Sidney fire hall historian completes fire fighter honour roll

Harry Nunn hopes it’ll survive to display at new fire hall.

Sidney Fire Department historian and former fire fighter Harry Nunn and current Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen share a laugh in front of the new department honour roll

Harry Nunn is a local historian. And he has one particular area of specialization — the Sidney Fire Department.

This week, Nunn completed a project he started back in 2014 during the Sidney department’s 100th anniversary. It’s now hanging proudly in the fire hall for visitors and current members to see.

Nunn himself was a longtime volunteer fire fighter in Sidney and is a regular around the hall even today. He comes from a long line of Sidney fire fighters, having had three family members on the roster, dating back to before he joined up in 1959.

“I had just left the air force,” he recalled. “I joined the fire department on March 25, 1959.”

Nunn retired from the fire department in 1997/’97.

“But I’m still in!” he laughed, noting that he does drop in from time to time.

“I still come around down here on Thursday nights during training nights. I say hello to the guys and then when they start their training, I’m off.”

That kind of connection to the department, for Nunn, has been life-long. He stays involved and is now considered the department’s historian.

In 2014, the department held a weekend-long anniversary celebration, marking 100 years of service to the community. The fire department was officially formed in 1914, when they elected their first fire chief, Fred Humber.

The department, as it was at the time, existed in 1913, made up of members of the Sidney Board of Trade.

It’s this history that Nunn has sought to preserve in his fire department honour roll — a list of many of the names of people who have served the community as fire fighters over the last century.

Nunn said he was able to track down a lot of the names through the rosters and roll call documents kept by the department and the municipality over the years. Modern names, he said, are easier, as better records are kept. He estimated there were over 900 people to serve as Sidney fire fighters since 1914.

Many of those names are now listed on his honour roll, currently hanging in the front office of the fire hall on Third Street.

“I’m pretty proud of this one,” he said.

It’s a list that can be viewed by people who are looking for family history, Nunn explained. It is also a resource for current members — and a way they can honour all those who did the job as he did all those years ago.

“I can’t really tell you why I joined the fire hall,” Nunn said. “To me, it was an exclusive club to belong to. I just felt really proud of being a member.”

Nunn said he hopes the now-framed honour roll will hang in a prominent place in Sidney’s proposed new fire hall — the community safety building project.

Construction of the new hall on land south of the Mary Winspear Centre and next to the Pat Bay Highway, could start as early as this year. It’s estimated to cost anywhere between $5 and $8 million and the Town has the ability to borrow up to $10 million to pay for it.

Nunn said he hopes the honour roll will not just disappear when the move takes place, but remain accessible to the entire community.

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