Sunday, 1 September 2013

Neale Bulbeck – Firefighter, Saxa 1998 – 2000

Neale Bulbeck did an 18 month tour at Saxa from 1998 to 2000 and has kindly allowed me to reproduce some of his photos and recollections. He obviously had a good time in Shetland –
I loved watching Shetland on the BBC a few months back. It brought back some great memories of Lerwick and the surrounding area. I think it was a pub called Captain Flints that we always headed for when we went to Lerwick. The weather may have been bleak at times on Unst but spirits were always high. I have never spent time in such a close knit community anywhere else in the world. The RAF personnel, their families and locals were so friendly with each other. Up Helly Aa, Burns night, the longest day etc were always great celebrations. I hope one day to return to The Shetlands with my wife.”

For those of you who remember Captain Flints – it’s still there and has its own Facebook Site here:  There are plenty of pictures on the site, one of which is reproduced below:
 The first 3 of his photos show some great winter scenery on Unst:

 The next 2 pictures are from Christmas 1999, the first of a rather cold looking Domestic Site and the second is a copy of the Fire Section Christmas card:
In common with all the emergency services the Saxa Fire section had frequent training sessions. The next 3 photos show Neale and another fireman in a BA (Breathing Apparatus) training exercise: 

Things are not always perfect and during an 18 month tour there is bound to be the odd mishap!
I had a photo (since lost) of the mountain range fire engine that I crashed into a ditch during high winds on the road that goes past the haunted house, I think it was called Lund House? Fortunately nobody was hurt. The boss wasn't amused when we had to hire a crane from P&O ferries to come up to lift it out of the ditch. I think filling the ditches with gravel to allow the crane to fit along the road and the crane price may have cost the RAF a small fortune”
As Neale says it was not his proudest moment, but a photo did appear in the Saxa Voice Magazine during the summer of 1999.

 What to firemen do when there are no fires too fight or training to do? It seems they hang around relaxing & drinking coffee – just like everyone else!

 My thanks to Neale Bulbeck for sharing some of his memories.
Links to a few more pieces in the blog about the Saxa Fire Section here: