Just after Christmas, the distinctive wail of an air-raid siren will once again echo out across the City of London.

To mark the 75th Anniversary of the biggest “Blitz” raid on London — The Second Great Fire of London — The City of London has given permission for an air raid siren to be sounded at 18:05 on 29 December.

This will be followed by an escorted “Blitz Turnout” when WWII vintage fire appliances will leave Dowgate Fire Station (Lower Thames Street) and circuit the City “on the bell”.

Update: May now be a hand-cranked siren rather than a big one, due to concerns about people being worried by the sound.

The vintage fire engines will be on display earlier in the day, from 10:30am outside the front of St Paul’s Cathedral.

There will also be events at Dowgate Fire Station at 1pm, where fireboat Massey Shaw expects to pump water from the Thames through its deck outlets and from its iconic main monitor which can produce 3,000 gallons per minute at 100psi.

Massey Shaw served the London Fire Brigade during the Blitz period (1940 – 1941) and is credited with helping to save St Paul’s Cathedral after significant bombing to the surrounding areas.

Due to water mains being damaged during the raids Massey Shaw’s significant pumping capacity was utilised to pump water from the River Thames up the street towards the land based units to help put out the fires.

Massey can pump water continuously for up to 36 hours on one tank of diesel and was used by the London Fire Brigade between 1935 and 1971.

The Massey Shaw is seeking to raise £750 to support running costs for this event. Any companies, organisation or individuals who wish to sponsor this event can contact info@masseyshaw.org for further information.

The famous photograph, St Paul’s Survives, was taken from the roof of the Daily Mail building by Herbert Mason on the night of the 29th December, during the air raid being remembered on this event. During the raid when the photograph was shot, more than 160 people died, over 500 were injured, and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.

The rest of the events are being organised by the Fire Service Preservation Group.


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  1. Eddie Alicoon says:

    I only wish my health would allow me to get out of London whilst the air raid warnings go off. Still get that sinking feeling every time I hear them on TV.

    • Mark Joseph says:

      Fear not!

      There are no sirens left in London. they were all removed in 1996 (apart from 1 or 2 that are too difficult to remove a destroy) I saved one. It is in my garage.

      I understand they are bringing 1 old siren to the event. Unless you live within 1/2 mile of it, you wont hear it.

    • Iris Simmons says:

      I understand what you mean Eddie. I think it is the most insensitive thing ever ! No way to celebrate the Peace, or to commemorate the dead.

  2. Bonny Cannon says:

    Totaly unnecessary due to the crisis at the moment. I can remember the sound during the war as will many older people and will bring back harrowing memories. No No No !

  3. k woolley says:

    I think remembrance is important and will endeavour to attend with our Granddaughter ,the younger generation are our future and hopefully will not repeat our mistakes.
    This event needs to be pre- publicised on TV and radio to prevent “fear” in those who still remember the sirens.

  4. Rick says:

    Although I favour remembering such events I am a little uneasy about the siren being sounded. As well as some older people finding it unnerving it might cause wider concern amongst the general public. In these tense times it might well result in calls to the emergency services. A case for reconsidering I suggest.

  5. No I don’t like air raid siren the hurt my eras

  6. Rembemrence day it a good idear for ir

  7. highburyh says:

    I can clearly remember the sirens in the 1970s we had to go to the school roof…

  8. DerekClark says:

    I think it’s a good idea to remember the fire crews who fought the London Blitz. Not enough recognition s given to the fire crews for their contribution to saving London.

    Both my uncles were in the Auxiliary Fire Service. My uncle Rob MacQuire served on the Massey Shaw, my other uncle was a dispatch rider.
    I can remember the air sirens as a child of 5 years. It certainly wont upset me to hear it again.

  9. I lived through the bombing, the smell of burning, my sister being born in the shelter at the bottom of the garden, she was Christened Margaret “Anderson” Johnson. I can still hear the fire engines, now everything is turned into an event. I prefer to keep such things private.

  10. VC says:

    Remembering the firefighters that fought to save lives while bombs fell around them, is an event worth holding. Don’t grumble about this event – trash the vacuous ones! And those firefighters were just as haunted by sirens and what they witnessed as the rest of you.

    I remember the crew of the Massey around 1989-90 and would like to be there in memory of Tom Bell. I’m glad the Massey’s still going.

  11. June burgess says:

    I wish I was well enough to be in London on 29th I was only three when the war ended but the sirens still make me feel sick and terrified l recently moved from London and I miss it my father got killed in the war and my uncles were fire fighters and one was in d day landing but the fire fighters did a wonderful job on the home front they don’t get enough recognition we owe our lives to them and the fire spotters

  12. Des collings says:

    Sad to hear that it may be a hand cranked siren, due to concerns of people who MAY hear it and wonder what it is, or MAY remind our senior citizens who lived through the blitz and MAY bring back memories. But given the fact as mentioned earlier, if you live over half a mile from it, I doubt you will hear it. How about all the tv films that are shown most days, which include the siren noise, and the very popular dad’s army,which featured a siren sounding at the end of every episode, did it upset them then or was it banned ? No it wasn’t. I for one was going to attend to show my respects to the brave fire fighters and people of London who suffered in the blitz. I’m now having second thoughts of attending..

  13. dean says:

    I herad it was the same no idear how they are going to set the air siren of and there is war planes to and pepole MIT be scared plasie the queen and Prince Harry his wife and son mite not like the fact of an air raid siren going of

  14. Janis says:

    Are you sure about this??
    Nothing on the city of London website, nothing on the London fire brigade website, nothing in time out, in fact nothing anywhere in the media to say this is happening!!!

  15. Nobody says:

    We travelled over 100 miles to attend the event – waited in the cold – all for nothing!!!

  16. Some friends and I went to this event, but in the end, it was only a hand-cranked siren and if you weren’t concentrating, you missed it! But the vintage fire engines were beautifully maintained and the people staffing them were incredibly friendly and chatty. We had a wonderful time!

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