1 Pump Retained.


1931  Garage on the Top or Upper Green belonging to Jock Sinclair (butcher)           Photo
1941   Deanfoot Road (garage at rear of Russell the bakers)                                           Photo
1946  Gordon Arms Garage
1948 Fire Station, WEST LINTON. ???
24/11/1956 Main Street, WEST LINTON. EH46 7EE.                                                                 Photo




James Henry Walter

1959? to 1973?

Sub Officer Richard Walter (son of James Henry Walter)

1974? to 1981?

Sub Officer W. Lawson (was Sub in those years)

1984 to 2004 Sub Officer R. G. Small (Bob)
2004 to 2016 Watch Manager Eric Small (brother of Bob Small)
2016 to Watch Manager Ryan MacDonald (Married to Mari, Great Granddaughter of James Henry Walter)




1931   Cart, hose and standpipe  
1956 OSF929  Bedford SLZG/HCB WrT
1973 CFS134L Bedford TGK/HCB Angus WrT
? OSC574V Dodge G1313/HCB Angus WrL
1990 C795USX Dodge G13c/Mountain Range WrL/ET
1998 M135XSF Scania 93M-250/Emergency One WrL/ET
2006 T236RFS Scania 94D-260/Emergency One WrL/ET
2012 SK07BKL Scania P270/Emergency One WrL/ET




1931 to 1941 West Linton Fire Brigade?
1941 to 1948 National Fire Service
1948 to 1975 South Eastern Area Fire Brigade
1975 to 2005 Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade
2005 to 2013 Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service
1/4/2013 to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service



The South Eastern Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948

  Equipment Retained
  1 Tender and Large Trailer Pump 1 Leading Fireman
    9 Firemen


Establishment 2000





1 Water Tender Ladder/Emergency Tender

1 Sub Officer



1 Leading Firefighter



8 Firefighters


Establishment 2016





1 Water Tender Ladder

1 Watch Manager



2 Crew Managers

7 Firefighters


West Linton had a call sign of 38 in Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, this was changed to J33, the new National Call Sign on 3/5/2017.




History of the West Linton Fire Brigade

The history of West Linton Fire Brigade dates back to 1931 when the first fire hydrant was installed. Shortly after this, the first fire crew at West Linton was formed, known as the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS). Their equipment consisted only of a two wheeled cart, hoses and standpipe which had been purchased by the District Council. At this time there was no ladder and only fire hydrants could be used i.e. open water supplies such as rivers could not be used. This equipment was stored in the workshop of J. H. Walter, the Officer in Charge at that time, at Ellisland. The early call out procedure was that the crew were turned out on the request of the police.
In 1937 there was a crew of six men allowed for by the council. The men were paid a fixed salary plus an extra amount per fire; the Officer in Charge earned £5 per annum and the firemen £2 per annum with 2/6 per hour for fires.
The next major advancement in terms of Equipment was in 1939 when a portable pump was acquired. This was towed by a lorry which was owned by J. M. Lithgow, Manor Garage. In 1941 the brigade moved to requisitioned premises at Deanfoot Road which were the property of R. Russell, the bakers. The pump was now being towed by a Morris Commercial vehicle obtained from Brigade Headquarters in Edinburgh. During the years of the Second World War, 1939 - 1945, four firewomen and four messengers were enlisted and the brigade became known as the National Fire Service (NFS).
1946 saw a further move in premises to a lock up at the Gordon Arms Garage. Again the pump was towed by a vehicle obtained from Brigade Headquarters this, time an Austin van. The brigade was now referred to as the ‘South Eastern Fire Brigade’.
The brigade moved to their current station on the Main Street in 1956. This was also when they received their first new fire engine, a Bedford fire appliance. The change of name to the present ‘Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade’ occurred in 1973.

Since the formation of the first fire brigade at West Linton in 1931, there have been many changes, not only in the premises used and the type of appliance. One of the most fundamental changes is related to the turnout system. The early turnout system operated on a call bells and siren system from the Post Office and Broomlee Camp. Headquarters in Edinburgh would telephone Broomlee Camp, which was manned 24 hours a day, who would in turn sound the bells, situated on the top of the fire station, which would act as a signal for the firemen in the village. Between 7 in the morning and 10 at night this system operated; however, during the night fire bells located in the mens’ houses would sound.
Obviously there were potential problems with this system. Firstly it was reliant on the telephone service which could be subject to failure. Also, second hand information was used with the possibility of inaccurate information being passed onto the brigade at West Linton. Furthermore, the signal could only be heard by those men within the village, not by those who were in their cars perhaps only a few miles away.
In 1975 the introduction of the ‘alerter system’, which is still used today, (although it has been modified due to technological advancements) allowed for a major improvement in efficiency. Each firefighter carries an alerter or pager which is operated directly from Brigade Control at Tollcross in Edinburgh. These alerters operate in the whole West Linton area. The brigade at West Linton covers an extensive area from as far afield as Skirling, Drochil Castle, Leadburn, Nine Mile Burn and Dolphinton.
The method of obtaining information on callouts is also much more efficient due to improved communications. Currently a printout system is used which relays information instantaneously from Headquarters to West Linton station. Prior to this radios were used, and before that, until 1980, telephones were relied upon.
As a consequence of these improvements the time from the crew being called out until they are mobile is approximately 3 minutes.

There are highly stringent entrance requirements for joining the brigade. Candidates must be aged eighteen or over, with a high standard of fitness. Medicals are also conducted every two years once entry into the brigade has been guaranteed. In addition to initial training at Gullane Training School, training is also an ongoing feature of life in the brigade.
Every Wednesday night is training night for the crew at West Linton. This involves training of both a theoretical and practical nature i.e. drills. This is also the time when all the equipment including the fire engine is tested.
In addition to this training, exercises are carried out in which incidents in potential high risk areas are simulated. Personnel also must attend refresher courses as new procedures and equipment are introduced.
Prior to 1990, competitions were held at regular intervals, though this is no longer the case. These involved competing with other retained stations in the Lothian and Borders area on both station efficiency and drills. West Linton were highly successful and won many of these competitions.

Equipment and particularly the fire appliance are constantly being upgraded in line with technology. The present fire engine is known as a ‘water tender ladder’ emergency tender. This is fully equipped with hydraulic cutting equipment, medical supplies (all brigade personnel are trained in first aid), and equipment to protect the firefighter, for example, breathing apparatus sets. Thus the crews are equipped to deal with any eventuality. There is a vast amount of equipment held, not all of which can be mentioned here. In fact the cost to bay and stock a fire engine is well in excess of £100,000. This is partly a reflection of the fact that today’s fire brigade has many new incidents to contend with, which it did not have in the past. For example, the brigade now faces the prospect of chemical incidents to which it must be prepared. Consequently chemical protection suits are carried on the appliance.
At present there are eleven firefighters in West Linton Fire Brigade which is the full complement. This consists of the Sub Officer, the Leading Firefighter and nine firefighters. They are on call 24 hours a day and come from all types of occupations. West Linton attend several different types of incidents from road traffic accidents to chimney fires and other household incidents. If there is a large incident in Edinburgh they are also sometimes placed on standby at full time stations. West Linton attends approximately 80 incidents a year, although this figure is variable.
Therefore it can be seen that the fire brigade at West Linton has evolved a great deal since its beginnings in 1931. These changes have resulted in a greatly enhanced quality of service with improvements in communications, training and the equipment used.
(This article by an unknown source was written for a local magazine.)

Correction:- In the above article the equipment wasn't stored at J H Walter's workshop at Ellisland, that was where he stayed. It was stored in Jock Sinclair's (the butcher) garage on the Top or Upper Green. Told to me by an elderly lady in West Linton.



If you know of any mistakes in this or have any additional information please let me know.


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