Tuesday, 6 September 2011

16/9/42 - still firefighting at Cannon St House

                                                                                C/O ARP Committee
                                                                                110 Cannon St EC4
                                                                                 Sept 16th 1942
My Dear Ida
                Not having heard from you for some time and not having written, I am dropping you a line to let you know that I am fitter that I have been for years, and I hope that you are both O.K. (Awful Term!) I am really hard at it not only training squads in fire fighting, but also going through a comprehensive first aid course. We have nearly a hundred fire guards in this building which also houses over eighty firstaiders.  About 20 of them are day duty only. We have about 20 girl first aiders, but they are only for day duty. No women act as night fireguards in the City of London and in any case this organisation won’t have them. I am very glad as I don’t want to have the added responsibility of having girls here at night.
I like the work here very much and I am my own master, subject of course to the committee to whom I am answerable. In some ways we have organised ourselves under a military pattern which makes everything work well.
I am legally in charge from 5pm to 8am and any lawful order I give has to be obeyed under penalty of prosecution at the Mansion House for non compliance. Similarly I could be prosecuted if I neglected my duties or was guilty of misbehaviour.
I saw the American Military Marine Detachments in the recent march to the Guildhall and was especially struck by the fine physique, bearing and general smartness of their Marine Corps. One sees thousands of Yankee Soldiers, Officers and other ranks daily in London and I have yet to see one under the influence of liquor – they are a pattern to our own Canadians in this respect. I should be very glad to hear from you when you have time.
Your aff cousin

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