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90-year-old to host reunion

PUBLISHED: 16:04 16 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:28 03 March 2010

MANY would be put off the idea of organising a first reunion nearly 60 years after leaving a job, but not war veteran Bill Read.

While he admits it might be a long shot, Bill, of Martin Road Ipswich, and now aged 90, is keen to arrange a meeting of fire-fighters who served in the Ipswich fire service during the war.

MANY would be put off the idea of organising a first reunion nearly 60 years after leaving a job, but not war veteran Bill Read.

While he admits it might be a long shot, Bill, of Martin Road Ipswich, and now aged 90, is keen to arrange a meeting of firefighters who served in the Ipswich fire service during the war.

He served as an Ipswich firefighter between 1939 and 1945.

He says that the idea came to him at the recent funeral of a wartime colleague.

"I'd expected to meet other fire men and women there" he said "but I was the only one."

Bill remembers his time in the fire service in a matter of fact way, and said: "We were all good buddies and we knuckled down and did what we had to do" he said.

He also remembers a sense of great comradeship in what could be, at times, a difficult and dangerous job.

He said: "We all looked out for each other and if you were in charge of a crew like I was, you had to make sure of their safety".

Old comrades have become harder to find in recent years though.

Bill has lost touch with many and is aware that many more have passed away.

A recent slot on BBC Radio Suffolk uncovered one old colleague, Jimmy Andrews aged 89. But with seven sub-stations in operation during the war in the Ipswich area, each staffed by 20-25 firefighters Bill is sure that there must be others out there.

At present, Bill hasn't set a date or booked a venue for a reunion, preferring to wait on numbers first.

He said: "You never know who might be out there. Even if there aren't many of us around it would be interesting to see who turned up."

If you served on the Ipswich fire service during the war, or are in touch with, or know about, anyone who did you can contact Bill on 01473 413250.

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