Ray Larcombe was just 13-years old when he joined the Rochester Fire Brigade in 1942.
“He joined after a firefighter met with the boys at one of his scout meetings,” his wife Gladys recalled.
Three-quarters of a century later and Ray has been awarded his 75-year service medal.
“He was very proud to receive it. His service from 1942 to 1944 was never recognised (prior to the formation of CFA). So yes, very proud to receive his 75-year medal,” Gladys said.
Ray was still heading out to fires up until a few years ago, taking sandwiches, drinks and supplies to firefighters on the front line.
And while the 93-year-old is starting to slow down a little, his wife said he still likes to stay involved where he can.
“He’s still very active, just not operational. He always goes along to the meetings, and he keeps in touch with everyone.”
“Ray has always been very dedicated to the community.”
She said even when he was a packing boy at Parson’s grocery store, or later as a manager at Northern Timber, neither employer docked his pay when he was called to an emergency.
“You wouldn’t see bosses doing that nowadays. He was just so proud to go off and do his duty,” she said.
“I remember when he was younger, he lived in town and I lived on a farm. He would go off to meetings in town, but always end up riding his motorbike out to the farm.”
“But I’ve had to ban him from riding it these days. I tell him ‘if you fell over, you’d never get it back up’.”