silver Fox” as a Transport Workshops Tender No. 173 based at Holehaven, in the Thames Estuary, probably acquired by the NFS in 1942, but Mullion is not listed. Both vessels would have been private vessels acquired and converted by the NFS.
However, “Floating Fire Engines” by Geoff Cooper, probably the definitive book on fireboats, lists Silver Fox as a RTF fireboat detached to Southampton and, later, Weymouth in 1944 before returning to London. Similarly, “Mullion ” is shown as having been re-assigned from London to Shoreham in 1944, later returning to London. Both vessels were among a number of NFS fireboats based on the South Coast in preparation for D-Day in 1944.
Share your stories and memorabilia!
As you can see, working with members of the public who may own unique pieces of history can open up a wealth of information about our past. This is a prime goal of our archiving team to collate details of London fireboats and others to share the important part they played in wartime history.
If you have stories from a relative, or pieces of artwork, documents, plans that relate to Massey Shaw or any fireboat, please get in touch!