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Are you 17? The heroes with grimy faces

posted 14 May 2017, 11:45 by Pat Scott
Before joining the Royal Navy and sailing to Malta, Alan Sandall, our West branch “veteran”, served as a volunteer youngster in the war-time fire service. When he joined at 14, like so many others, it was the AFS, the Auxiliary Fire Service. Then, facing such odds from enemy bombing, the Government forced a National Fire Service, the NFS.

Lucky to live, he wrote an 87 thousand word book telling the story of these men and women whom Winston Churchill called, “The heroes with grimy faces.” Vividly it tells the story from 1938, when men volunteered in case of war, through to the end. All are true incidents, giving a taste of the horrors and hardships.

More than a thousand fire-fighters, including 25 women, lost their lives. Just like the GCIA there is a memorial in London. Close by St Paul’s Cathedral is an eight-foot high bronze sculpture, to remember their heroism. 

Because of the renewed interest in those days, and people keep asking for copies of his book, he has arranged a further reprint. The title is,  Are You 17?  Copies cost £9.50

If GCIA members would like a copy , send a tenner and he will pay the rest of the postage and give £2 for each copy sold to GCIA funds. Alan Sandall, Sherwill, 13 Styles Avenue, Frome, Somerset, BA11 5JN.

(Please respect Alan's privacy and only contact him with regard to this publication, many thanks)