Defending the East End
|Auxiliary Fire Service and Rescue Teams|
The Auxillary Fire Service
The new service needed equipment so many of London's taxicabs were taken over by the Civil Defence, painted grey and turned into makeshift fire engines.
On 7 September 1940 (the first night of the Blitz), nine AFS Brigades each used a 100 fire engines to extinguish the widespread fires. The next night one fire engine was in operation for 40 hours. Over 800 fire-fighters lost their lives and 7000 were seriously injured during the Blitz.
This government poster describes how to deal with incendiary devices and what people should do to prevent fires from spreading.
The Rescue Teams
The teams included people who were too young or too old to be called up for the armed forces. This picture is of 16-year-old Con Shipton of the Deptford Light Rescue Service.
The Heavy Rescue Teams included people who had worked as civil engineers, carpenters, bricklayers and plumbers before the war.
They used their experience to safely demolish collapsing buildings and work out the safest and quickest way to reach those who lay injured beneath damaged buildings.
The Heavy Rescue Teams were also trained to deal with the aftermath of a gas attack. Fortunately, Hitler never used his stockpiles of nerve gas on the people of London.
This picture shows the members of the anti-gas unit of the Arragon Road Heavy Rescue depot in East Ham.
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