Merryweather Fire/Crash Tender
1940, -, Not currently on display
Built in about 1939/40 by Merryweather Ltd in Greenwich, it was first registered to Short Brothers Ltd in Rochester on 13 November 1941. However, from 1942 it was based with Vickers Supermarine, initially at the Experimental department at Hursley Park, then the company’s Shadow Factory at South Marston who were producing Spitfire, Attacker, Swift and Scimitar aircraft. It represents the Supermarine Division of Vickers-Armstrongs, which was directed from Brooklands from 1928.
The Merryweather fire engine eventually retired in 1963, when it spent a decade in storage before being donated to Portsmouth City Museums. It was restored and attended transport rallies until the early 1980s, before another ten years’ storage. Donated to Brooklands Museum in 1992 and returned to roadworthy condition by volunteers in 1993-96, it is now one of Britain's oldest preserved aerodrome fire/crash tenders.
Based on a pre-war Commer Q3 3-ton chassis with Merryweather bodywork and fire-fighting equipment, the origins of this design are obscure: it may have seen limited production before World War Two or may be unique. Its wooden bodywork is sign written with the Vickers-Armstrongs name recording its Southampton and South Marston days on different sides.