The Romford Recorder reports of an almost forgotten episode that involved the district’s firemen during World War I.
Chris Van-Holby, grandson of one of the men involved, told the newspaper: ‘During World War I, Romford Fire Brigade was called to a fire at a munition factory on the River Thames.
‘The bravery of the Romford crew went unreported until the end of the war but eventually six firefighters were to receive the OBE from the King for the parts they played in rescuing several young women from a munitions factory at Rainham.
‘The building was well ablaze when the Romford crew arrived with their equipment comprising wet cloths to aid breathing, a whistle and a hank of string to keep them together, they removed 12 young women who all survived.
‘Minutes later the factory was blown hundreds of feet into the River Thames.
‘An inquiry found sadly that the cause of the fire was the night watchman smoking a cigarette in the powder room.’
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