In this newreel from 1937, the Royal Air Force at Cranwell practice putting out fires.
The fire engine they arrive in is a very curious design. But rather worryingly, two of the men are wearing asbestos suits!
At the time asbestos was a prized fire retardant. No one realised it was a deadly material that causes an untreatable form of cancer. I’ve personally known two older women with mesothelioma, showing how prevalent and dangerous this terrible material was. In 2019, the Health and Safety Executive estimated that 5,000 people a year in the UK from asbestos-caused cancers.
RAF Firefighting Display (1937) – British Pathé (YouTube)
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