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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Service Pays Tribute to Former Firefighter

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service's oldest former firefighter, Bob Whitby has passed away at the age of 103.

Bob, who served at Hanley and Burslem fire stations between 1926 and 1962, sadly passed away on Thursday 13th May.

An act of remembrance was observed at the AGM of The Staffordshire Branch of The National Association of Retired Firefighters held earlier this week. The family have also agreed to a full fire and rescue service funeral to honour Bob and so the Service's Ceremonial Squad will be in attendance.  

"Bob had been an active member of our retired network for many years and he will be remembered for his remarkable memory of his time with the Service. He will be greatly missed by all those who met him and remembered with much admiration and respect."

Retired Assistant Divisional Officer, Malcolm Botham

Bob’s son, Gerry Whitby said: "My father was a man of few words, who was studious, thorough and offered guidance, when asked.  He was much admired and very modest.  Our family were extremely proud of his achievements, in his career, his hobbies and his way of life."

Bob joined the brigade in April 1926 as a retained firefighter at Hanley Fire Station, following in his father’s footsteps. The following year he became a wholetime firefighter and he served throughout World War 2. He was promoted to Station Officer at Burslem Fire Station in 1941 where he ended his career after 36 years.

Following his retirement Bob remained active and at the age of 86 he started to write a book, reminiscing his life in the Service. At the age of 90 he completed the book, 'Fire Service Memoirs' and 20 bound copies were produced. After retiring Bob remained in contact with his fire service colleagues through the Service’s retired welfare network. On his 100th birthday he had a celebration party at Burslem Fire Station.