SMHS Meeting: Operation Colour Scheme

15 Apr 2015

The National Fire Service (NFS) was formed in August 1941 uniting over 1600 local authority forces; these included the Auxiliary Fire Service, private services from factories and estates, and aimed to standardise equipment and training.

The Blitz had highlighted how disparate the fire forces were and the challenges of working together in emergency conditions.

The county of Sussex fell into Region 12, Area 31 and was reinforced by Reserves from other areas for 'Operation Colour Scheme', the NFS's plan devised to provide fire cover for the D-Day ports and the build-up of troops preparing for the Allied invasion of occupied Europe.

SMHS member Rob Martin, who serves in the Fire Service today, had discovered an album of photographs compiled by Chief Fire Officer, Mr Charles Birch OBE along with his Staff Officer illustrating the work of the NFS in Area 31 which Rob presented a selection of at our April meeting. This is a unique collection - very few members had even heard of Operation Colour Scheme, as the work of the civilian services in a period of such secrecy is not well-documented.

On the same evening we held our AGM. The Society re-elected the existing Committee, who members were keen to thank for their hard work over the previous year. It was great to hear that membership has again continued to grow steadily, currently being at an all-time high. We look forward to the coming year and all it brings.


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7.30pm for 8.00pm start
Function Room of the
Royal Oak Public House,
Station Street, Lewes,
East Sussex.


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