News & Media

Mighty Les

  • Les Trotter with his 70-year service medal. Courtesy of the Geelong Advertiser
  • Les Trotter of Anakie Fire Brigade is congratulated by the Chief Officer. Story courtesy of the Geelong Advertiser

By: CFA News

Category: Honours & Awards

  10.08 AM 8 October, 2014


Location: District 7 News

Views: 1667

Les Trotter of Anakie brigade has been presented with a 70-year service medal at the recent Anakie Brigade presentations, making him one of the longest-serving members in the State

Story courtesy of the Geelong Advertiser - Read online here.

BAGS and rakes were the principal frontline weapons when Les Trotter cut his teeth fighting fires.

He turned out ready and willing as part of the charter growing up as a teenager at Steiglitz before formally volunteering for Anakie Country Fire Authority brigade at 20.

Now at 90 he’s still faithfully answering the call.

“Well, you do these things,” Mr Trotter said simply to sum up his devotion.

“You go and help wherever you can.”

Colleagues know him as the brigade’s best asset and applauded his longevity and achievements as CFA chief officer Euan Ferguson presented brigade service awards on Sunday.

“Les, who is often referred to as the brigade’s best asset shares his knowledge of a lifetime with the brigade membership,” his citation read.

“His wealth of local knowledge and understanding of the surrounds, which fire access tracks to use and where the nearest water points are located is invaluable. His knowledge of the bush is remarkable.”

Mr Trotter grew up as one of eight brothers and nine siblings whose father Harry worked gold mines around the district.

Young Les started woodcutting in his young teens and nurtured an intimate knowledge of his environment and district back tracks across decades.

He recalls tackling many significant and challenging blazes, from Meredith, Maude and Inverleigh to Staughton Vale, Lethbridge and beyond and was on duty for the horrific fatal Lara bushfire of 1969 and the major Brisbane Ranges fire of 2005.

Close calls include having been caught with two others on a dam bank at Balliang and taking refuge in vehicles.

“It went over the top of us, the three of us were safe,” Mr Trotter said.

“It was horrible hot, the sweat was running out of me, especially when you’re in a ute with the window wound up. But it was quick, it went over the top of us.”

Mr Trotter said vigilance was paramount for firefighters.

“You’ve just got to watch what you’re doing and you’ve got to be careful,” he said. “Fires, they’re a funny thing.”

His sons Colin and Murray followed his lead into the CFA and Colin received a 45-year service medal on Sunday.

Other medal recipients included: 20 years, Andrew Barnes, Neil Giacometti, David Gillett, Robert Hazelton, Aaron Miller, Norman Perry; 25 years, Hiram Clarke, Derek Smith, Henk Vangestel; 30 years, Martin Zumpe; 35 years, Andrew Browne; 40 years, Lyle Hodgson; 45 years, Colin Trotter; 50 years, Hayden Miller; 55 years, Raymond Tucker, Ronald Clarke; 70 years, Lesley Trotter.

Last Updated: 08 October 2014