How many of us in this room to-night,
Can throw back our minds o'er time's swift flight,
And remember the day when the Newport Brigade,
First met at the Swan, most gaily arrayed?
'Twas December seven, eighteen fifty five,
"The crowd was so great, the street seemed alive,"
All the town had assembled to see the new spec,
With Sheppard its Captain and Croydon its sec,
We schoolboys were there, I remember quite well,
For that day we heard not the two o'clock bell,
But went like our elders to have a good spree,
And laughed right loudly such doings to see;
We gave Negus, the foreman, and Mayne, Engineer,
As they turned the hose on us, a hearty good cheer,
And enjoyed to the full the wetting we had,
Which kind friends at home thought a little too bad.
The brigade once completed all equipped for the fray,
Had not long to wait their skill to display,
For that very same month on a dark Sunday night
Came the cry, Fire! Fire! Byrne's house is alight;
Out turned the men at stern duty's first call,
No risk could delay them, no danger appal,
Tho' fierce was the fire, their hearts were aflame,
They did their work bravely and gained a good name;
A name they've upheld from that day to this,
For never has summons to them come amiss,
By light or by dark, by night or by day,
They're out in a jiff, load up and away.
With four spanking "hosses" with pedigree claims,
Bold Robert on Wheeler, or leader rides James;
We care nought for distance, we brook no delay,
But gallop our hardest away, and away,
Yes, away we have gone to help good village folk;
At Cranfield and Bradwell, at Moulsoe and Stoke,
Cold Harbour and Tongwell, and Olney besides,
Guard and assist them when evil betides.
Arrived at the fire we quickly unhorse,
The suction's attached, the hose is unrolled,
The levers are turned, that's the order we're told;
When thus far complete, the branch is screwed on,
The pumpers set working, and then before long
The water pours forth, the conflict's begun,
And Newport ne'er leaves it till water has won.
When all is got under and danger is past,
The welcome command, double up, comes at last;
Fire hose we recoil, the engine repack,
The"hosses"put to, and trot steadily back;
But not, not as we went, fresh, eager, and strong,
Our work has been dirty, our task has proved long;
Both hungry and tired, without a dry thread,
No wonder we welcome Fleet's bountiful spread.
You have not forgotten, the storm that raged fast,
On January eighteen, in the year that has passed,
When the highways were blocked, the land marks
were lost,
Deep hid in snow, cemented by frost;
On that afternoon came a summons from Stoke,
We went, but my friends, we found it no joke,
So fierce did the pitiless storm rage the while,
And the treacherous snow flakes lay pile upon pile;
When homeward we turned, having conquered the foe,
Our journey seemed like a retreat from Moscow;
Charred ruins behind, around fury and strife,
The toils of that night are engraved for life,
But not out of town have all fires been,
There's the Swan, the Anchor, and down on the
Pools Lane, Abbey End, and Tickford Street too

Have found us plenty of Hard work to do;
Where'er we've been wanted, we've given our aid,
For twenty-six years a united Brigade;
The fires we've attended are seventy and two,
It seems a long record, 'tis perfectly true,
Twenty-six years, ah! What changes take place,
How many old friends drop out of the race,
Pass away like a dream, like a tale that is read,
To the life of the future, the home of the dead;
Major Lucas, the chairman, and eight of the nine,
Who at the first meeting agreed to combine,
And form the Committee, have all passed away,
Through the portal of death to eternity's day.
Few indeed are there left of those who took part
In raising, equipping, and aiding to start
On its errand of mercy, the mission of aid,
This grand institution, the Newport Brigade.
But its Father still lives and proud of its fame,
Edmund Saunders, my friends, is the gentleman's
He started the project, to him it is clear,
We all owe a debt for a noble idea.
Mr. Bull, too, again is with as to-day,
Of the first formed Committee, in truth I may say,
He's the only one now who remains of the race,
Such havoc have death and time wrought in the place.
Two Captains we've lost ne'er again to return,
Another has left us elsewhere to sojourn;
But of stout Captain Bull, the last of the three,
I must say a word, for was it not he,
Who ten years age, I think that's the date,
Carried out with success the Monstre Great Fete;
The first in the land where Brigades did compete,
For prizes for skill and workmanship neat,
Captain Wilmer, too, than a volunteer true,
Was the jovial head of a jovial crew;
He led us at Wycombe, and the folks there declare
That he and his men were the jolliest there,
But leaving the past, with its joys and its tears,
Captain Taylor, the fourth of the line, now appears
At the head of affairs; no better could be
To take up the work, Im sure you'll agree;
The post for six years he has worthily filled,
And bought us new ladders and had the men drilled,
So that life has been saved, no person can doubt,
That must have been lost if we'd then been without,
His generous kindness to all in the ranks
Deserves our sincere and heartiest thanks;
And with Lieutenant Coales, who all of as know,
Is always delighted and ready to show
His zeal for the cause, his love for the work,
For at practice or fire he nothing will shirk
With him to support the Captain right well,
And Secretary Carr, the record to tell;
With none in the ranks but good men and true,
All able and willing to dare and to do,
The Newport Brigade in its future career,
Will increase in efficiency every year.
You know it has always done good in the past,
And will strive to do good whilst ere it may last.
'Tis a cause not of clique or sectarian Strife,
Its work is to succour all classes of life,
To face peril and risk and of danger partake,
When homes are in flames and life is at stake,
Where'er the dread foe casts its lurid glare o'er,
Be it mansion of rich, be it dwelling of poor,
It answers the summons, responds to the call,
And hastes to the rescue, the servant of all.