Memorials to WW2 firefighters unveiled at site of former fire station at Rathbone Street

Two memorial plaques commemorating members of the Auxillary Fire Service have now been unveiled on the site of a former fire station in Rathbone Street this month, following a memorial service held earlier this year.

Plaque on wall.
AFS London plaque next to 7-9 Rathbone Street remembers the seven firefighters who died in 1940, and the bravery of Harry Errington who survived and rescued others.

On the night of 17 and 18 September 1940, Soho’s AFS substation 72Z at Jackson’s Garage, 7-9 Rathbone Street in Fitzrovia was directly hit by a bomb, partly demolishing the building and killing civilians, as well as seven firefighters.

An AFS London plaque now marks the site where auxiliary fireman Alfred George Abrahart, auxiliary fireman Arthur Batchelor, leading auxiliary fireman Jack Bathie, leading auxiliary fireman George Bowen, auxiliary fireman Robert William George, auxiliary fireman Benjamin Mansbridge, and auxiliary fireman Myer Wand all died.

The plaque also honours Harry Errington, an AFS firefighter who survived the blast and rescued others from the burning building and was awarded the George Cross for his actions.

Plaque on wall.
Errington was the son of Soloman and Bella Ehrengott (nee Carp) who were Jewish immigrants from Lublin, Poland.

His bravery is also honoured with second plaque, placed by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, and the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, Stamford Hill and Hackney Branch.

Errington was the son of Soloman and Bella Ehrengott (nee Carp) — Jewish immigrants from Lublin in Poland. They had arrived in the UK in 1908 and went to live in Poland Street in Soho. They Anglicised their name to Errington when Harry was born. He went to the Westminster Jewish Free School in Hanway Place, and lived and worked in the West End the whole of his life, including a great number of years living at Bedford Court Mansions on Bedford Avenue — only a short walk from Rathbone Street.

The plaques were unveiled in November following a memorial service in September.