Following a formal invitation from the London Fire Brigade, On Tuesday 16th July 2019, A small team assembled at Romford to prepare 240 for the major event the following day. It was important that the appliance was presented in the best possible way as it had been one of the original vehicles used 50 years ago for carrying one of the 5 coffins on the final journey of the firemen who had lost their lives at the terrible disaster which occurred at Dudgeons Wharf, in Silvertown, East London in July 1969. a disaster unsurpassed since the end of world war 2.
The team set about cleaning,polishing and testing 240FLM in preparation for its most significant event to date and following a full day of preparation,one of the crew remained on site to utilise 240FLM in support of the London Fire Brigade cadets with their pass-out ceremony,this was greatly appreciated.
The following day, 17th July and just before 10am, the appliance, with a crew of 5, gently departed Romford and began its historic journey to the ceremonial site located on the north side of the Thames, adjacent to Sextant Ave, E14 3DX,found almost opposite the current 02 Arena. on the Greenwich Peninsula. On arrival at the ceremonial site, 3 crew were dropped off and the appliance then relocated to nearby "Masthouse Pier" to liaise with the London Fire Brigade Fireboat `Fire flash`, where we would collect The Bishop of London - the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, the London Fire Brigade Chaplain - Mia Hilborn and London Fire Brigade Assistant Deputy Commissioner Andy Roe, to convey them back to the memorial site. There was a definite `Wow` factor as the guests left the Fireboat and walked up the jetty towards 240FLM, and, as she came into view. Assistant Deputy Commissioner Andy Roe commented how amazing the appliance looked, and thanked us for all the hard work which has been undertaken to get her restored, and the generosity of the volunteers from 240 who took time out of their lives to bring the appliance along. Stephanie Maltman from `Firemen Remembered` read out the history of the wharf and Tom George (Deputy Commissioner & Director of Operations London Fire Brigade) conveyed warm and heartfelt sentiments to the guests. Terry Breen, son of fireman Terrance Breen did a reading - `The Baton`, by Anna Wigley. Matt Wrack, Fire Brigade Union, then unveiled the new red plaque followed by its dedication by the Bishop of London, using a cup of water from Millwall`s appliance which was also in attendance. Mia Hillborn read Psalm 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd) and finally, London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton remembered those who lost their lives:
Those London Firemen* were : T/Sub O Michael Gamble-Millwall Fire Station (now closed) Fireman John Appleby -Brunswick Road Fire Station (now closed) Fireman Terrance Breen -Brunswick Road Fire Station (now closed) Fireman Trevor Carvosso- Cannon Street Fire Station (now closed Fireman Alfred Smee-Millwall Fire Station. and one civilian employee: Richard Adams from the A&R Metal Company.
A minutes silence was then held, when the standards were lowered, followed by "We will remember them" The Bishop of London read a blessing followed by consecutive wreath laying by many of the attending guests and dignitaries.
Bagpiper, LFB Sub Officer, Alan Sheridan played the Firefighters Lament whilst The fireboat "Firefly" also produced an impressive water tribute. A moving and emotional day made all the more so as 2 of the crew of 240FLM Trevor Barnwell and Peter Russell had also been in attendance at the original funeral. in fact,Peter Russell our group chairman, had driven 240FLM with the coffin containing the fallen fireman, Trevor Carvosso, on his last journey.
* The term "Fireman" is used in its historical context for this article. Today, the term "Firefighter" is used to describe staff serving in this profession.
Please note all images are copyright. no unautorised copying or reproduction is permitted. The crew: Trevor Barnwell, (Station Officer) Colin Farrington, (Station Officer) Gary Quinnell, (Station Officer) Peter Russell, ( Sub Officer), David Porter. ( Group member).
The original scene before the tragedy
July 18th 1969, the day after the tragedy
The coffin of Fm Trevor Carvosso being loaded onto 240FLM.
July 23rd 1969, arriving at the East London cemetery.