Wartime firewoman marks 100th birthday with Worthing firefighters

A woman who served as a Leading Firewoman during the Second World War celebrated her 100th birthday with a visit from firefighters at Worthing Fire Station.

Gladys Jones, who lives at The Shelley in Worthing, was based at Preston Circus in East Sussex from 1941 until 1944.

Her daughters got in contact with firefighters from Worthing Black Watch to see if they were able to come along in a fire engine and celebrate her milestone birthday.

Speaking of the event, Andy Bown, Registered Manager at The Shelley said: “We were delighted when Black Watch agreed to come to The Shelley and offer Gladys their best wishes on her big day.

“They all spoke for ages, exchanging stories from their careers and comparing notes on how things have changed over the past eight decades.”

Gladys was born on January 22, 1922, and began serving with the fire brigade from the age of 19.

Michael Coudray, Crew Manager at Worthing Fire Station added: “It was an absolute honour to meet Gladys on such a special day. Here at Black Watch we all felt so privileged to meet someone that paved the way for us modern day firefighters.

“Gladys’ rank as a Leading Firewoman equivalates to the rank that I currently hold, so I felt particularly connected to her role within the fire service.

“It was a pleasure to hear her stories of serving at such a perilous time. She really is a hero.”

Chief Fire Officer, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, said: “Being a firefighter stereotypically has connotations with being a man’s job. However, Gladys has been proving those stereotypes wrong for over 80 years by helping the residents of Sussex during the very darkest of times.

“No matter how many years go by, Gladys will always be part of our fire family and I am so happy that Worthing Black Watch were able to help make her birthday a day to remember.”

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