The London Fire Brigade is today marking the 70th Anniversary of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) which helped fight fires caused by German bombing raids.
Mobilised at the outbreak of World War Two on 1st September 1939, the AFS continued to operate during the cold war before being disbanded in 1968.
Brian Coleman, Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, who is hosting today’s celebrations, said: “These people are heroes – they gave up their time to help protect Britain from fires, sometimes in terrifying circumstances, and for that I commend them.”
“This anniversary is also close to my heart because my mother served with the AFS during the war. Without her, and the thousands of AFS members like her, Britain would almost certainly not be the place it is today”.
David Millar, who will be leading today’s event, joined the AFS aged 25 at the start of the war and attended all of the major fires in London caused by German bomb attacks, including those during the Blitz.
Mr Millar says the Blitz bombings “will stay with me forever, especially the relentless attacks on the London docks. I feared for my life more than once – there were buildings burning down all over London – but I was so busy there wasn’t any time to be too afraid”.