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Researching van history

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:59 pm
by custardbomb
I've spent much time trying to research the history of my van, trawling Google and German sites for information which up until now has been very useful, locating documents, photos etc. However, until now despite emailing the fire service and the local Mayor and various other local contacts discovered on local sites for the region, I have had no response to my requests for the offer of any assistance to help me establish the history of my van through photos, stories, equipment etc. I find this very odd despite the culture for Germany to show immense pride in their emergency services which has shown through with others success in visiting the fire station, meeting the service men and learning an incredible amount about their vehicles.

Has anyone had any success', failure or advise they can offer about researching the history of their vans?

Re: Researching van history

Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:05 am
by rolandrat
My experience is, that many fire station webmasters are lazybones. The created the site years ago, the hype flattened in the meantime. Some even don't cherish the site anymore. /:)

Enquieries in English language might be a barrier, but even German ones peter out very often. A good idea is, to attach a pic of the van in its present state and to offer them to use it for their site (under the rubric 'Ehemalige Fahrzeuge' = former vehicles).

As you say, there is an immense pride in their service and vehicles, but as soon as a vehicle is decommissioned, sometimes it ain't interesting anymore. Psychologists come forward! :geek:

A couple of years ago I stumbled over an immaculate T2 Feuerwehr at a scrapyard. A crew carrier rejected due to an engine damage. The roof had been cut off, them dabblers misused it for a car accident drill :o ! They had it for ages, how could they do that e:( ? Even the hardboiled scrap dealer was distressed: 'I'd have supplied them with a normal car for free, as a punishment they had to pay a rather expensive fee to pick up the Bus :}^ ! Take as many parts as you can, I'll offer you a competitive bundling price.'

I also took some slides, where the heck are they?

Re: Researching van history

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:20 am
by custardbomb
Thanks for your insight Roland. I sent my emails in both English, and Google Translate German, so although no perfect word for word should have been sufficient to get across the content of my email and the help I was looking for.

The success others have had in going home with their vans, and the support of the Feuerwehr surprised me that so far I haven't received a similar reception. Perhaps you are right, that an oldtimer no longer holds any interest to them, which as you say makes absolutely no sense despite the pride they clearly show for their jobs and current vehicles. You would expect this to extend to the history which ultimately made them what they are today.

I did manage to find an article on another site ... t-1.715755 which confirms who the Mayor, and two other senior officers are. It also gives me a name for the Officer of the British Army Javelin Barracks fire brigade located in Elmpt, so this may be another avenue I can pursue as I expect the relationship between the Army fire service and the Feuerwehr may help. Now I just need to find out how to contact him. Its a challenge, and I hope lots of hard work and Googling will come up trumps.

Would be great to see the slides if you can find them? This just reinforces the point you made about no care for vehicles that are not in service.

Re: Researching van history

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:48 pm
by custardbomb
Now I must admit I have been a prat. I have been going through my emails and found an email which had an attachment I didnt even know I had.

Please see below to see content of this document; I will now have to eat my hat and take back what I first said in my original email as I have made a mistake. I never knew these vans had measuring equipment, I assume how it reads that Geiger counters were carried on board, can anyone confirm this?

Hello Chris,

Nice to meet you. You sent an e-mail to the German fire brigade association Berlin. And they had contact us, with your invitation about the “old” VW you bought. I am sorry that we needed a long time to reply your e-mail.
Before I will start to send you further information about the car, the history of the car in our town and especially our town, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Andre Erkens, I’m 30 years old and since 1995 in the fire brigade of the corporation of Niederkrüchten. I’m the second chief of the fire brigade in Elmpt and also the second chief of the whole fire department of the corporation of Niederkrüchten (that’s comprised of the several fire brigades of Elmpt, Niederkrüchten, and Oberkrüchten).

After Michael Dempsey (our Gerätewart) told me that you want to have further information about the car and the history about the car, we started our inquiries about it.
The T3 with the licence number of VIE-8090 was build up at 1981.
In our corporation the car came on the 27th May 2002.
The first time, the car was accommodated in the garage of the building yard of Niederkrüchten, because in the first time there was no free storing position in the fire brigade garage. In the Year 2003 the car came to the building of the young fire fighters (in German Jugendfeuerwehr JFW).
In the following years the car was used by the JFW for training, for tours of them in the school holidays. And it was still used by the “normal volunteer fire brigade of the corporation). But the car was still a civil protection car.
By the volunteer fire brigade we used the car only as a personnel carrier. Especially the fire brigade of Oberkrüchten used it as a second personnel carrier to transport firemen to scene of fire or another scene. You see the basel use of the car in our corporation was not the aid of the fire brigade by the radio communication that was the special duty of the VW why it was build up. Serve with the possibility to build up a radio communication and detected dangerous goods (especially goods of a strike in time of the cold war). After the cold war was over, the German authorities did not hold the car up to date. So the equipment for the detect like the measuring kit was put away. The fire brigade could only use the radio equipment (like the two radios or the field phone). From the year 2005 – 2006 the car stands in Elmpt under the canopy of the fire brigade garage. No fire brigade use the car in this time.
In the year 2006 the last bill was written about the car costs by the commune, because every costs were paid by the German federal government and not by the commune like the normal fire engine. In the middle of the year 2006 the car was gone back to Viersen and thence to the UK.
Before the car came to the corporation Niederkrüchten it was for a long time in Viersen and we are not really sure, a few years also in Nettetal or Kempen. For this time we are still looking for a contact that could tell us something about the car in their towns.

That was the history of the VW in our town in a very short form. We are still looking for a few photos about the car in the corporation of Niederkrüchten. We send it to you in a few weeks. You also want to know something about the corporation, what kind of information about the town do you need? Some information about the fire brigade or something about the town in generally?
We hope that we could help with our short advice about your VW.
But we have also a few questions to you. Especial we want to know, why are somebody in the UK bought an old civil protection car from Germany? Do you accumulate this kind of material?
We hope we could develop our e-mail contact in the future and if you have some questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards
Andre Erkens

P.S. I´m sorry but my English is not so very well, but I still hope you could understand what I want to say.