The Collection

The Blitz Fire Truck

Date: 1942

Historic Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) Collection

Location: HARS Museum, Illawarra Regional Airport

In 1942 the Ford V8 Army Blitz truck served as the only fire fighting vehicle for the Albion Park Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade (APVBFB), and surrounding district.

The truck was converted to a fire-fighting vehicle by one of the mechanics at Max Brewster’s Albion Park Garage. Unfortunately, the Blitz had not been completed or commissioned at the time of the terrifying Commercial Hotel fire at Albion Park, and as a result, the hotel was lost amongst the flames. Members of the volunteer brigade had not been shown how to operate the Blitz, and all efforts to put out the blaze failed.

Soon after the famous Commercial Hotel fire, Jim Wilson was appointed Captain of the fire truck, and took on the task of finishing the truck by modifying the pumps, belts, hoses and controls.  The Blitz attended many fires on local farms, grass fires, and accidents on Macquarie Pass.

One evening a semi-trailer was on fire at Macquarie Pass, and the Blitz was called.  The Blitz was pushed to the limit when it was driven up the Pass in second gear….and the motor blew up. Claude Harris, volunteer fire fighter and partner in W G. Harris and Sons Garage at Albion Park, found another ford V8 motor, fitted it to the Blitz, and it ran perfectly from then on.

The Blitz was eventually replaced by a Bedford truck, and forgotten about for many years, until, to the amazement of the Albion Park locals, the son of one of the volunteer fire brigade members was at the country town of Yass NSW, when he saw an old Blitz at a wrecking yard and took some photos. Sure enough, it proved to be the old Albion Park No.1 Ford Blitz.

The Blitz was recovered and a committee was formed to raise money to restore the truck. Three Rural Fire Service Life Members worked on the truck from dawn to dusk for three years, and with much help from the local businesses and community, the Blitz truck was restored.

The Blitz is now proudly housed at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) Museum, at the Illawarra Regional Airport, Albion Park Rail.

Information thanks to Claude Harris.

Opening hours

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Tuesday 9:30am–8pm
Wednesday 9:30am–8pm
Thursday 9:30am–8pm

Friday 9.30am–5pm
Saturday 9am–3pm
Sunday 12pm–3pm

Shellharbour City Council acknowledges the traditional custodians of Dharawal Country and recognises their continued connection to the land. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and the contribution they make to the life of this city.

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