7 May 2021






3 mins

The Fire Section within the Malta Police was set up in 1934. In April 1936, it started making use of the first ever fire engine at its disposal. For many years the responsibility for Fire Services was in the hands of the British services in Malta. In 1883 the Malta Police were given some fire fighting apparatus (hoses, pumps, etc.) for fighting small fires which used to occur throughout the island. In 1902, Members of the Police were trained by Water Works Department personnel in fighting fires, although the responsibility remained with the British services in Malta. In 1922, the Police were responsible for keeping the public order during fires, keeping the people as far as possible from the danger, and helping in laying of hoses, carriage of pumps and ladders.

The first Police fire engine was only used for small fires and in the Valletta area only. Businesses who were affected by fires, used to pay for the services of the British Military Fire Services. The Police started to acquire trucks to be re-modelled and used as Water Bowsers, since purchasing a proper fire engine costed money, which the police budget didn’t have. They even purchased second hand fire engines from the UK to be used in Malta for fire fighting purposes. Such engines were the Dennis type which were used regularly in our island. Trucks used were the Ford type. Other used fire engines were acquired from the UK, such as Dodge, Bedford’s, Dennis and Land Rovers.

Then the Police took the decision to purchase a lot of Bedford Fire Engines from England to be distributed throughout the outlaying stations, which were at that time, in Floriana, and at Kordin. Kordin was used by the British Forces in Malta, for the Admiralty Constabulary Fire Brigade, since it was very near the Malta dockyards. In fact all the units stationed in this Station were left to the Malta Police when the British Forces ended their stay in Malta in 1979. The Kordin Station was handed three Bedford Fire Engines along with the Dennis F 44 Water Tender.

Only 27 Dennis F 44 were ever made world wide and it was powered by the Rolls Royce B81 series petrol engine, which was manufactured specifically for military use. The B81 engine was available in 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder versions, and Dennis Bros utilised both the 6 and 8 cylinder versions in their models. The B81 had a capacity of 6.5 litres, developing 235 BHP @ 4000 rpm.

Given a Government registration number plate M-0032 the fire appliance was stationed at Corradino ( Kordin )Fire Station operated by the Malta Police Fire Brigade

She was used in various fires including in the fire of the 256 metre Indian State owned crude oil tanker MAHARSHI DAYANAND berthed at Boiler Wharf, Malta Drydocks back to February 1982 (B&W Photo).

When the Civil Protection Department was founded in 1996 but did not function as a Fire and Rescue service till 15th January 2000, the Dennis F44 Fire Engine was amongst the first vehicles to be withdrawn from the service.

After some years of languishing she was bought by a private owner who garaged her (it was seen in 2013) and back to 2019 she was seen for sale on the social media Facebook portal Marketplace and last month she was spotted at Mellieha awaiting restoration still with Malta Police Markings.

Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. NO PHOTOS can be used or manipulated without our permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –

Published – Friday 7th May, 2021.

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Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli otherwise stated. NO PHOTOS can be used or manipulated without our permission.
© All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –