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Bedford MSZ, 1939, APR 679

Ordered by the Wareham Urban District Council in Dorset in late 1939, this Bedford MSZ was one of the first vehicles to use this chassis that was only launched in the autumn of 1939.

Built on a 10ft wheelbase, it is powered by a 27hp Bedford straight-six petrol engine with a 4-speed gearbox and single dry-plate clutch to a fully floating rear axle with spiral bevel final drive. The servo-assisted Lockheed hydraulic brakes operate on all four wheels.

The 'Braidwood style' bodywork was built by Superline Bodies of Sugar Lane, Bermondsey, London SE and it was originally fitted with a Pulsometer 1,000gpm pump but this was subsequently changed after World War II to a Dennis Number 2 pump.

The Bedford remained with the Wareham Fire Brigade and although no records of its wartime service exist, it is highly likely that it saw action in one of the towns or cities badly affected during the Blitz of 1940.

In April 1941, the Wareham brigade became part of the National Fire Service and was then amalgamated in 1948 into the Dorset Fire Brigade with the Bedford becoming part of the county's fire appliance fleet.

From 1964 until 1967 it was loaned to the National Trust to provide fire cover for Brownsea Island. On retirement from active service, it passed to enthusiasts from Burlesdon who owned it until 1988 when it was purchased by Colin Mockett of West End.

Ten years later it became part of the heritage fire engine collection owned by renowned preservationist Mick Paull of Odiham who fully restored the appliance.

Following Mick's tragic passing, it became part of the Wessex Fire and Rescue Heritage Collection in 2020.

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