Joseph Milner, who has died aged 84 at his home in Caston, near Watton, was the former chief officer of the London Fire Brigade and earlier director of the Hong Kong Fire Service.
Joseph Milner, who has died aged 84 at his home at Caston, near Watton, was the former chief officer of the London Fire Brigade and a former director of the Hong Kong Fire Service.
But in his Norfolk home village of 30 years he was better known as a community stalwart, serving as a parish councillor, member of the Royal British Legion and as a trustee of the local fuel allotment charity.
Mr Milner was recognised for his outstanding public service when he was made a CBE in 1975. And he is remembered as a resolute man who was not afraid to speak out to protect the rights and safety of the rank-and-file firefighters. It was thanks partly to his intervention that they began
wider use of breathing apparatus.
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Mr Milner was appointed to the London brigade's top job in 1970, and while there he managed the response to one of the Tube's worst disasters, at Moorgate in 1975, when 43 people died.
He leaves a wife Anne, son Frederick, daughter Jane, two sisters and one brother and numerous grand and great-grandchildren.
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His service was honoured at his funeral at St Cross Church, Caston, last Monday by members of London Fire Service, local firefighters and Royal British Legion members.
His sister, Joyce Woodhouse, said: "He was a determined chap; cheerful, but duty was his first priority. A true English gentleman. We are very proud of everything he achieved during his life. he was always very hands-on and never asked his officers to do anything he wasn't willing to do."
Manchester-born Mr Milner rose quickly rose through the ranks of the National Fire Service after joining on leaving the army in 1946. In March, 1951, he joined the Hong Kong government fire service, becoming the director of fire services in 1961.