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THE BLITZ Fire Storm of London (29th December, 1940) World War II

by rayleighlibrary

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Archive List > United Kingdom > London

Contributed by 
rayleighlibrary
People in story: 
Richard Halsgreve
Location of story: 
London
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A8098752
Contributed on: 
29 December 2005

At 16 I became a despatch rider for the London Fire Brigade.

At 17 I was made a Junior Fireman, I was stationed at M.S. 7 Wale Road, South Tottenham N15.

I had been on several fires dealing with Incendary Bombs, house and timber yards; but on the 29th December, 1940 I was with a team that was called out to attend fires in London. We reported to the Fire Officer near the Embankment in London. We met other crews from the London area; we were told to control the fires in Newgate Street by St. Pauls. Fires were already burning all over the City. Hitler wanted to destroy London on that night so he could invade this country; by wave after wave of his planes high explosives and incendiary bombs.

Sir Winston Churchill that night told the Fire Officer “Save St. Pauls at all costs”. Because it was a symbol to the people to stand firm. Many fireman were killed that night.

Hitler failed on his last flight of planes to destroy London because the weather changed, Hitler was furious: he did not succeed, he went after Russia. Good for London.

For us firemen, the strong wind that got up because of the weather changing course created a fire storm. This was a nightmare for us, the heat was tremendous but we stopped the fire spreading to St. Pauls. It took over 3 nights; many were killed. They gave their lives for your tomorrow, I was proud to work with these firemen.

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