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|Partial / Incomplete Date||October 1939|
|Copyright 1||Mitcham News|
|Notes / History||These Mitcham firefighters were volunteer members of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) formed in January 1938 as the political climate in Europe intensified. Over 28,000 firefighters were needed to support the Fire Brigade's 2,500 regular employees and fire stations were set up in schools, garages and factories.
The AFS welcomed those too old or too young to go to war and volunteers were issued with one basic uniform: a steel helmet, rubber boots, trousers and waterproof leggings – although shortages saw some stuck with just Post Office uniforms.
The first targeted air raid on London took place on 7 September 1940 and marked the beginning of the Blitz – a period when London was bombed for 57 nights in a row. Most of the bombings happened at night, meaning firefighters spent long hours extinguishing fires or dealing with explosions. Bombs on warehouses were especially dangerous due to highly flammable products such as alcohol and paint (London Fire Service Website https://www.london-fire.gov.uk)