Defence Fire Training and Development Centre
|Defence Fire Training and Development Centre|
Entrance to the site
|Active||1959 - Present|
The Defence Fire Training and Development Centre (DFTDC, formerly FSCTE Manston) is where Britain's Ministry of Defence trains its firefighters. It occupies part of a former Royal Air Force base near the village of Manston in the southeast corner of England. The remainder of the former RAF Manston is now part of Kent International Airport, a civilian airfield.
The USAF returned the Manston base to the RAF in 1959, and a number of training establishments were established there, including the Air Ministry Fire Training School. In 1989 the RAF consolidated the RAF Fire Fighting and Rescue Squadron from RAF Catterick to Manston, forming the RAF Fire Services Central Training Establishment (CTE). In 1995, the station was chosen to be the central training facility for all MOD firefighter training operations, and became MOD FSCTE.
On 31 March 1999, the remainder of RAF Manston closed, leaving FSCTE as the sole occupant of the previous domestic side of the base. The airside part of the base was signed over to the existing commercial operator to form Kent International Airport. In April 2007 the Army assumed responsibility for firefighting throughout the British armed forces, with the creation of the Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation (DFRMO) at Andover. This led to the transfer of FSCTE from RAF Strike Command at RAF High Wycombe to HQ Land Forces at Wilton (now Andover), controlled locally by HQ 2 Brigade at Shorncliffe Barracks, Folkestone.
Manston Fire Museum
Inside the base, the old RAF CTE building is now a museum of firefighting, especially as it relates to the RAF, called the Manston Fire Museum. This started as the private collection of Flt Sgt Steve Shirley; when he was posted to Manston the RAF agreed to take it over and it opened as the Ministry of Defence Fire Museum in June 1995. It was renamed the Manston Fire Museum in November 1998. The collection includes vehicles, models, badges, patches, uniforms, helmets, prints, extinguishers and fire fighting equipment. Since the museum lies within an active military base, visitors must first report to the RAF Police at the main gate to the camp. The base also owns several military aircraft for fire training, which may be viewed by prior appointment subject to operational requirements. There are a few more vehicles and Manston-related memorabilia at the RAF Manston museum across the road.
- "History of RAF Manston". RAF Manston History Museum. Retrieved 2007-06-29.
- "Maston Fire Museum - The Home Page of Manston Fire Museum". Retrieved 2010-09-04.