A selection of WWII Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) Badges. Two badges are hand stitched and would have been worn on the breast pocket. The metal badge would have been either worn on a cap or on a button hole.
Due to the shortage of fire stations in the late 1930’s the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) was set up in vacant factories and schools within local areas. This was to provide additional support to the already over stretched fire service. The AFS recruited those that were unable to go to war, or that were too old/young and for the first-time in history women. Some recruits already had paid employment in other jobs and offered their time as unpaid part-time AFS volunteers.
Fighting fires was left to the men while the women became drivers, in the control rooms and administration or preparing food for the men on shift. By 1943 over 70,000 women supported the fire service in these roles.
Due to the different equipment used in each local area the National Fire Service (NFS) replaced the Auxiliary Fire Service to form a more compatible national service in 1941.