Photos of Brighton Ambulance Service, 1946-1974

I’m sorry that I do not know all their names – only my father’s: Percy Type (Tiny). But hopefully people will recognise some of the other faces.

The ambulances were stationed behind the General Hospital before moving into Elm Grove near the junction of Queens Park Road.

Comments about this page

  • My father, also named John Mercer, worked on the ambulances – some names I remember him recalling were Jack Type, Johnny Hallet, Charlie Donno, Bob Foden and bosses Kimber and Sumpter. I was only a little boy of seven then, but I remember we had great Christmas parties at the station.

    By John Mercer (16/06/2006)
  • I served with the Brighton Ambulance Service from 1965-1970. I also remember crewing with Jack (or more usually known as Percy) Type. He was always cheerful with a smile and a joke, with his cap pushed to the back of his head. When we went to answer a red call (999) he would invaribly say, “Wind her up then boy” because he preferred not to drive, as his size was a problem behind the wheel.
    When Jack transferred to light duties towards the end of his service he was allocated his own sitting-case verhicle (35). If any of us had to move it we could never reach the pedals without adjusting the seat because it was so far back on the runners.
    I always had great affection and respect for Jack, or Percy, Type. He was a character and a gentleman. He made me laugh!

    By The Revd. Peter Allsworth (29/01/2008)
  • These are all the members of the service whom I can remember between 1965-1970. If I’ve forgotten anyone I hope they will forgive me, but it’s a long time ago now since I was a Brighton Ambulanceman!

    Medial Officer of Health: Dr. William Sheppard Parker

    Ambulance HQ & Control
    Bert (Bush) Sumpter – Chief Ambulance Officer
    Edward (EK) Kimber – Deputy Chief Ambulance Officer/Chief Ambulance Officer
    Ken Williams – Deputy Chief Ambulance Officer – Formerly with London Ambulance Service
    Gwen Cooke – Secretary
    Marjorie Eagles – Clerical Assistant
    Stan Charlwood – Chief Control Officer
    Larry (Sandman) Relf – Training Officer
    Frank (Swoop) Hurley – Station Officer/Driving Instructor
    Jock Tom – Station Officer
    Angus (Mac) McKay – Station Officer
    Allan Bunney – Station Officer
    Charlie Donno – Station Officer

    Bob Foden – Control Assistrant
    Vic Martin – Control Assistrant
    Peter White – Control Assistrant
    Alfie Redman – Control Assistrant
    Peter Spanton – Control Assistrant

    Johnny Mercer – Left 1965?
    Ted Johns – Left 1965?
    Johnny Lichfield (Mad Johnny) – Left 1965?
    Bill Wheatley – Attendant only – Retired 1966?
    Bill Everett – Tilly Driver – Retired 1967?
    Fred Stoner – Tilly Driver – Retired 1969?
    Bert Reading – Deceased 1964?
    Percy Type – Tilly Driver
    Fred Mitchell – Tilly Driver – Retired 1966?
    Eric Carey – Tilly Driver – Retired 1969?
    Gwen Cronk – Tilly Driver
    Sue Allen – P/T Tilly Driver – Left to live in Mevagissey, Cornwall – 1969
    June D’Silva – P/T Tilly Driver
    Hazel Halpin – P/T Tilly Driver
    Barbara ? – P/T Tilly Driver
    Sid Marston – Convicted of a serious offence and jailed – 1967

    Blue Shift: Danny Hayes 1, Ken Newington 2, Don Booth, Charlie Genin, Ted Elliot, Duggie Brown

    Red Shift: Ken Redman, Ted Williams, Ron Joseph 3, Pete Stringer 4, Charlie Lyons, Cliff Witt

    Green Shift: Alan Seager, Norman Stoner, Nigel Custance 5, George Homer 6, Tony Grieg, Robin Friday

    Float Shift: Peter Allsworth 7, Mike Sheppard, Joe Stowell 8, Bert Clarkson 9, John Clements 10, Dickie Brown 11, Paul Morton, Eddie Langridge

    Mechanics: Dennis ?, Neville ?

    1 Danny Hayes – Left to become a traffic Warden – 1971?
    2 Ken Newington – Left to go to Australia – 1969?
    3 Ron Joseph – Left to join the Oxfordshire Ambulance Service – 1970’s?
    4 Pete Stringer – Killed in a road accident whilst off duty – 1969?
    5 Nigel Custance – Died of a heart attack – 1974?
    6 George Homer – Left – 1968
    7 Peter Allsworth – Left to join the Montgomeryshire Ambulance Service – 1970
    8 Joe Sowell – Left 1968?
    9 Bert Clarkson – Left to join the New South Wales Ambulance Service, Australia – 1969
    10 John Clements – Left 1969
    11 Dickie Brown – A former Brighton Policeman

    By Revd. Peter Allsworth (30/01/2008)
  • Percy/Jack Type passed away in November 1984 in the Sussex County Hospital.

    By James Type (09/08/2008)
  • Just found this great sight . I went to school with Jennifer daughter of Nigel Custance. I remember how proud she was of her father. I would love to hear from Jennifer. I lived just around the corner in Clayton Road so knew a lot of the faces. What a great job they do. A big thanky ou to those past and present.

    By Jennifer Smith now tonks (10/09/2008)
  • Peter Stringer (my Dad) died September 16th 1968, it was nice to come accross this site. I too remember the fantastic Christmas parties from my childhood. I met Tiny on a few occaisions and Ken Redman. I am still in touch with Patricia Brown, daughter of Doug. Seeing the photos took me back to my visits as a child. The station hasn’t changed much in all those years.

    By Ian Stringer (16/12/2008)
  • I worked out of Brighton Ambulance Station for 23 years from 1970 to 1993 and remember a lot of the faces and names above. Brighton was a great place to work, especially when the Borough Corporation ran the service and I remember my colleagues with affection and tremendous respect. I would like to trace more photos from this period, if anyone has any please contact me through my e-mail address – Many thanks

    By Brian Basterra (19/01/2009)
  • My father, Ron Joseph did leave Brighton to work for Oxfordshire Ambulance Service in 1971. He was based at Henley and later at Slough. He took early retirement in 1984 due to ill health and died in 1988 in Brighton. Nigel Custance and his family used to live next door but one to us in Baxter Street, some other names I also recollect, mainly from the parties held at Christmas and the many times I visited the station as a boy.

    By Stuart Joseph (21/02/2009)
  • I joined Brighton Ambulance Service in 1954 after leaving the W.R.A.F. – such happy days. I stayed for 10 years. I got married in 1963, and was the first woman to go on maternity leave. I can still see Eddie Kimber’s face when I quoted the J.I.C. handbook to him. I eventually left July ’64. Gwen Cronk replaced me, and the rest is history. Dear old Stan and I live virtually opposite each other in Barnett Road [he is 94 now] and often talk about the ‘old times’. I very much admire today’s ambulance personnel.

    By Pat Bond nee French (24/07/2009)
  • I am sure that the lady at the extreme right of the second row drove my Mum and I from the Royal Alexandra Brighton to Victoria Convalescent Home in Greater London in 1949. The ambulance was the small Vauxhall car derived model. I am sure she carried me several more times after I returned to Brighton a couple of years or so later. I so remember her kindness as Mum and I had nothing and she stopped at a cafe en route and bought us tea and cakes.

    By Jeremiah Ward (13/12/2009)
  • Well done James Type starting this section. It is a fitting tribute to these unsung heroes. Here’s to more comments and stories.

    By John Mercer (06/01/2010)
  • Jim: My dad is on the left next to your dad. It makes me very proud to see this photo. My dad worked a lot with Jack; he always enjoyed working with him. I met him a few times and he was always happy and cheerful. My dad passed away at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in 1988.

    By John Mercer (06/01/2010)
  • Great pictures! My father, Bob Foden, worked at the ambulance station from as far back as I can remember (circa 1960) until he left in the 1970s. I still remember the Christmas parties, watching colour TV for the first time at the station (1970 Leeds v Chelsea cup final), and taking Dad’s dinner round on Sundays from our home in Queens Park Road. I think that’s Bob Foden second from the left in the last photo.

    By Dale Foden (15/05/2010)
  • Hi Dale. Have got a photo of your father in the control room. Email me on & I will send a copy. Regards Jim Type

    By James Type (04/08/2010)
  • I was overwhelmed to find this page after putting Brighton Ambulance Service in the search engine. My Dad was Stan Charlwood. I see on this page he is mentioned several times. Sadly he passed away last Sunday [26th June 2011] at RSCH after a short illness. He just made 96 – his birthday was 23rd June. It was some comfort to remember the names of some of the other ambulance personnel. If anyone wishes to make contact my email is

    By Sarah Peskett [nee Charlwood] (29/06/2011)
  • I am just going to send it to my cousin whose Dad Alan Bunney was in the service. A large family of cousins, we all grew up “just down the road” in the streets off Elm Grove. A wonderful place to grow up.

    By Angela Sheard (13/04/2012)
  • Just found this page – what an amazing memory jerker. So many of the names are familiar. I also took my Dad Alan Bunney’s dinner up to him on a Sunday from nearby Sandown Road. I remember going with a team to Battersea for First Aid competitions and several of Dad’s shift took me to the funfair nearby. I loved being able to sit in the ambulances at the Xmas parties and sound the bells. Mum was a nurse nearby at Brighton General – my childhood must have had a good effect – I’m still nursing over 35 years later.

    By Sandra Buckle (nee Bunney) (15/04/2012)
  • My Dad Alan Bunney is the third from the left in the front row. I remember spending a lot of time visiting the station as a child (we lived in nearby Sandown Road) and recognise a lot of the faces.

    By Sandra Buckle (nee Bunney) (15/04/2012)
  • To Sandra Buckle. When was your mother at the BGH? Both my wife and I trained at the hospital 1952-1955. There is a great site you should have a look at it is It is full of pictures etc of nurses and events at the BGH from about 1934 up to 1970

    By Ken ross (16/04/2012)
  • I joined the County Borough of Brighton Ambulance Service in the early 70s but unfortunately left in the late 80s due to a spine problem. I have fond memories of initially working as a day worker and later moving up on to a full time shift. I worked with Brian Basterra, Ted Humphries, and many more. They were great times albeit often hard in terms of lifting. I would be interested in hearing from other ex Brighton personnel as I have some early day photos of the competitions that took place. I am now Secretary of the East Sussex Ambulance Retirement Association. 

    By Mike Morley (08/05/2012)
  • To Ken Ross – thank you for the web link. My Mum was Elinor Bunney (Pinn) – usually just called Bunney at work and nursed on Maternity at BGH during the 2nd World War and then on what was then called Geriatrics (L2Ward) from around 1962 until she retired about 1980. I’m still in touch with “Sister Whit” the ward sister today.

    By Sandra Buckle (nee Bunney) (04/06/2012)
  • I served for a short time in Brighton Ambulance Service 1963-1966. I remember all the men and women. Ken Newman was my best man at my wedding and I still have the clock that BAS give me (still going!). I still have the ambulance cap badge. If Ken Redman is reading this, Ken can you ring me as I have a photo of you – it was in the paper (1979) 01903 751262 

    By Edward Bell (15/07/2012)
  • I was so pleased to find this site and sorry to see that some of my ex colleagues are no longer with us. I was 20 when I joined and worked for Mr Kimber (CAO) until I was old enough to get my pvl licence. Then I was out on the road. Was it Ambuance 62 that we had to “double de clutch” on? There often a crunch of gears from me going up Elm Grove! I remember Paul Myers, Ken Redman, Fred Gunn, Brian Baldock, Steve Hills, Brian Bastera and others and especially Mr Bunny, Mr Ralph and Mr Charlwood. I had great female work colleagues and often think of everyone. I have some photos of some of us in 1974. Is there a site just for ex employees of Brighton Ambulance Service that I could put these on?

    By VAL. MAY (12/06/2013)
  • Dear Jane,
    Sorry but we have had to delete your post. We are no longer allowing the posting of requests to find third parties, as sharing information like this breaches their privacy. We recommend you try Friends Reunited website if you want to track old friends or neighbours.
    Comments Editor

    By June Sullivan (nee Nickisson) (07/03/2015)
  • Wow, fancy finding this site from my brother CLive in Australia. I remember well John Hallett still in contact with his family,Brian Bastera still in touch with his daughter, Bob Foden and Ron Joseph remember them well. My dad Nigel helped Dr Chamberlin set up Brighton Heart Foundation.  Yes Dale Foden parties where great and the presents. Brings back lots of memories reading all these posts. Some good and some bad but that’s history.

    By Jenny Custance (13/08/2015)
  • Hi nice to find this site. I served at Brighton from 83-96 and retired from it all in 2012. I would like to find out more about the retirement association.

    By Robin Parker (20/08/2015)
  • Great memories, glad to have worked there.

    By Mark Plaine (13/07/2016)
  • Jenny, I was a good friend of your Dad and together up the Brighton Resuscitation Ambulance Fund, which was merged with the local committee of the Heart Foundation. Dr. Chamberlain had only just been appointed as a consultant cardiologist at the RSCH. The person who really helped us get things off the ground was Dr. Peter Nixon, the senior consultant cardiologist at Charing Cross Hospital in London. Your Dad and I visited him at Charing Cross and he gave us his full support and played a crucial part in persuading the BHF to help, as at that time they only supported research projects. Dr. Nixon was responsible for introducing us to Brigadier Cardiff, the CEO for BHF and it was through this initial meeting that BHF’s national committee changed its rules so that local projects, like Brighton’s introduction of mobile coronary care could receive funding help from the BHF. When I left Brighton I kept in touch with your Dad. I last saw him when he came to stay with me, when I was an officer with the Durham Ambulance Service. I think it was just before he had a stroke. He travelled all the way up from Brighton on his little motorbike. He was a good friend and I was very sorry when he died. 

    By Peter Allsworth (29/11/2016)
  • It is some time since any comments were added to this page but it is very poignant as the Brighton Ambulance Station is scheduled to close later this year. Once we get back to some normality, would be happy to arrange a visit for one last time and to the superb new facility being built at Falmer. This will be known as Chamberlain House. I would be really interested in any further pictures and stories because we want our new Base to reflect some of the history of Brighton, Hove and Lewes Stations.

    By Tim Fellows (04/06/2020)
  • Levers of Farnworth “Lancastrian” Series II Major Ambulance bodywork on Bedford J1 119″ Wheelbase. County Borough of Brighton Ambulance Service responding to numerous incidents. Other Brighton ambulances in Headquarters yard.

    By Andrew Morris (24/01/2021)
  • XCO 854. Levers of Farnworth “Lancastrian” Series II Major Ambulance bodywork on Bedford J1 119″ Wheelbase. County Borough of Brighton Ambulance Service. A little bit of suspense before you see the ambulance.

    By Andrew Morris (25/01/2021)

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