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1957 Bedford AAL Water Tender.
Fire Engine Photos
No: 22081   Contributor: Pete Matten   Year: 2009   Manufacturer: Bedford   Country: United Kingdom
1957 Bedford AAL Water Tender.

This appliance is a 1957 Bedford AAL Water Tender in preservation which I photographed at the Odiham Fire Show in 2009.Its an Ex-Suffolk and Ipswich Water Tender presently owned by Tim Greagsby of Sevenoaks in Kent.
Sorry,I have no further information on this appliance only what was provided in the Fire Show programme from last years show,also,I was unable to speak to anyone for further information so cannot add anything else.
I'm sure someone though might like to add something more to this picture,such as the appliances history,etc,if known.
Picture added on 08 February 2010 at 00:31
add commentComments:
Ye I will find out for you Pete

Added by JIM HEMSLEY on 08 February 2010.
Formerly based at Hadleigh in Suffolk, then Greene King Brewery Bury St Edmunds.

Added by SFES on 08 February 2010.
Anyway, more info, WBJ90 was one of three similar appliances delivered to the Suffolk and Ipswich Fire Service in 1957; WBJ88 was the first low height appliance stationed at Needham Market, transferred to Stradbroke in late 1960's and replaced by A TK/HCB-Angus in the mid1970's; WBJ89 went to Long Melford, and then on to Westgate Brewery at Bury-St-Edmunds in 1977, sold by Greene, King and Son to a stables complex in Cambridgeshire; WBJ90 was allocated new to the new Hadleigh fire station in 1957. Stayed in the town until replaced by the ubiquitous Bedford TK/HCB-Angus combination. She was used (allegedly) as a driver training/reserve appliance until sold, along with WBJ89, to the Westgate Brewery Fire Brigade at Bury. Sold out of service but operated in "Air Products" livery until bought by me in 2002. Though presentable, she still needs some tidying and can be difficult to drive. Based on the A4L chassis the bodywork (all alloy) is by Carmichael's of Worcester and has a Dennis No.2 Pump. WBJ88 was last heard of at an Ipswich breakers yard, does it still exist? WBJ89 hasn't been seen for a while, does she still exist? So does this make "90" a unique appliance? Will try to submit some further photographs.

Added by Tim Greagsby on 05 April 2010.
Thanks for the extra details Tim.We spoke briefly at Odiham back in 2008,but I didn't see you in 2009 only the appliance so couldn't get anymore information.
This appliance is also shown on picture #22822 kindly sent in by Tim(present owner)Greagsby taken a few years ago.

Added by Pete Matten on 08 April 2010.
I would be very interested in what happened to WBJ89 if anyone has any information. This was the appliance that was stationed at Long Melford and the fire engine of which I grew up with. I would love to know what happened to her. The call sign was always Bravo 89 Bravo meaning B division, 8 for Long Melford and 9 meaning it was a water tender, 35ft ladder.

Added by Ivan Cadge on 07 August 2013.
WBJ 89 was sold by Westgate Brewery Fire Brigade in 1984, along with "90". Whilst "90" went into preservation, "89" was sold to a stables/equestrian centre in Essex to be used as fire cover for the site. I have one photo of "89" but no further information. The suspicion is that it no longer survives........but it could just be sitting in a barn somewhere waiting to be rediscovered.

Added by Tim Greagsby on 08 August 2013.
Thanks Tim....it would be nice to track down the farm and see if the old pump could be traced. I have so many memories of it when it was on the run at Long Melford. I did see it once at Westgate Brewery. Best wishes


Added by Ivan Cadge on 08 August 2013.
Was the A4L originally intended to be a bus chassis? There were lots of Bedford RL, S and J series used to build fire appliances, but this A series seems a bit rare.

But it did offer a four door layout like the contemporary Commer and Dennis chassis, as well as the later very popular TK series, which seems to have been an advantage.

Added by Rob Johnson on 31 July 2017.
The final specification of the bodywork was often decided by the Chief Officer, with consideration to the options offered by the body builder. I doubt Bedford especially designed this chassis specifically with a four door fire engine cab in mind!

Added by Michael G on 10 August 2017.
Michael - The bodybuilder has to work within the design parameters of the chassis. So, if the front axle is not set far enough back from the front of the chassis frame, the body cannot incorporate a front door with step access in front of the door - which makes access and egress much easier than relying on a step ring.

Some AEC pumps and aerials for London and a few other brigades were indeed modified like this by Merryweather and Haydon, but usually bodybuilders did not modify chassis. One exception was HCB Angus, which also converted
several J series to forward control - even after the TK was already widely being used by fire services.

I guess my question is whether the Bedford AL series came with a chassis option to build this unit like this, or did Carmichael rework it?

Bus chassis have been used for fire appliances quite often in several different countries. One reason is that postwar designs offered very good access for the driver and OIC in front of the axle, resulting in addition to a shorter wheelbase and improved maneuverability as a plus factor. In fact, the Leyland Firemaster was exactly that - a bus chassis specially modified by the manufacturer to serve as a fire appliance chassis, offering exceptional crew access as one of its selling features.

Added by Rob Johnson on 11 August 2017.
Rob yes I know all that. As I eluded to in my first post, the final options are limited by the chassis / body builder and the options they can offer.

Added by Michael G on 15 August 2017.
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