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London Burning

Geoffrey Blackstone

The Blitz began in September 1940. Night after night the Luftwaffe bombed London, with the docks their main target. Over 500 fire fighters lost their lives in the struggle to put out the fires. The London Fire Brigade was hugely augmented by the recruitment of the Auxiliary Fire Service at the start of the war. In this story, Janet Carew- Finch is sent by her mother from her grand house in Norfolk to do her bit.

Joining the AFS, she was sent to a fire station in Bermondsey where she had to muck in with a band of cockneys. Nicknamed Dicky, her strong sense of duty and adaptability soon made her popular. She was put in charge of a petrol lorry driving to some of the worst fires in the Blitz.


This is the story of a young woman in war-time and the resilience and good humour of the men and women she worked with. It covers life and death; falling in love; and is about grit and determination to win through. 

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ABOUT GEOFFREY BLACKSTONE


Geoffrey Blackstone was born near Stamford, Lincolnshire in 1910. Educated at Uppingham School, he worked for the family engineering company, before joining the London Fire Brigade as a Direct Entry Officer in 1938. He won the George Medal during the Blitz, when he was the Divisional Officer responsible for London south of the river. An auxiliary fire station was bombed at Woolwich, and he worked for four hours with his bare hands, rescuing several people while more bombs fell and the building was in danger of collapse.

Later, he wrote A History of the British Fire Service, published in 1957.