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1952 Leyland Comet/Wendover Water Tender
Fire Engine Photos
No: 8477   Contributor: Pete Matten   Year: 2008   Manufacturer: Leyland   Country: United Kingdom
1952 Leyland Comet/Wendover Water Tender

This compact appliance served the Surrey Fire Brigade and was stationed at Sutton Fire Station from 1952 until 1967 before moving into the London Fire Brigade during the re-organisation of county boundaries in 1965.One of a batch of six bought by Surrey in 1951-52,it has a Leyland Comet chassis,with Wendover bodywork and firefighting equipment including a 100 gallon water tank.These machines were mainly used to back-up the larger pump escapes on fire stations.Only one of the origanal six Leyland Comets stayed with the Surrey Fire Brigade after 1965,that was the one at the station in Egham.
Picture added on 09 June 2008
add commentComments:
I think the bodybuilder was called Windover, they were based in hendon and also built buses. There is also a reference to this company on the ROMAR fire service history website.

Added by Petros on 11 June 2008.
Thanks Petros, I'm sure your right.The photo is mine, the information comes from many sources, one said Windover, the other said Wendover.I had'nt heard of this company anyway so was'nt sure.Thanks for correcting this.

Added by Pete Matten on 11 June 2008.
Windover bodied Leyland Comet's purchased by Surrey are as follows.

1951 PPL 870 Wimbledon
1952 RPF 60 Guildford?
1952 RPG 21 Mitcham
1952 RPG 22 Sutton
1952 RPM 122 Richmond
1952 RPH 151 Sutton
1952 RPH 152 Richmond

All ended their days in the GLC.

Added by Andrew Middleton on 09 January 2010.
Kent Fire Brigade used the Leyland Comet extensively, several to my
knowledge were used by London Fire Brigade after their 'take-over' of Stations such as Beckenham, Bromley, Sidcup, Orpington - their 45foot alloy ladder being too fast in use and showing-up the slower (London) Escape ! Nevertheless, "progress" could not be stopped and all such ladders were replaced with Escapes in due course!! Sorry about the rant......

Added by Michael W Davies on 18 July 2011.
Teesside ex Middlesbrough now Cleveland had one of these also.

Added by Barrie Green on 19 July 2011.
Glasgow City Fire Service utilised two as well. JUS 783 at Springburn and JUS 784 at Parkhead.

Added by Andrew Middleton on 19 July 2011.
The Middlesbrough one was BXG600 and was a Water Tender with Winover bodywork new in 1950, and alas! long gone. I think it was withdrawn around 1968/9 at about the time of the formation of Teesside fire brigade. Am sure theres a rear view pic of it in colour and a frontal view in black and white somewhere on this site.

Added by Chris Hall on 19 July 2011.
Hi if you look at picture #15746, this is the rear of Middlesbrough/Teesside Leyland

Added by Ian Mcpherson on 20 July 2011.
I was stationed at Mitcham (Surrey)in the 1960s and remember RPG 21 as the appliance I hated to drive. It was the slowest of our 2 appliances (the other being a Rolls Dennis). You were lucky to get it up to 30mph.If you did a slow gear change and then accelerate hard the engine would backfire which used to cause great alarm to passers by.

Added by Barry Fairfax on 07 December 2011.
Birmingham Fire & Ambulance Service had one as a dual purpose Pump (capable of carrying a 50ft escape)in the 1960's. Used for driver training in my days. Very slow tick-over, so engine must have been large capacity, petroldriven of course.

Added by Tony Madsen on 24 February 2013.
My records show that Surrey bought six Leyland Comet pumps and these were deployed as follows:
Training Centre RPF 60
Richmond RPH 152
Wimbledon PPL 870
Mitcham RPG 21
New Malden RPH 121
Sutton RPG 22
As a young lad I saw Sutton's applinace used in anger on many occasions and once, in spite of its reputation as a gutless performer I did once see Mitcham's Comet screaming along Sutton's High Street as they attended a "make-up".

Added by Michael Bissett-Powell on 25 February 2013.
Middlesborough's Third Officer once told me that their Comet BXG 600 was their "first and last" post-war Leyland, as it just did not compare to its Dennis stablemates. At the time of my visit, they were running an F7, an F12, their famous one-off "bubble-top" F15, a prewar Leyland-Merryweather TL and an old Braidwood Leyland pump, which had been locally converted to a searchlight unit.

He did not specify why they disliked the Comet so much, but made the point that Leyland's postwar efforts just did not compare to what the brigade had become accustomed to with their prewar appliances. I am pretty sure he and his members would not have wept many tears to see the last of it!

Added by Rob Johnson on 26 February 2013.
The F15 is actually an F12 Rob......contrary to much discussion and is a Water Tender with a 400gal tank and on the face of it..should be a F15.....but it is defiantly a F12 !!! I have driven both that and the Comet (which certainly was not the best vehicle I have ever driven !!!

Added by Barrie Green on 26 February 2013.

I guess you should know! By the way, were all these units fully manned, or did crews switch around between them, seeing that the low cab F 12 water tender was not needed as such - unless it was responding to the area where its low height was a prerequisite?

Added by Rob Johnson on 20 February 2018.
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