Strathclyde’s first Canteen Van was inherited from the Glasgow Fire Service and was a Austin FFG (the interior fittings, furniture and complete painting being done by Glasgow Fire Service Workshop personnel) with the registration DGA918B which was based in the West Marine Fire Station from 1975.
When the Emergency Support Units went on the run they carried two pods inside with others at their station and I think one of the Pods was a Canteen Pod although I can’t quite remember.
Later on when the Ford Transit Road Rescue Units replaced the Emergency Support Units they had trailers to tow and one of the trailer units was a Canteen Unit.
Each of the six Divisions had a Canteen Unit and they were based at Easterhouse then Knightswood, South then Polmadie, Renfrew, Ayr, Motherwell and Clydebank. As well as the Canteen Units the Salvation Army would also turn up at large fires and I have been really grateful on more than one occasion when they turned up in the middle of the night with a welcome cup of tea and something to eat. At one fire at the Wellpark church in Greenock, they opened up their Hostel in Terrace Road about four in the morning to feed us, I have never forgotten these good deeds.
Later on Regenerated Meals were introduced to supplement the Canteen Units. In West Command all pumps were given Mars bars and bottled water as iron rations, I don’t know if this happened in other Commands.
With the introduction of Rescue Pumps and the subsequent removal of Road Rescue Units the Canteen Units were towed by Supplementary Equipment Vehicles until the last one was finally withdrawn in the last week of October 2006. Probably the last incident attended by a Canteen Unit was the explosion on the 10th October 2006 at Hawthorn Street, Clydebank when the Canteen Unit at Knightswood was taken to the incident by the SEV from Dumbarton as the SEV at Knightswood is permanently crewed to tow and operate the Pioner Rescue Boat and can’t be used for anything else.
Now when catering is required at an incident regenerated meals are supplied from one of four wholetime stations (one in each Command) and one retained station. Spare personnel within the Command are used to transport the meals to the incident. The holding at these stations is 54 meals, tea and coffee.
If the incident is ten pumps or a Major Incident the Salvation Army can be contacted and they will provide catering at the incident. They have two Canteen Vans which are kept in the yard at Renfrew Fire Station and are used for various purposes not just Fire Service incidents.
Photos of Canteen Units
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