Plaque unveiled for Wimbledon firefighter who died in the line of duty

A plaque commemorating a Wimbledon firefighter who died in the line of duty was unveiled today (April 28), near the anniversary of his death and close to the scene of the incident.

Anthony Marshall was just 26 when he was killed and left behind a wife, Cheryl, and a one-year-old son, John. He died on his son’s first birthday.

Cheryl and John attended the unveiling, along with Mr. Marshall’s grandchildren.

Mr Marshall was killed when a building collapsed following a fire, at the Woolworth branch in Wimbledon. The incident took place on April 30, 1981. Arson was suspected as the cause.

Tragically, just three days earlier, the best man at Mr Marshall’s wedding had been badly burned in a fire he was fighting, receiving injuries from which he would later die.

Cheryl Marshall, Anthony’s wife, said:

“’Tony was full of life, extremely popular and very family man. He was loved by all who knew him. He was very kind and caring and it was this nature (and the fact that two of his best friends were firefighters) that drew him to this job. He wanted to help people. Unfortunately, his bravery cost him his life on the very day he should have celebrated his son’s first birthday. He will always be remembered for the love, fun and laughter he brought into all of our lives.

Two other firefighters were also trapped and injured in the incident in which Mr Marshall died, but survived.

The plate that was unveiled is a red plate. The Red Plaque program aims to commemorate firefighters who have died in the line of duty with plaques near where they died and is administered by the Fire Brigades Union.

Andy Fullalove, a former Wimbledon firefighter who built a memorial garden for Mr Marshall, Firefighters Union General Secretary Matt Wrack and London Firefighters Union Regional Secretary Jon Lambe all spoke at the of the unveiling.

Commenting, the general secretary of the firefighters union said Matt Wrack said:

“As firefighters, it is essential that we commemorate those who came before us and who made the ultimate sacrifice. Every time a firefighter loses his life in the line of duty, it is an absolute tragedy and we are happy to be able to mark Mr. Marshall’s sacrifice in this way. The firefighters union will continue to work to have red plaques put up across the country. »

Fire Brigades Union regional secretary in London, Jon Lambe, said:

“As London firefighters, we always want to remember those of us who have died in the line of duty. This plaque will have a prominent place in the local community, near where Mr. Marshall has passed away, and will help ensure that this vital piece of history and sacrifice is never forgotten.

The Red Plaque program is funded by the Firefighter 100 lottery, which is also administered by the Firefighters Union and aims to raise money for worthy causes related to the fire and rescue service. The lottery can be entered at www.firefighters100lottery.co.uk.

The Wimbledon incident was one of many fires at Woolworths premises in the 1970s and 80s, with the high combustibility of some furniture believed to be a factor.

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