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Tenterden Road Fire Watchers
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Dates of existence
The pressure on the Fire Brigades during the heavy bombing on the London area in the winter of 1940/1 led to the formation of Street Fire Parties.
Because at any time there might b/e too many fires for the fire services to deal with; members of the general public were therefore formed into fire fighting parties, under the control of the Fire Brigade and known at first as Supplementary Street Fire Parties. This is reflected in the date of commencement of this log book.
Later in 1941 an Order was made compelling all men between the ages of eighteen and sixty to register for Civil Defence duties, and fire watching duties, to secure that not only homes but business premises as well were guarded at all times. These were under the Warden Service.
A Street Leader was appointed and the men in the street formed rotas to watch night and day. They were trained to use stirrup pumps in quenching small fires directly they occurred and the normal incendiary bomb, and later they learned to deal with the heavy explosive incendiary. Each wore a steel helmet and brassard and, after a simple examination, was given a card indicating that he was trained.
A second Order, in 1942, brought women between the ages of twenty and forty five into the scheme as fire guards and also compelled certain men who had been exempted from fire duties at their places of employment now to undertake them and the women filled the gaps in street fire parties. By this Order owners of business premises and factories were required to produce a fire guard scheme, in conjunction with adjacent premises where that would be more effective. Altogether about fifty thousand men and women did fire duties.
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