A fireman who served the West Midlands for almost two decades before becoming chief fire officer of London and HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services has died at the age of 83.
Peter Darby worked as a fireman in Wednesbury and Sutton Coldfield, before moving to Birmingham in 1948. He went through the ranks at Aston, Perry Barr, Harborne and Albion Street stations and the Corporation Street headquarters, before he was made the city’s divisional officer with civil defence planning responsibilities.
Mr Darby left the brigade in January 1963 following his appointment as assistant chief officer to Suffolk and Ipswich Fire Authority, where he was expected to deal with 36 fire stations, liaise with helicopter crews and the lifeboat service.
This was followed by postings in Nottinghamshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and London. In January 1981, Mr Darby was named Britain’s Chief Inspector of Fire Services - the country’s top fire post - at the Home Office, followed by his appointment as HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services.
In spite of his move to the capital, he remained proud of his West Midlands links. During a visit to the West Midlands Fire Service headquarters in Birmingham in 1981, he said: “Serving here gave me the experiences which were very useful for what was to come.”
Mr Darby leaves his wife Ellen, son Peter, daughter Helen and grandchildren Josh, Sam and Charis. His funeral mass will be held at the Church of Our Lady in Leach Green Lane, Rednal, at 10am on Friday followed by a private burial.
Donations can be made to the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund or Our Lady of Mount Carmel Tower Restoration Fund.