The Willenhall Fire Brigade

Thomas's tribute in 1893 to a group of brave men. It appears to have been written to raise funds for a new fire engine for the brigade, copies were sold for one penny each.

The Willenhall Fire Brigade

They're a band of noble fellows - an honour to the town,
Who should command your sympathy, and never meet a frown,
For they are ready any time to lend a helping hand,
Then do your best now called upon to help this little band.

And on the Demonstration day,
Fall in the ranks each trade,
And show your townsmen you respect,
The Willenhall Fire Brigade.

Pass no remarks about the men, for which of you would give,
The precious life he owes so dear, that other ones may live,
'Tis easy to laugh and sneer the efforts by them made,
But lend your hand when called to help the Willenhall Fire Brigade.

And on the Demonstration day, etc.

I've often heard a saying told, that neither man nor fools
Can render their assistance if they haven't got the tools,
But if these men are willing now to give the town their aid,
Then buy an engine to assist the Willenhall Fire Brigade.

And on the Demonstration day, etc.

When Frost and snow lie on the ground, they're ready at your call,
To go and check the vicious flames in cottage, house, or hall,
They'll risk their lives to save your child, then do not be afraid
To patronise the men we call the Willenhall Fire Brigade.

And on the Demonstration day, etc.

If death should ever cross their path, think of their children dear,
Whose father gave his life away for someone standing near,
Think of their loving mother, too, she'll surely need your aid,
Because she lost her husband in the Willenhall Fire Brigade.

Thomas Bratt, Portobello

On 18th January, 1902 St. Thomas's Church, Wednesfield was destroyed by fire. Wolverhampton Fire Brigade attended the fire but Willenhall Fire Brigade never arrived, because of a lack of horses. Much of the blame for the large amount of damage was aimed at the Willenhall Fire Brigade and in their defence Thomas Bratt wrote the following poem explaining why they were unable to attend:

     The Horseless Fire Brigade

Gentle readers, don't be angry,
With our gallant Fire Brigade,
Who are very much disgusted
O'er the noise that's being made.
They were ready (with their engine),
In their splendid uniform,
And, as usual were willing
To share in the dreadful storm.

Every man was there assembled,
Ready for the coming fray,
When no horses were forthcoming,
O'er each face was seen dismay;
Up and down the place they hurried,
But no horses could be found,
Those who'd got them, they refused them,
Just their feelings more to wound.

But I've often heard a saying,
Neither honest men nor fools,
Cannot do the work required
If they haven't got the tools.
Once we asked you for an engine
Now we want a motor car,
Then the men and their equipage
Soon can go both near and far.

See the gallant captain standing,
With his brave and willing men,
Now then, Wylnul, let me ask you,
Let it not occur again,
See the vicious flames extending,
Ruining old Wedgfield church,
And the poor old cock has roasted,
Through the horses in the lurch.

Thomas Bratt, Portobello.

Return to the
previous page