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My grandfather was an auxiliary fireman and died on 12th December 1940 in the blitz on duty. I am trying to find out more information on what happened. Know he was on duty and want to find out more on what actually took place. Can anyone advise where to get more info?

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Hi Heldon, My wife's uncle, Arthur Moore was an AFS fireman killed in the blitz of night of 12th/13 Dec 1940. One other fireman died in the same incident called John William Swaby - was that your grandad?

An account of the incident is

AFS Fireman Jack Gee wrote:

On Thursday, 12th December, 1940. I was on duty at Archer Road Fire Station and we were turned out to the City centre. At that time I was living in the neighbourhood around St. Mary's Church at the bottom of The Moor. As we drove down London Road, I could see that all that area had been flattened by bombs. I couldn't help worrying about my wife and wondering whether she was safe. But there was nothing I could do about it.

We were fighting fires at Moorhead when our machine took a direct hit from a bomb. Those of the crew who were not killed outright were badly injured. As I lay on the pavement trying to recover my senses, I realised that my left arm was in a terrible state. Eventually someone pulled me away to the shelter of the doorway of the Empire Theatre. Then I was taken down to an air raid shelter. I was there about three hours and the people in the shelter covered me up. I was suffering from shock and cold. A woman actually sent her fur coat down to cover me up but I sent it back. After two or three hours, some people enquired if any injured firemen were there. It was the ambulance men and they put me on a stretcher in a loading bay. In actual fact we came through the loading bay of Burton's the Tailors to get onto the road itself, which was Porter Street. Then one man came back and told us to hang on a minute as the Germans were machine gunning.

We stayed in the loading bay for a few minutes and we could hear machine gun bullets hitting the brickwork. By this time we could not hear any of our anti-aircraft guns firing from the gun sites around the city. They had probably run out of ammunition. They were all silent after about two o'clock and the planes were coming over unmolested.

They finally got me into an ambulance which was parked on The Moor. There was a girl in the ambulance of about eighteen years old. She was with the ambulance crew and sat in the ambulance all the time. We went down The Moor and practically the whole of The Moor was ablaze. We twisted and turned and I found out that the driver had to detour and go up so many streets to try and get down The Moor. Eventually we went up Ecclesall Road to get to the Royal Hospital (situated on Devonshire Street and now demolished). The girl sat there all the time. She was as cool as anything and never budged.

When we arrived at the Royal Hospital, we entered at the back entrance in Eldon Street. All the windows were out and the nurses were moving about with hand torches. They were trying to find out where everybody was. They told the ambulance men to take me on to Jessops Hospital but the ambulance men told them that there was no chance of getting up there. While they were arguing, I heard a voice saying, 'I know who you are, but where are you from?' I realised that they were talking to Bill Jones, another crew member, who had been picked up at the top of The Moor and had arrived just before me. So I put them right as to where he was from.

At about 4 o'clock in the morning, they were able to put the lights on in the hospital. I looked around me and saw that there were rows and rows of beds and stretchers toe to toe, all jam packed together. They were taking the most serious cases first. These were put on a table and given a general anaesthetic, using ether. After my operation I came to in a bed with my left arm stuck out like a birdcage.

The next day Bill and I expected people to come from the station, but no-one came. We finished up in a ward with four other firemen but were unable to find out anything from anyone.

(AFS Fireman Arthur Moore aged 28 & John William Swaby aged 38 were the fireman killed by the hit on the fire engine which Jack Gee as on).

Regards, John

Edited by johnpm

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A proper Sheffield story John! perhaps those two lads killed defending our City can get a plaque on the pavement out side the Town Hall.

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Thanks for the reply. Your wife's uncle died on Burgess street. My grandfather died on Charles street according to the records. Am trying to find out if my grandfather died instantly or not and also find details of the guy who looks to have died with him. His name is below. My grandfather was Stanley Slack. Have pasted details I have found.

Arthur Moore 28 Fireman/Driver Auxiliary Fire Service, died on 12th December 1940 at Burgess Street.

 

Fredrick Parkes-Spencer 36 Fireman; Sheffield Police Fire Brigade, died on 12th December 1940 at Charles Street.

 

Stanley Slack 29 Fireman; Auxiliary Fire Service, died on 12th December 1940 at Charles Street.

Reason for search is my mum is trying to find out about him as she never knew him as she was 16 months old when he'd died. Also is 75th anniversary next year so trying to find as much info on him as possible for us both.

 

---------- Post added 02-02-2014 at 14:46 ----------

 

Cuttsie. There is a plaque which was in the old division street fire station. Since it was demolished cannot find where it has gone to. Lovely idea for pavement

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Hi Heldon, Have you got his death certificate? Arthur's says nothing really except cause of death was "due to war operations" but Stanley's may have more detail

John

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Says exactly the same. Thanks for the reply

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My grandfather was an auxiliary fireman and died on 12th December 1940 in the blitz on duty. I am trying to find out more information on what happened. Know he was on duty and want to find out more on what actually took place. Can anyone advise where to get more info?

I still have what is left of my late Fathers WWII fireman's axe when he served as an auxiliary during the WWII

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Hi there.

thanks for your response. What was his name? Did he die on Charles Street?

 

Regards

Helen

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Hi there.

thanks for your response. What was his name? Did he die on Charles Street?

 

Regards

Helen

He survived the war and died in 1990

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What was his name and what was his station he was based at?

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What was his name and what was his station he was based at?

Cecil Swift born 1914 I believe he was stationed at West Bar.

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