A recruitment poster for the National Fire Service targeting women during the Second World War.
As the political climate intensified in Europe during the late 1930s, it became clear that in the event of a war the fire service would come under tremendous pressure. The Second World War broke out in 1939 and lasted until 1945.
In anticipation of war an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the formation of a voluntary fire service to supplement the regular Fire Brigade. The Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) formed in January 1938.
The AFS expected that they would need to recruit and train 28,000 firemen to supplement the London Fire Brigade, which only had 2,500 officers and firemen at the time. Since most young men had joined the army, the AFS had to rely on those too old or young for the army. For the first time, women were accepted into the Brigade.