1940 Blitz remembered
On Tuesday 29 December 2015, the Fire Service Preservation Group (FSPG) will be holding an event to mark the 75th Anniversary of the biggest “Blitz” raid on London. A number of World War II fire appliances will be on show to the public outside St Paul’s Cathedral, that iconic building for which Winston Churchill gave the directive to the London Fire Brigade and Auxiliary Fire Service to “Save St Paul’s”.
There will also be events at Dowgate Fire Station on Lower Thames Street and possibly a pumping display on the River Thames by the old London Fire Brigade fireboat Massey Shaw.
The Massey Shaw not only took part in the Dunkirk evacuations in May 1940 (her crew credited with saving over 500 lives) but served London throughout the Blitz. On 29 December 1940 she supplied water for land crews ashore in their firefighting operations, hence helping to prevent the major fires spreading to St Paul’s Cathedral on a night when the Thames was at very low-tide. Massey Shaw remained in service until 1971 when one of the last fires she attended was at the Tate & Lyle factory in Silvertown east London.
Outline programme for the day.
10.00 Fire engines and crews arrive at Dowgate Fire Station, Lower Thames Street.
10.30 Display of fire engines and equipment on forecourt and St Paul’s Cathedral for the media and public to view
12.30 Wreath laying ceremony at the Firemen Remembered Memorial to the late Auxiliary Fireman Holder at the Goldman Sachs building, Peterborough Court
133 Fleet Street EC4 2BB
13.00 Crews pumping into River at Allhallows Lane with Massey Shaw Fireboat
15.00 Crews with Appliances on forecourt and St Paul’s Cathedral until 1700 hrs
17.00 Tea Break
17.30 Parade of crews
18.05 Sounding of Air Raid Siren
18.15 Fire engines turn out to complete a route through City
18.45 Arrive at Fire Fighters Memorial for a short service of remembrance.
In the evening, at around 1805 hours an air raid siren will sound and this will be followed by an escorted “Blitz Turnout” when the appliances will circuit the City “on the bell”. A short service will afterwards be held at the Firefighters Memorial in Carter Lane, near St Pauls.
Fire engines expected to be on view include :
1935 Leyland Metz Turntable Ladder (ex Soho Fire Station)
Heavy Pumping Unit (1)
Heavy Pumping Unit (2)
Austin K2 Escape Ladder Carrier