For those who don’t know my Dad, Roger Leslie, he truly enjoyed adding various items to his fire collection. He was a second generation of the Hanover Call Fire Department at Company 1. His father, Robie Leslie, started him at Hanover Fire Co. 1, which was down the street from the family home. My Dad later bought the family home from the bank and it became the home where he and my Mom raised their own family.
As far back as I can remember, the Hanover siren would sound and my Dad and all the other call firemen would respond to the firehouse to get the truck and respond to calls. If I was fast enough, he would let me go with him to the station. Sometimes I was able to ride in the firetruck and others it was the brush truck, which was better known amongst the firemen as “Big Mow”. Finally, when I was of age, I too became a call firefighter (3rd generation). My Dad served as a call firefighter for the Town of Hanover for 42 years and I served 37 years.
My Dad started collecting his fire memorabilia as far back as I can remember. He would send a self-addressed stamped envelope to all the towns in Massachusetts with a dollar bill inside and asked if they would send him a fire patch from their town. One time we were on a family vacation driving home and he saw a factory soda and acid fire extinguisher for sale. Before I knew it, we were stopping so he could purchase it. We strapped the wheels to the roof, laid down the seats of the family station wagon and the big cylinder was positioned between me and my sister. No matter where he was going, he was always picking up various fire collectibles.
I worked with my Dad at his snack food business, R.A. Leslie and Son, delivering snack foods all over the South Shore. I started working with him at a very young age and we would always stop at a firehouse and he would share stories with the firefighters as I would climb on the fire trucks. We would always come home with a nozzle, a helmet or something to do with firefighting. He loved his fire collection and everything had a story behind it. He was always happy to be able to share his collection taking family, friends and other visitors who were interested in seeing his collection. It was something he was very proud of and is truly a part of his legacy. It saddens me greatly that I don’t have the means to properly display his collection and can only hope that those of you that are lucky to obtain pieces of his collection, remember my Dad.
Roger Leslie, Jr. (Chip), October 2023