Location: City of Toronto N 43.65229 W -79.38157
Inside Old City Hall, 60 Queen Street West.
Outside of the Old City Hall is the famous Toronto Cenotaph, but just behind the huge granite memorial, head inside the beautiful classic building, go past the second set of doors, look to your left to see this and two other plaques dedicated to those from the city who served during the Great War.
The plaque was erected after World War I by the Toronto Firefighters' Association. Research is continuing on the history of the plaque and will be updated once I have more information. The photos and information I have come from Al Thomas of the Toronto Firefighters War Veterans Association, who continue to support and promote military veterans of the Toronto Fire Service provide a Colour Guard that can be seen in many local parades. Thank you to Al Thomas and the TFFWVA for allowing me to highlight their memorial plaque and their great work.
The complete story of the Toronto Firefighters War Veterans Association can be found on their website: https://www.tffwva.ca/
I have reproduced part of that history here with an excerpt from their webpage"
Historical Toronto Firefighter War Veteran Information for World Wars I and II
Many Toronto Firefighters enlisted to serve England during World War I, with many volunteering their services during 1915. One Toronto Firefighter, Captain Charles O. Ardagh of the Rose Avenue Hall, enlisted in 1916 despite the fact that he was eligible for his pension and retirement. Captain Ardagh, it is noted, volunteered not just to serve his country but because he was ‘lonesome for his own two boys who had enlisted as well.’ Firefighters who died overseas are commemorated in a plaque which was erected by the Toronto Firefighters’ Association Local 113 at ‘Old City Hall,’ 60 Queen Street West. Department records show that
five firefighters were killed in France sometime between 1914 and 1918. They were: F.D. Fisher, Clarence Kerrigan, Walter Parker, A. Caskie* and Ed Blake* (* These men do not appear on the memorial plaque but are referenced in the 1960 Toronto Fire Department History Book written by Melville Hodgson as having died in France during 1914-18).
Twenty-three Toronto Firefighters enlisted overseas during World War II to assist England during the Blitz. Their mandate was to extinguish fires and to protect both life and property in case of fire in Great Britain, Isle of Man, and Northern Ireland, on land and ships and vessels at sea. It also included both rescue and salvage. These men, serving in Companies 1 to 8, upon arriving in the UK partook in a 4-week training course in various aspects of firefighting. After training was completed, Britain’s National Fire Service withdrew from their stations and they were staffed entirely by Canadians (143 Professional Firefighters from across Canada enlisted). Canadian Firefighters then attended all lull-time fires, as well as any blitz fires. They participated in normal life in England, complete with social and sporting events. Canadian Firefighters were regarded very highly on the fireground as well, and it was noticed by one Fire Chief that the Canadians were always ready to volunteer for any sticky, dirty job … and they were never happier than when on the fireground.
While in England, there were a few casualties to the Corps members and many injuries. When the war ended, most Firefighters returned home to their previous departments. Prior to their departure a farewell party was thrown for them in Trafalgar Square and were paid tribute for saving British lives and property. By February 1945 the men were back in Canada, along with 20 British brides. It is interesting to note that while these Toronto Firefighters were in England, Auxiliary Firefighters
took their place back in Toronto; after the war the Auxiliary Fire Service was disbanded.
1914 T.F.D. 1918
TO THE HONOUR OF THOSE OF
THE TORONTO FIRE FIGHTERS' ASS'N.
WHO SERVED IN THE GREAT WAR
AND IN MEMORY
OF THOSE OF THEIR NUMBER
WHOSE LIVES WERE SACRIFICED.
KILLED IN ACTION
FISHER, F.G. KERRIGAN, C.W.
SERVED IN FRANCE
FLEMMING, W. M.M.
McGOWAN, W.M. M.M.
YEATES, C. D.C.M.
SERVED IN ENGLAND
SERVED IN CANADA
LIVETH FOR EVERMORE."
ERECTED BY THE TORONTO FIRE FIGHTERS' ASSOCIATION.