Webpage created: November 23, 2019
Webpage updated: November 23, 2019
GEORGE DRURY (1893-1963)
George Drury joined the Fire Service in November 1911 and became the Chief Fire Officer of the Kingston-upon-Thames Fire Brigade, in Surrey, where he was born in 1893 and married Miss Lillian Wadley in 1921. While with that Brigade he saved three lives during a fire in 1923, for which he was awarded the diploma of The Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire.
At the start of 1939 he was seconded to the Home Office in London as a Fire Brigade Inspector. In October 1940 he was transferred to Bristol in the post of Regional Fire Brigade Inspector, where he was tasked with reorganising their fire brigade. Bristol was blitzed soon after his arrival and in recognition of the work he undertook there during that period he was awarded the MBE in March 1941. No sooner had he returned to London, in March 1941,than the blitz on Plymouth occurred and in April 1941 he was instructed to move to the City and help organise their fire service. This was slightly before the formation of the Auxiliary Fire Service.
Mr Drury arrived in the City a few hours before the air raids on April 21st 1941, which devastated Devonport. In June 1941 he was offered the post of Plymouth's Chief Fire Officer but before he could take up duties the Home Office asked for him to be released to organise the Auxiliary Fire Service in the Plymouth number 19 area, of which he had been appointed Fire Force Commander designate.
At the time he arrived in Plymouth the City of Plymouth Police Force had only fourteen Police-Firemen supported by the volunteers of the AFS. He grew this to 137 full-time officers and men supported by 100 men and women of the AFS by the time he retired. He also purchased three new Dennis F12 pump escapes (GCO 138, JCO 224, and JCO 654), and three Dennis F8 pumps (LCO 318, MJY 340 and NJY 662) to upgrade the fleet and in 1961, just before he retired, he replaced the old turntable ladder with a new AEC Mercury with a 100-foot Merryweather automatic ladder, VJY 44, at a cost of £12,000.
In June 1945 Mr Drury was awarded the OBE in recognition of his work as Fire Force Commander Number 19 (Plymouth) Fire Force during the air raids on the City. He was also awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal.
During early 1949 he spent three months in the Sudan advising the Government Railways Administration on modern fire-fighting methods. He returned to his post as Chief Fire Officer in May of that year and remained until retirement in July 1962.
Mr George Drury MBE OBE QFSM died on Friday June 21st 1963 and his funeral was held at Efford Cemetery and Crematorium on Monday June 24th 1963.