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Standard Gwynne Light Trailer Fire Pump

Fire-fighting the Standard Way!

 A restored Standard Gwynne  Fire Pump - I don't believe that red was an original colour option, but the appearance  of this set  would  otherwise appear to be complete and correct.            (

Photo: Phil Homer)

A series of questions by a correspondent on the Standard Motor Club forum has lead me to research this topic and publish my findings in the form of this illustrated article:

Standard Gwynne Fire Pump with covers removed

Around 5000 of these units were built during the war by a collaborative effort between Standard and Gwynne, who were based in West London. It isn't clear tom me why the pump was made but it was probably the result of a procurement competition by the War Office for fire-fighting equipment.

These fire pumps were based on the prewar Standard 8 Engine coupled to a Gwynne Rotary Pump,  giving up to 230 gallons per minute at 60psi. The pump came on a trailer that could be towed behind  a car or lorry or pulled and manhandled by a number of firemen.  

If required, The pump could be demounted from the trailer and carried nearer to the seat of the fire, by two* operatives, using the wheelbarrow type handles fitted at both ends. (as shown in the illustration to the right) The pump also used a small pair of bogey wheels to aid manoeuvrability.

Engine and Pump

There are some notable differences in the design of the engine ancillaries, compared to the car version:

The engine carries magneto ignition, the magneto being mounted vertically, above the head, where one would normally expect to see the distributor.  This means that there is no need for a battery, hence no starter is fitted and the engine has to be started on the handle. I can only assume this was done to keep the weight down.

A 4 gallon petrol tank is positioned above the engine and the fuel is  fed to the normal cam-driven AC fuel pump. 

The cooling water for the engine is held in a small tank alongside the petrol tank and forms a closed loop system with the water in the block, making a total of 6 and 1/2 gallons. As there is no radiator or fan, special provision needs to be made to keep the engine cool, as the water would otherwise start to boil after 15 minutes idling.  This consists of a bypass valve from the pressure side of the pump, the water taken from there passing through a filter and a non-return valve, then through a cooling coil in the sump and a similar coil in the water tank, before being expelled onto the ground.

There is no clutch or gearbox, so the flywheel drives the pump shaft directly at engine speed, determined by the opening of the hand throttle. The drive shaft has lubricating glands  composed of graphite impregnated fibre. These have to be periodically adjusted to take up wear, this being achieved by a pair of adjusting screws. It is important that the gland, lubricated by water from the impellor is not allowed to run dry and the correct "leak" is described as 'sufficient to cause a misty spray inside the pump casing'. Also, another mechanism is fitted to prime the water pump. This consists of a valve in the exhaust manifold which is moved by hand to force exhaust gas through an ejector jet, thereby creating a vacuum that draws up water into the impellor until the pump is primed. Instruments comprise a water pressure, vacuum and oil pressure gauge, (though no temperature gauge) and these together with the main elements of the system and its controls that I have described, along with the pump itself , are all mounted on the one end of the casing, as shown below. 

*The pump unit weighs in at 5 and 1/4 cwt so I think it would be a four man job to lift it, rather than the two shown!

Cutaway Drawing:

Trailer Design

A substantial  braked trailer weighing over 7 cwt is supplied with the pump unit. Two car wheels with 5,50-16 tyres are fitted. The trailer has Bendix brakes operated on the overun by the towbar, or by a handbrake. Three jacks provided for stability when unloading The trailer also carries the hoses and fittings to make the whole assembly a self contained fire-fighting unit.

The photos below shows the sequence of events for demounting the pump from its trailer, requiring 3 people:

Commission Numbers:

To be added, come back soon

Pumps in use:

The badge says Standard Gwynne, but there appears to be a number of different or missing items and the Trailer seems to be from somewhere else? ( Photo: Phil Homer)

A number of Pumps seem to have found their way to the New Zealand Fire Service, here are ones I have found:

A Standard Gwynne in active service towed by a Ford V8 pilot, pictured in use with the Norsewood Fire Brigade, New Zealand in 1964.                                                                      (courtesy of the Norsewood Fire Brigade)

Another Standard Gwynne in service in New Zealand (undated) (courtesy of Plimmerton Fire Service)

Other Fire-pumps

Where are they today?

If you know the whereabouts of a Standard Gwynne Fire pump. or know of someone that does, I would be pleased to record its existence here, maybe with a photograph?. Please send all material to the webmaster.