London Fire Brigade

Women in the fire service

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Female NFS officer

Woman NFS officer in uniform

Wartime women wore navy woollen suits with either trousers or a skirt. They were also issued with steel helmets for protection and a soft fabric peak cap that was worn around the station.

Women undertook some training, but did not fight fires in the Second World War. They became fire watchers and drivers, managed the communications network and worked in mobile canteen vans.

A rank system for women of the fire service was developed during the war in recognition of their service. This started at leading firewoman and went up to senior area officer. Many women were awarded for their remarkable achievements during this time.

At the end of the war, the majority of women were discharged from the fire service. Some women remained in the NFS and numbers gradually fell until the NFS was disbanded in 1968.

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Did you know

Many of the women who trained for the AFS and NFS had to be taught to drive.


Did you know

By 1943 over 70,000 women had enrolled in the NFS in the United Kingdom.