Firefighters in War

Today we were lucky to see some pictures of a children’s Christmas party at Clerkenwell Fire Station in December 1940. They were brought in by Jean Chapman, daughter of William Chapman, who served at Clerkenwell Fire Station during World War II.

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William Chapman was part of the Auxiliary Fire Service during the war, a vital service formed in January 1938. Fire Sub-Stations were set up across London in schools, garages and factories. Over 28,000 Auxiliary Firefighters were recruited to support the 2,500 Firefighters of the London Fire Brigade.

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Chapman was injured during his work in the war and hospitalised for a long time –he was unable to go back to the fire service post-war. These pictures show Jean at a Christmas party just before the beginning of the Blitz in earnest and was probably the last big party that happened during the war.