On Thursday 2 November 2023, at 11:00, there was a Red Plaque ceremony to honour Fireman Cyril George Dutton who lost his life in the line of duty on 29 November 1940.
Attendees met inside Chester Town Hall at 11:00 where they received:
Welcome from the Lord Mayor of Chester
Fireman’s Prayer- Canon Jane Brooke, Chester Cathedral
Address - Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union (FBU)
History and Eulogy - Tony Jones, Watch Manager (retd), Chester Fire Station
Prayers - Canon Jane Brooke, Chester Cathedral
Following the Town Hall ceremony, attendees walked to Foregate Street for the unveiling and dedication of the Red Plaque.
The event was attended by Cyril's family, the Lord Mayor of Chester, FBU representatives and firefighters and officers from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. A vintage fire engine was there and a piper led the procession to Foregate Street.
Cyril George Dutton was born in Chester on 26 February 1915. He joined the ranks of the newly-formed Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) in 1939 until he was called up for military service in the Royal Army Service Corps. Attaining the rank of Lance Corporal, Cyril was seconded to the AFS as a full-time auxiliary fireman, a secondment for just one month (1-30 November 1940).
On the evening of 28 November, a night when 21 high explosive bombs, two parachute mines and 168 incendiaries were dropped on Chester, and although Cyril was rostered to be off-duty, he went to ‘see what the lads have got’. He ran to the fire station and donned his kit before running to an incident off Foregate Street, where the Commercial Hall was seriously involved in fire. At around 23:30 there was a serious collapse of masonry and Cyril, along with Fm John William Haynes, was seriously injured. Both were taken to Chester Royal Infirmary and, while Fm Haynes survived, Cyril’s injuries were later to prove fatal.