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1938 Leyland Pump Escape BDY508
Fire Engine Photos
No: 12220   Contributor: Bob Graham   Year: 2008   Manufacturer: Leyland   Country: United Kingdom
1938 Leyland Pump Escape BDY508

The third 1938 Leyland from Hastings is the Pump Escape, which was the way it was referred to in its early days. It would be interesting to know how many of these interesting machines were delivered by Leyland; it was available with or without doors, and it seems that one didn't have to travel far in the UK to find one in those days; many continued as First Response units for over a quarter of a century; I took these photos in either 1965 or 1966, so it may well have served for a full 30 years. Younger people may not be aware that this type of fire truck was built during what is known as Art Deco period: in the US and UK.everything was made to look futuristic and "Cool" , thus the rakish rear bodywork treatment; there were actually several versions of limousine-style available, examples of which are seen in this site.
The pumper, built on the LT3 chassis sported a six-cylinder petrol engine of 50 R.A.C. rating developing 115 bhp. According to the Leyland catalog it could carry a crew of 11---wow!; the pump was the standard for this series, 700gpm.
Picture added on 08 November 2008
add commentComments:
What should also be added is that the above shot shows it in its later days, as it was originally built as an open Braidwood machine.
I do have a picture of it in this guise, but it's not my copyright.

Added by Ian Moore on 09 November 2008.
"Way Cool, Man" - that is some rig. And, back in 1938, too.

I dearly hope, that she, or a sister, is safely in preservation somewhere - what a combination of form, with function, in such good body-work.

Now, as to her fire-crew; that had to ride [and be seen] in this rig, what were their thoughts ? Probably tend more to the Functional, rather than Artistic Merit, and maybe some Profanity - I bet that there was a suitably evocative nick-name for her.......

As to wedging 11 bods in - well, I can see 3 jammed in front; and 3 in back [rear-facing? bench seat] and 1 standing in each entrance, hanging on to the handle, for 4 more. Total of 10.....

So, do any of our Knowledgable Readers have stories of them/family members riding this remarkable rig; operations, or, even just seeing her in the neighborhood ?

Regards, from Canada,

Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 09 November 2008.
Hello All - me, again;

Bob Graham has posted his pictures of this remarkable 1938 Leyland Fire-Truck trio at Hastings, UK., viz:

1938 Leyland Pump - Limousine - BDY 509 Picture # 12182
1938 Leyland Pump Escape - Art Deco body Picture # 12220 (here!) and
Picture # 12163(in back-ground, at the station)
1938 Leyland Metz TTL [Aerial] Picture # 12124 and # 12163

They are a bit scattered on this 'Site, but well worth seeing as a Fire Station trio.


Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 09 November 2008.
Pat_R-B again;

Hello All;

Bob Graham has posted his other pictures of this remarkable 1938 Leyland Fire-Truck TRIO at Hastings, UK., viz:

1938 Leyland Pump - Limousine - BDY 509 Picture # 12182
1938 Leyland Pump Escape - Art Deco body Picture # 12220 [HERE] and
picture #12163 (in back-ground, at the station)
1938 Leyland Metz TTL [Aerial] Picture # 12124 and # 12163

Worth seeing....

Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 09 November 2008.
I'd like to ask oldtimer Ian Moore, (Hi Ian). When did the complete re-build take place, and why? As you've undoubtedly seen far more of this design(apparently the Blackpool was one of the early limousines as its photo is in the LEYLAND catalogue of 1936) And too, the other two rigs, BDY507 and BDY 509
were licensed sequentially, or was it possible in the UK to re-license vehicles
keep on snapping the shutter, Ian.

Added by Bob Graham on 09 November 2008.
Another classic Bob, thanks for sharing the trio from Hastings
Fire Brigade with us.Truly brilliant, Pete.

Added by Pete Matten on 09 November 2008.
Hi Bob,
Yes, old age has well and truly caught up with me now !
All I can say as regards the rebuild of BDY 508 is that it was pre-1963, since that's when I was sent both the "open and closed" pictures of it !
I agree that it's similar to the Blackpool one, and indeed, it may have been converted by Leyland themselves. As to the reason for its conversion, I can only think that it was to make it look more modern, and also to enhance its life. Coming to your question of re-licensing vehicles, it was very rarely done in those days, and the BDY 507/508/509 trio were the original plates issued in this case. Take Care.

Added by Ian Moore on 10 November 2008.
Ian, is there any chance you can get copyright permission to post the pic of her in original condition, thanks.

Added by Pav on 14 November 2008.
Well I can put your mind at rest. Here is the story:...Flipping hell, I have just found a picture of the Leyland Fire Engine my father built in the 1940s-50s. He was Sussex Fire Brigade Engineer during World War II right through until he retired in the 1960s. After the war he was based at workshops at Hasting's Marina Court.
When he died in the 1990s he had a two Fire Engine guard of honour and his coffin was draped in the Sussex Fire Brigade flag. After his funeral this old chap came up to me whom I had never met before and said in the 1940s he designed the first conversion to convert (what at that time were only open deck fire engines) into covered ones. He turned up at the Sussex Fire Brigade HQ for a meeting with the Chief and my father present. Anyway the Chief said that the brigade couldn't afford to have it converted but leave the plans and we will look into it. After the chap had gone he asked my Dad if he could do it, and Dad of course said yes. Here is the result, a masterpiece and as far as I know the only one. Anyway the old chap at the funeral said although my Dad had done him out of a job, he respected him so much for the beautiful job he made and a testament to own design that he felt it only right he should attend his funeral. I was flabbergasted and so impressed by the man's good will. I was very proud of my father as also as he worked on the Napier Schneider Trophy winning engine as well. A tribute to a great engineer. So the answer to your question is none... As far as I know when he retired they had no-one to maintain it any more and it went to a scrapman in Heathfield (I think). Anyway I rang him quite a few years ago and he said that it had gone to ruin so they eventually scrapped it. I would love to hear otherwise but alas I fear not....

Added by Greg Smith on 14 October 2018.
Greg, I too have just found this photo. My Dad, Tom Bolt was also in the Hastings brigade and we lived next door to you and your family. I remember my dad saying Mr Smith had built that appliance and he went on to adept and build many other things for the brigade. I remember too the Triumph car he renovated. He was a very clever man. Nice to hear from you and hope you are well.

Added by Richard Bolt on 18 March 2019.
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