“A Long Line of Firefighters………”

One of my Genealogy Goals for 2020 is to take part in the wonderful series of Family History prompts from Amy Johnson Crow, the #52Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge.

This week’s prompt is “Long Line” and I have decided to write about my Maternal Grandfather’s side of the family, who have a number of family members who served and died during active service for the Fire Brigade.

My Grandad, Edward Tom Wootton was a serving member of the Fire Brigade for around 20 years, serving in East London, at Brunswick Road Fire Station, then later serving with the Essex Fire Brigade at Grays Fire Station. He also served throughout WW2, including the blitz and he was one of only a handful of turntable operators, at the time, and had to drive the appliance wherever it was needed.


(Grandad Wootton)

One of his great stories from the Fire Brigade, that he always told to the grand children, was when him and the rest of the lads were playing football one day, when a shout went out. They all ran back got changed and my Grandad drove the appliance in record time, to the incident. They dealt with the Fire and returned to the station, whereby my Grandad was immediately summoned to see the Station Officer. My Grandad was feeling chuffed with himself, thinking he was going to get a pat on the back for getting there so quickly. The Station Officer did give him a pat on the back to start with, for getting there so quickly, which was swiftly followed by “Next time you drive so fast make sure you change out of your bloody  Football Boots first!” In the rush to get there, he’d forgotten to change his boots and still had them on!


(Junior Offcier’s Course 1953)

The fire service must have been in the Wootton blood, as one of Grandad’s Sister’s, was a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service during WW2. His Sister Winifred Alexandra Wootton served with the AFS and sadly she lost her life in 1941 during a raid in the blitz.


(Winifred Alexandra Wootton)

This incident at The Old Palace School saw the sad loss of 32 Firemen and 2 Fire Women who were tragically killed during this bombing raid. This is still today, the largest loss of Fire Brigade personnel, at one incident, in the History of the service.

I have written a previous blog about the Old Palace School bombing incident which can be found here;

The Old Palce School Bombing Part 2

Now you might think that, this is where my own “Long Line” ends and my families connections with the Fire Service ends. Far from it.

I myself have worked in the Oil Industry for over 35 years and during that time I spent 20 years as an Auxiliary Fireman, although not making the regular brigade, I was proud to serve 20 years and follow in the footsteps of some of my Ancestors, I even earned myself a long service medal, in keeping with the “Long Line” theme!


Look closely and you might recognise somebody!!!

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15 thoughts on ““A Long Line of Firefighters………”

  1. We need your firefighting family here on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia right now. Bushfires have devastated our region and destroyed communities. Many lessons have emerged. One of them is that firefighters make amazingly heroic contributions towards public safety. Thank you for sharing this fascinating post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I seem to be a bit of a genetic throwback. I didn’t understand where I fitted into the family patterns until I investigated the broader family tree. Once I had done, I had realised I really wasn’t that much of a family rebel. The fire service is such an amazing thing to be part of.


      1. Something wierd happened last week. One of my youngsters started talking about buying a property one day in a country they had never visited. They had no idea, that they actually had strong ancestral ties to the area. Somehow I had neglected to tell them. I had forgotten till somebody else told them. I could not believe it.


  3. What a wonderful post Paul. Great photo’s and a family legacy of public servants. I was sad to read the sad report on Winifred ~ may her memory be a blessing! My husbands stepfather (who raised him) was a fire fighter and you got me thinking – I don’t think we have one photo of him in uniform or serving hmmmmm I need to investigate that.


    1. ThanksSharon, it was thanks to this post that somebody actually contacted me a week or so with a lot more information and photographs surrounding the death of poor Aunt Winifred. So keep an eye out for an updated story. You will have to get digging for a picture of your husbands step father in uniform now as well, let me know if you find one.


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