"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

November 04, 2008

DOCKLANDS ABLAZE

Photo: Museum of London
West India Docks, Sept. 7, 1941

The Docklands were a prime target for German bombers during the Blitz of 1940-41, and firefighters faced a variety of hazards.

In the 1949 book ``Fire Service Memoirs,'' Chief Fire Officer Aylmer Firebrace recalled:

``There were pepper fires, loading the surrounding air heavily with stinging particles so that when a fireman took a deep breath it felt like breathing fire itself.

``There were rum fires, with torrents of blazing liquid pouring from the warehouse door and barrels exploding like bombs themselves.

``There was a paint fire, another cascade of white hot flame, coating the pump with varnish that could not be cleaned off for weeks.

``A rubber fire gave forth black clouds of smoke that could only be fought from a distance, always threatening to choke the attackers.''

LADDER CREW - 1910

RETIRED FIREFIGHTERS

The Retired Members Association was formed in 1930. The RMA suspended operations when the fire brigade was nationalized for World War II. In 1948, the RMA was revived, according to its web site. Photos: RMA web site

RAILWAY FLOODING

Photo: London Transport Museum
May 6, 1915 - ``Two horse-drawn fire engines mounted in railway wagons are using steam to pump away flood water from the Metropolitan line tracks. The flooding under Ray Street Grid Iron near Farringdon Underground station followed a severe thunderstorm,'' according to the
Exploring 20th Century London Project.

GENERAL POST OFFICE

Photo: Wikipedia
On Aug. 24, 1912, a fire broke out in the telegraph equipment at the General Post Office at St. Martin's le Grand. According to The New York Times: ``The large force of firemen, who were quickly on the scene, had considerable difficulty in getting at the seat of fire, which was in a compartment containing wires between the instrument gallery and the floor below."

November 03, 2008

GOTHA RAIDS


During World War I, the Central Telegraph Office in London was set ablaze during a German air raid. The attackers were flying Gotha bombers, which replaced the Zeppelins in 1916.
Photos: U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission and BBC