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Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Civil Defence Association


George Cross

Auxiliary Fire Service

The post-war Auxiliary Fire Service, re-established in 1949 under the Civil Defence Act 1948, was equipped with several types of firefighting appliances, including Hose Layers, Pipe Carriers, Ramps, Dams & Hose Carriers, Control Units and Transportable Water Units - known as Bikini Units - which carried rubber rafts with portable pumps, for both pumping and propulsion, to supply water and for use when land approaches were difficult. However, the vehicle most closely associated in the public mind with the AFS is the famous 'Green Goddess' Emergency Pump, based on 1950's Bedford R and S chassis. This appliance, which was retained in store for many years following the 1968 AFS disbandment, later appeared to provide fire cover during fire service industrial disputes, as a water carrier during large moorland fires and for flood pumping duties. They were finally withdrawn in 2005 and a number sold to the public and abroad. The post-war AFS was organised to operate in self-contained Mobile Columns for movement to areas subject to potential enemy attack during the Cold War.