Newsreels of female fire fighters, UK WWI and WWII


News reel, silent. 1916 Women fire fighters of Dartford Fire Brigade, Kent - World War One.
Opens with two women in fire brigade uniforms rolling up a fire hose in a street in Dartford, moving toward camera. Several men and boys stand and watch; in background horses and buggies pass in street and we see shop called 'Chamberlain's Limited'. Next, rescue work: a woman lies on blanket in a park seemingly unconscious; the woman fire fighter crawls toward her, straightens out the body, lifts it up over her shoulder and carries her off. Then a moment of just the empty park scene with wall and bench; the fire fighter woman carries the 'injured' woman back and sets her on her feet, starts to lay her down again. Another rescue: a whole group of female fire fighters along with a couple firemen hold a net next to tall building; a body comes flying from high up out of the picture; landing safely in the net. Another 'victim'; a woman who has been standing in a second floor window, doesn't get a chance because the film is cut there. American cataloguer notes "World War One made it necessary to have women workers in many places they'd never been, for example, on the Dartford Fire Brigade". 

Silent news reel. 1916 World War One; home front war work; women. Yet more of the women's fire brigade; practising rescue work.-- Opens with shot of a woman sitting out on a window ledge above a shop front; a rope is stretched from that window to the ground- -looks like she's about to make an escape. Then she starts to lower herself down the rope. Next; shot of another building; with the whole brigade putting on a demonstration out front. Some of them are spraying the building with hoses; while two women are operating the pump for the hoses; and more women are bringing buckets of water to dump in to this pumping device -- a real assembly - line; teamwork project. The fire-fighters stand in a circle; holding a net outside the house; a woman is standing in a 2nd floor window. But before she jumps; someone else who's very daring does; from a higher window; landing on the net and scrambling off. More practice jumps. Finally; a group shot of all the women; with 2 men who taught them standing in back. They all pull off their helmets and wave them; all smiling and cheering; then put them back on. Emergency; firefighting; courage. 

Silent news reel
Women Fire Fighters - at City of London Mental Hospital at Dartford, Kent 1916 .Good shots. Women in uniforms exit building quickly; form line. Women rushing pushing cart w/ fire gear; hurry toward building; others run by in FG w/ ladder. GV as some pull hose to building; others run w/ ladder cart; and raise ladder by windows; woman in FG hooks up pump. CU women setting up ladder; one starts to climb w/ hose. Woman climbs ladder to window. 2 women on ladder raised high; above roof; top woman sprays water from hose over roof. Pan on line of women from earlier shot. GV hospital; woman climbing ladder. Crew push ladder on wheels to another building; raise it; meanwhile; women carry victims out door & lay them on grass outside. 
Another woman climbs ladder w/ hose; pan to woman running pump. GV A woman stands on ground; aiming stream of water onto roof. 2 women climb down ladder. These women look like they know what they're doing.

News reel, with words and sounds. Hose Brigade 1930
Full titles read: "HOSE BRIGADE - Why not Firewomen ? Here's a natty little private fire brigade "manned" by women."Reading, Berkshire. M/S of several firewomen in uniform pulling fire hose trailer in yard. M/S of the women unravelling the hose and spraying water high into the air.

News reel, Fire fighting demonstration for the purpose of recruitment of male and female civilians, 1941. Recruitment? Sign here! Pick up your fire suppression gear. 

News reel. 'Firewomen' gymnasts. 1942
Camera pans across women of auxiliary fire service. Various shots as they give a demonstration with the trailer pump. Various shots as they do physical and gymnastic exercises to keep themselves in shape.

Women's Fire Guard Action, England


  1. American cataloguer notes "World War One made it necessary to have women workers in many places they'd never been, for example, on the Dartford Fire Brigade". Fire Guards

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