Farewell to a county fire service leader

John Warden, former chief fire officer in Lancashire
John Warden, former chief fire officer in Lancashire

A former chief fire officer of Lancashire, who made his home in Catterall, has died at the age of 89.

Much honoured John, known to friends and family as Jack, Warden died on Christmas Day.

Jack had spent his retirement years in Margate, Kent, and retained a strong interest in the fire service.

As recently as last May he joined the national debate about the future of the nation’s fire service penning a letter to a national newspaper.

Jack was born in Darwen in 1924 and following wartime service in the Royal Navy, joined the National Fire Service (NFS) in 1946, working in Bristol.

Following the disbanding of the National Fire Service and the introduction of county fire brigades in April 1948, he returned to work in his native Lancashire.

He subsequently served with fire services in Hertfordshire and in Gloucester at the Fire Service College.

Service in Manchester, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Glamorgan followed, before he returned once more to Lancashire as Chief Fire Officer from December 1973 until his retirement in November 1983.

It was during this latter period, when he was based at the county fire service HQ at Fulwood, that he lived in Catterall. It was an illustrious career in both navy and the fire service.

His six years of service in the Royal Navy began shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War and he was awarded the British Empire Medal for the part he played during the Sicilian landings in 1943.

Other honours heaped on Jack included the Queen’s Fire Service Medal.

He was a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers.

l His letter to the Press in 2013 was a response to the publication of a report by the Government’s Fire and Rescue Service Adviser, Sir Ken Knight, on the future of fire services in England.