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Hartlepool firefighters to form guard of honour at former officer’s funeral

Former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley 1986. Picture by Frank Reid
Former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley 1986. Picture by Frank Reid

Tributes have been paid to a former fire chief and war hero as his friends and loved ones prepare to say their final good bye tomorrow.

Frank Huntley was assistant divisional officer of Cleveland Fire Brigade before he went on to work for Hartlepool’s power station.

Former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley and fellow fire fighters attack a timber yard blaze in Seaton Carew, 1948. Picture by Frank Reid

Former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley and fellow fire fighters attack a timber yard blaze in Seaton Carew, 1948. Picture by Frank Reid

He will be given a guard of honour at his funeral at the town’s crematorium by the brigade’s firefighters.

Frank began his working career at ICI in Billingham before he was drafted into the Royal Navy in 1942, which led to him being a member of the crew on a torpedo boat involved in the D-Day landings.

After being demobed, he returned to his job with the chemical firm, but found the work had changed during his absence and decided at the age of 22 to move on.

However, during his second time at the firm he met his wife Muriel, who worked in its office, and they married in 1948.

We are very pleased to be honouring him and his family at this sad time.

Hartlepool Station manager Kevin Harrison

He went on to work in a series of jobs before he took up a position with West Hartlepool Fire Brigade from April 1 in that same year and in 1952 was put in charge of recruiting and training up unpaid volunteer firefighters who were primed to help the service should the Cold War result in an attack.

During his time there he was promoted to one of its top jobs and received an award for helping to rescue a bull and he also saw Cleveland Fire Brigade form when Hartlepool merged with Teesside.

He retired from its ranks in March 1976, when he went to work for the nuclear power station as it was being built, retiring from that role in 1988.

Outside of work he enjoyed gardening.

Former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley, wearing a white hat, rescue a bull from mud at a farm in Elwick, August 1972. Picture by Frank Reid

Former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley, wearing a white hat, rescue a bull from mud at a farm in Elwick, August 1972. Picture by Frank Reid

He died peacefully in hospital aged 93.

He and Muriel, 94, would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this coming June.

Frank also leaves daughter Lynn, 68, and son David, 64, and three grandchildren.

His funeral service will be held at Stranton Crematorium tomorrow at 3pm, with his coffin to be decorated with his fire service cap.

The former fire station in Moreland Street. Picture by Frank Reid

The former fire station in Moreland Street. Picture by Frank Reid

Donations will go to a benevolent fund for firefighters and the British Heart Foundation.

Hartlepool Station manager Kevin Harrison: “He had a distinguished career with the fire service and was an outstanding servant in helping protect the local community.

“We are very pleased to be honouring him and his family at this sad time.”

Former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley , right, receiving his medal for bravery during the rescue of a bull from mud at a farm in Elwick, August 1972. Picture by Frank Reid

Former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley , right, receiving his medal for bravery during the rescue of a bull from mud at a farm in Elwick, August 1972. Picture by Frank Reid

The boat that former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley was on during the D-Day landings. Picture by Frank Reid

The boat that former Cleveland Fire Brigade Divisional Fire Officer Frank Huntley was on during the D-Day landings. Picture by Frank Reid