Thread: 29th December 1940
12-29-2007, 07:19 PM #1
29th December 1940
Its 67 years tonight since the Luftwaffe launched their devastating Raid on the City of London... Of course the Capital and in particular the East End had been getting a nightly battering since September 7th that year...but the City Raid was the one that nearly wiped out the enitre Centre of the Capital in a firestorm.
I found myself in the City tonight, so I stopped and spent some time at the Firefighters memorial opposite St Paul's... As I stood there I heard the ear splitting noise of High Explosive Bombs dropping, felt the ground shudder beneath me, that sting so many of us know from smoke affected eyes and the strong smell of burning wood. I heard the deep throaty crackle of a large fire consuming a building and felt my skin tighten from the radiated heat. Suddenly a flash stirred me...I was back in 2007 and a Tourist had just taken a photo of the memorial.
As I surveyed the modern steel and glass structures that surround the Cathedral in the Financial Capital of the World, I was in awe of how this great City survived that night and so many other long fiery nights during that period. I thought of the Brave souls... now almost all gone to a better place... who beyond all hope managed to save the Cathedral that night and those Firemen who are among only a few in History who can...with a little help from nature... claim to have prevented a Firestorm.
Very little remains to remind us of those times...The buildings there now are the second generation, built in the last decade or so to replace those that were built on the ruins in the decades after the Blitz. The Cathedral is of course still there and some of the Buildings that managed to avoid the Bombs are still there...particularly in a small area immediately south west of the Cathedral in Ludgate Hill.
But as I looked up at the Statue...looking at the image of Cyril Demarne...on this, the first 29th December since the raid that he is no longer here to see... I realised it is not about the buildings, or the statue...it is about the people. London is her people...her fortunes have ebbed and flowed with the tides of the Thames for more than 2000 years.... and as sad that it was, that among the hundreds of tourists and passers by there tonight the only person who seemed to remember, a person who wasn't even born until 20 odd years after that night, I realised that the fact that people from every corner of this earth come to visit this City and are free to walk the streets once strewn with red hot debris, craters and carpets of tangled fire hose, is testament enough to what those people did on that night and the other nights throughout WW2 when this magnificent City burned.
I waited a few more minutes, I strained against the ambient noise to here for a sign of that night or ghosts to appease... but there was nothing, I offered a prayer to the memory of the Wartime Firemen and women recorded on that memorial and every other Firefighter who has died since... and walked away secure in the knowledge they live on in us all.
12-29-2007, 09:15 PM #2
- Join Date
- May 2002
- Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
Very nice, Steve. Thanks for sharing with us.September 11th - Never Forget
I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.
IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
RAY WAS HERE FIRST
12-30-2007, 12:49 AM #3
Yeah, thanks Steve. And it looks like something else I have to look up when I finally get back to the city of my birth!
12-30-2007, 06:14 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jan 2003
- Canuck Expat May be anywhere
Thank you Steve
Thanks for sharing that with us all Steve.
My grandfathers brother was a firefighter in London throughout the War. I've no idea if he was there that particular night or not. Hes long since passed on but I have a tie and tie tack from the London Fire Brigade he gave me shortly after I joined the fire service in Canada. It will be passed down to my son who is in the process of joining the fire service now.
It is beyond comprehension for most of us what they faced and what they accomplished throughout the blitz. Truly epitomise the slogan " All gave some, Some gave all"
12-30-2007, 02:03 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jan 2003
Ok.... we get it... You used to have a few fires in London... What have you done lately?I am a complacent liability to the fire service
12-30-2007, 04:05 PM #6
12-30-2007, 05:22 PM #7
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
Dont you wish we had some leaders cut from the same cloth as Churchill?
12-30-2007, 08:04 PM #8
Nicely done Steve.If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?
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