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How the German plan to fire London was foreseen .and baffled is . revealed recently in" a review by Lieu-tenant-Commander'S. Sladen, who has now retired, from the position of Chief Officer of the London Fire Brigade. "Before the war," the reviewer explains, "it was the practice to issue a map showing the positions plotted of all fires during the year,- serious outbreaks being in some cases special-; ly marked. A reference to the London Fire Brigade maps showed' year after year well-marked fire areas in certain warehouses and manufacturing districts, and* a' relative immunity in purely residential districts. The reports and maps were exchanged with large towns in Europe including Berlin and Hamburg, so that when I received warning in May, 1915, that the Germans were planning air raids on London with incendiary bombs, I naturally the maps, and decided to reinforce!"by motor-pumping engines from other districts the fire stations in the areas where the fires under normal conditions were most, frequent and serious.

"Scarcely, had the arrangements been completed when they were put to- the test. . . . . „

, On the evening of May 31, 1915, th? approach of hostile aircraft was. notil fied, and the special arrangements were put into force; a Zeppelin was approaching London from the coast. "One incendiary bomb fell .in the Shoreditch Empire during the performance, but the fire in the dressingrooms was extinguished by firemen without causing a panic. : . ...- . <

"When the positions in which the \ bombs had fallen were plotted on the' map, it was found that the track of i the. Zeppelin had, followed a boomerang curve passing south-south-east, over >\ Hoxton and . Shoreditch districts,! through Spitalfields, a congested man-"' ufaeturing area,., and then . turned sharply to the east near the bonded : stores in Whitechapel. The track was ■ evidently selected, after considering > the normal experience of fires in London, and was* in fact, over the most dangerous area for. the purpose of fire-: raising. ■■'.'■, ■■■•■. I

By July 9, 90 fire brigades in an area of 750 square miles had been coordinated."

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Bibliographic details

TO BURK LONDON., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9594, 25 April 1919

Word Count

TO BURK LONDON. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9594, 25 April 1919

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