19th century fireman's helmet from Preuilly-sur-Claise.The sign with the helmet says:
Casque de Sapeur Pompier de Preuilly sur Claise. Ce casque, modèle de 1885, était découvert récemment par hasard dans une petite ville dans le sud de l'Angleterre. Nous voudrions retrouver de vieilles photos de Pompiers de Preuilly vers le début du vingtième siècle.
Fireman's Helmet from Preuilly sur Claise. This helmet, the 1885 model, was discovered recently by chance in a small town in the south of England. We would like to find some old photos of Preuilly's firemen from around the turn of the 20th century.
Firemen are popular modern day folk heroes in France. You can not only buy the traditional calendar ( if you are lucky, with pictures of naked firemen, but usually just of firemen training in the full protective kit) at the end of the year, with proceeds going to their Christmas party, but you can also buy statuettes and various other collectables sold both commercially as souvenirs or as fundraisers for their activities. Here in Preuilly most of the firemen are volunteers, and like in many small towns, they run a cadet scheme for teenagers, who learn first aid, abseiling, how to drive the fire truck and all sorts of confidence and discipline boosting skills. The first Sunday of the month the town klaxon sounds, and the mayor treats the firemen and women to drinks in the salle de fêtes. It is frequently the pompiers and not the gendarmes who officiate and direct traffic at town events, and they are kept busy with rescue services such as traffic accidents, emergency airlifts to hospital and removing wasp nests from buildings as well as the occasional fire.