This film is part of Free

National Fire Service

Focusing on the wartime threat to north-west England, this charity appeal salutes the "angels with grimy faces"

Charity appeal 1944 11 mins


The names of Liverpool and Manchester are superimposed over shots of burning buildings in an impactful appeal film from the National Fire Service. Asking whether the viewer remembers the trauma of the Blitz a few years before, the narrator pays tribute to Britain's fire response teams, and even explains the other work they do while on call - which includes manufacturing children's toys.

Unifying a patchwork of locally-run services, the National Fire Service was formed halfway through WWII in response to the aerial bombardment of Britain's cities by the German Luftwaffe. Unsurprisingly, this was the busiest ever period for the nation's firefighters - and Winston Churchill was said to have called them "angels with grimy faces". An act of parliament soon after the end of the global conflict then laid the blueprint for the modern fire and rescue service.