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© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

The Great War Centenary 1917 - Exhibition

Boomtown - From Front Line to White Lund

Help came from far and wide

White Lund had its own Fire Brigade and the site was fitted with hydrants and sprinkler systems along its runways although these had to be turned on manually. The Works Fire Brigade of 30 men were well drilled. Even so, the scale of the emergency was soon overwhelming. Lancaster’s Fire Brigade and those from the Asylum (later the Moor Hospital) and Morecambe voluntary service also attended on 1st October but they could never have contained the blaze.

Lancaster Corporation's Fire Engine
Accession Number: LM1996-16-1

By pooling manpower, machinery and expertise the site was finally declared safe in the morning of 4th October. Fire fighters had worked solidly and bravely despite the challenges of poor water pressure, some incompatible equipment and the lack of electricity.

Reports from Chief Constable Pringle (Blackpool) and Second Officer Sloan (Manchester) give detailed insight into the work of all the Fire Brigades at the scene. Copies of these documents can be seen in the ‘Find Out More’ folders.

Not surprisingly, some of the firemen were awarded well deserved gallantry awards for their level headed, brave and unflinching service in this dangerous assignment.

Many firemen commented on the burning timbers and felt these had ignited shells. Much of the site had been constructed from light materials so any blasts would not cause injuries from falling masonry.

After the inquest for the dead was held at the Albert Hall in Morecambe on 9th October 1917, the jury directed the Coroner, Major Wilson DSO, to send on their views to the Ministry of Munitions:

‘That if the Factory is rebuilt radiating exits should be provided. That all gates be made to open both ways without obstruction. That arrangements be made for efficient cut-offs in the runways. That all buildings be supplied with sprinklers and they all be automatic. That as little wood, or other inflammable material, as possible be used for constructional purposes.

A range of fire services arrived on 2nd October.
Some had contacted Lancaster Police and
others were telephoned by Vickers in Barrow.
Some had travelled very long distances to assist;
all worked tirelessly to fight the fires:

Fulwood (Preston)
Vickers’ Ltd works fire brigade, Barrow
Horrocks, Crewdson & Co works fire brigade, Preston



© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

© 2017 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum