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When I am called to duty, God, wherever flames may rage, give me strength to save a life, whatever be its age. Help me embrace a little child before it is too late, or save an older person from the horror of that fate. Enable me to be alert, and hear the weakest shout, quickly and efficiently to put the fire out. I want to fill my calling, to give the best in me, to guard my friend and neighbour, and protect his property. And if according to Your will I must answer death's call, bless with Your protecting hand, my family one and all. Author A.W. "Smokey" Linn

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The Children Scout Reginald Henry Lewis Barrett Cadet David Stanley Brunning Cadet Eric Edward Cheesman Leslie George Neale Cadet Leonard Charles Searles Cadet & Scout Ivor Douglas Weston Sinden Scout William Herbert Jack Spinks Robert Dennis Usher Scout Leonard Gordon Winn The Men Fireman Francis Bull Cokayne Royal George Mitchell Fireman Albert Joseph Nicholls Fireman Arthur John Tabrett Petty Officer John Thomas Nutton Frederick Arthur Worrall

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At the start of the zoth century a summer fete was held annually in Gillingham Park, in aid of St Bartholomew's Hospital Fund. The finale was always a rescue and fire-fighting demonstration by the men of Gillingham Fire Brigade. Local men, naval cadets and sea scouts, dressed as a wedding party, would enter a purpose built wooden tower. Gillingham Fire Brigade would then rescue them, showing their skills. Once the party were safely out of the tower, a real fire would be lit, to allow the fire brigade to demonstrate their fire-fighting abilities. On Thursday 11July, 1929 the demonstration went tragically wrong. Once the party were in the tower, flames were seen at the base of the building. The spectators, who included many relatives of the people inside the tower, didn't realize that this was not part of the demonstration and that the screams from the occupants were real. It was only when figures engulfed in flames, and illuminated by a searchlight, started leaping from the roof that the reality of the situation hit them. Despite extinguishing the fire quickly, everyone who was brought out was either dead or would die within a few days. Nine boys between the ages of 10 and 14 were among the fifteen victims, which also included three local men and three firemen.
(Arc Creative Design)

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Commemorative visit & wreath laying At the graves of Cadet Leonard Charles Searles Fireman Albert Joseph Nicholls Petty Officer John Thomas Nutton Welcome and opening prayer At the graves of Scout Eric Cheesman, Cadet & Scout Ivor Sinden, Cadet David Brunning, Leslie Neale, Scout Leonard Winn, Scout Reginald Barrett, Scout William Spinks, Robert Usher, Fireman Francis Cokayne, Frederick Worrall, Royal Mitchell and Fireman Arthur Tabrett Hymn An account of the tragedy By John Thomas ElIson, Grandson of John Thomas Nutton Scripture Reading & address By Reverend Jonathan Jennings Hymn Wreath laying & commemorative words by family members, 5th Gillingham Scouts & The Kent Fire & Rescue Service, North Kent Group Final blessing & closing hymn

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11:00 am Gillingham Park reception for relatives Refreshments with the Worshipful Mayor of Medway Local historian and author Philip MacDougall Will give talks on Gillingham at Work, Rest and Play in 1929 11:30 am Remembrance Parade The Medway Towns Sea Cadets Unit The 5th Gillingham (St. Augustine's) Scouts, Kent Fire & Rescue Service, North Kent Group Chatham Royal Naval Association Salute taken by the Mayor of Medway 11:45 am The Fireman's Prayer Recited by Robert Wilkinson Former Firefighter & Fire Brigade Historian 11:50 am Address by the Worshipful Mayor of Medway Councillor Ted Baker Address by Lori Oschefski Researcher & Campaign leader Cousin of Eric Edward Cheesman Unveiling of the Memorial By the Mayor of Medway Councillor Ted Baker Exhibits running throughout the event will include Fire Service Preservation Group Life in the Fire Service of 1929 The Kent Family History Society Medway Advice on starting your family history & bookstall Philip MacDougall- Gillingham in 1929 at Work, Rest and Play Speaking at 12:10 to 12:30, 12:40 to 1:00 Kent Fire & Rescue Service, North Kent Group Memory Sheets by Lori Oschefski Tea & Cake available at the Cancer Research UK Stall
<Art work on rhis page provided


'm:bebebication of tbe following babe mane tobap po~~ib(e
The Mayor & Mayoress of Medway, Councillor Ted and Mrs Sylvia Baker The Medway Council Christopher Valdus Greenspace Development Manager - Medway Council Clare Lanes Greenspace Development Officer - Medway Council Susan Harding Senior Events Officer - Medway Council Lori Oschefski Researcher & Campaign Leader Her research of and commitment to, this historical event and subsequent campaigning for recognition of the victims and the placement of a memorial has been instrumental in bringing to fruition, today's event. Elaine Nutton Event Planner & Family Coordinator Niece of John Thomas Nutton Special thanks for all her hard work and commitment in making this day possible. The family members of the victims for their support and contributions. And also sincere thanks to the following North Kent Group Kent Fire & Rescue Service The 5th Gillingham Scouts Kent Family History Society Medway Branch Gillingham Library John Sullivan Colin Haggart Mark Phillips John Meakins Brent Wigley David Lawrence Ian Spreadborough Alan William Collins Hazel Smith (Plewis family) Paul Jackson The Kent Fire & Rescue Service Museum Medway Towns Sea Cadets Unit Fire Service Preservation Group Reverend Jonathan Jennings Royal Engineers Museum Cancer Research UK Volunteers Bill Wigley Geoff Gillion Christine Sandman Robert Wilkinson Philip MacDougall Gayle Oschefski Linda Bridge Chris Ford Mark Power

c1919 Eric Edward Cheesman with his father Edward Cheesman who died in 1933. Reunited forever
Unveiling ceremony planned and organized by The Medway Council, Lori Oschefski and Elaine Nutton Programme designed and sponsored by Lori Oschefski of Barrie, Ontario, Canada