THE GRAND LOT

HOME FRONT FIREFIGHTERS BY NUMBERS

World War Two brought challenges for Britain’s fire services, but thanks to a volunteer army and a critical amalgamation, London – and many other cities – were prevented from burning. John Ash unpicks the numbers best describing the story of Britain’s wartime firefighters

Firefighters battle a blaze near Piccadilly, London, during a German air raid, October 14, 1940
MIRRORPIX/ALAMY
London firemen aim their firehose during a combined local authority/AFS exercise near Greenwich, 1939
ROGER VIOLLET/TOPFOTO

370,000 PERSONNEL READY TO SERVE

At its peak strength, Britain could count upon 370,000 firefighting staff and 19,000 teenaged Youth Messengers.

By March 1942, 42,000 personnel protected the London region alone with more than 10,000 appliances and vehicles.

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