L69 CRAIGHOUSE (Isle of Jura)

1 Volunteer Support Unit


WAFB                                       The Hotel, Craighouse, Isle of Jura (Tel. 8)
March 1996                               New Station                                Photo


Officers in Charge

1971 Volunteer Leader J. Shaw
  Volunteer Leader C McLea
13/5/1986 to 1/5/2007 Volunteer Leader Duncan Buie     
Sept 2007 Crew Commander Stephen Walton (Steve) (there 2014)


1989 OGD142M Landrover/SFB L4P
  M931ESU Steyer Puch Pinzgauer/Emergency One L6P
2001 L165YCS Iveco Turbo Daily/Emergency One VSU
2007 SF07PYL Mercedes Vario 816DAF 4x4/JDC-Polybilt VSU
2008 SF07PYJ Mercedes Vario 816DAF 4x4/JDC-Polybilt VSU


1941 to 1948 ?  National Fire Service ?
1948 to 1975 Western Area Fire Brigade
1975 to 2005 Strathclyde Fire Brigade
2005 to 2013 Strathclyde Fire & Rescue (Name change only.)
1/4/2013 Scottish Fire and Rescue Service



The Western Fire Area Administration Scheme Order, 1948

                                                                        Equipment                                          Volunteers

                                                                        1 Two men manual pump                  7 Firemen


On the Isle of Jura, a dutch barn containing 120 tons of hay was set alight by a child playing with matches. The fire was discovered at 1030 hours on 16th December, 1958 and the Volunteer Fire Party attended with their 2-men manual pump and ancillary equipment. They succeeded in confining the outbreak to the dutch barn. Realising, however, that a considerable time must elapse before a fire of this nature could be extinguished and that further water supplies would be necessary, the leader of the Party sent a message for assistance to the retained Station at Bowmore, Isle of Islay. The Area Control at Paisley, on being informed of this message, turned out the retained unit at Lochgilphead. This unit, complete with featherweight pump and 40 lengths of hose, travelled a distance of 17 miles to Carsaig Bay where the pump and equipment were ferried 4 miles across the Sound of Jura. The Lochgilphead unit arrived at the scene of the fire at 1615 hours and soon got to work with two jets pumping from a stream, a 1/4 mile from the fire. Turning over and damping down continued for a further 16 hours. As a point of interest, this is, as far as is known, the first time that a fire pump has ever been sent from the mainland to the Island of Jura and this was made possible only by weather conditions being favourable and by a farmer putting a private launch at the disposal of the Brigade.
(WAFB Annual Report 1958)


Jura's new £223,000 Fire Station was officially opened at the end of March by James Jennings, Chairman of the Police and Fire Committee who also unveiled a commemorative plaque
Among the forty or so other guests in attendance were Councillor William Perry, Convenor of Strathclyde Regional Council and Rev. Peter Rouston, Chaplain to the Fire Brigade, who dedicated the station along with the new six wheeled fire engine and equipment.
Each gave a short speech, followed by the Chief Firemaster, Mr James Jamison who told guests, "From now on you have the full legal requirement." He also thanked the Convenor and Vice Convenor for the fight they had each put up to ensure that the station and equipment were provided.
He concluded by presenting local volunteer fire-fighters Duncan Buie, Graham Logan Snr. and Jnr., Steve Walton, Davy Gilmour, Rob Darroch, Billy Dundas, Kenneth Cameron and Ian Mulholland with certificates qualifying them to use breathing apparatus. The effective use of which, incidentally, requires a number of the crew to shave off their lovely beards. "You have trained personnel and should be grateful for their help," Mr Jamison added.
The ceremony ended with an excellent buffet meal in the hotel for all the guests and a dinner for the official party.


Less than a week after the official opening the new fire engine was called into service to deal with a chimney fire on the Island.
A frequent problem due to peat being burned for fuel, the soot from which collects in the flue and catches fire if the chimney remains unswept.
This type of fire is easily extinguished by lowering a hose into the chimney stack and turning the water on, although as you can imagine, it leaves a bit of a mess in the room below.
(Isle of Jura Herald Summer 1996 Page 2)


In 1955 there were seven men.

Volunteer Fire Garage cost £136,585-86p.


Duncan Buie, March 7, 1951 – June 11, 2007 

To many, Jura without Duncan Buie will be like Jura without the Paps.
He was not just part of the island’s community, he was part of the island itself. Its character.
His sudden, untimely death at just 56 is another painful bodyblow for the 180 or so islanders who knew and loved him.
Just four weeks earlier, this most close-knit of communities had been left stunned by the loss of another of Jura’s favourite sons, Paddy Boyle, who passed away suddenly at the age of 45 on May15.
Duncan and Paddy were good friends and spent many a long night putting the world to rights from the comfort of their favourite stools in the Jura Hotel.
As someone said at Duncan’s funeral: ‘They’re back together now — imagine the hoolie in heaven tonight.’
One thing is for sure, Jura will never be the same without either of them.
One, of the last ‘true’ Diurachs, Duncan was born on March 7, 1951, the only child of Tottie and Dougie.
He lived on the island most of his days, leaving only for a few short years to do his apprenticeship at the Stag Garage in Kilmartin and to work as a lorry driver for McNair and Cameron of Dunoon.
He also had a spell in Lochaline with perhaps his greatest friend, Ian Keith. Their exploits would become the stuff of West Coast folklore.
But Duncan could not stay away from his beloved Jura long. He returned and took up a job at the distillery, where he worked for the past 31 years while filling voluntary roles as island’s chief firefighter, head of coastguard, undertaker, assistant registrar and lighthouse watchman.
In the early 1990s, his many occupations on the island landed him the star role in a Japanese TV documentary about Jura.
His television appearance earned him cult status in the Far East. In fact, when one visit
or from Tokyo arrived in Craighouse and spotted the familiar bald head and neatly trimmed beard he could barely contain his excitement as he exclaimed: ‘Duncan-San! You big star in Japan!’
But Duncan was an even bigger star on Jura. He loved socialising and would often be the first to greet a newcomer or visitor to the island, putting to good use his uncanny ability to make a complete stranger feel like an old friend.
Now Duncan is with some of his very oldest friends. Ian, Lindsay, George, Charles and Paddy.
A generation who grew up together, played together, worked together, lived together. All taken from their families, friends and from their beloved Jura over the past four years, not one of them older than 60. All sadly missed, but never forgotten.
Duncan is with them now, raising a glass to Jura.


Willie Cochrane Jnr
(The Oban Times, Thursday, July 5, 2007. Page 21.)


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


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