The first photos of the first World War I firefighting squad were taken on February 5, 1916 in London.
The photos show the men, women and children of the Great War’s firefighting unit, the Royal Irish Regiment, who were tasked with taking care of the burning London Fire Brigade in the Battle of Waterloo.
The men in the photos are wearing their distinctive white jackets, which were made of black wool.
They also carry the red-and-white firefighting badge, a symbol of the Royal Navy.
The Royal Irish Fire Service, known as RIFS, was the first British firefighting outfit to be incorporated into the military.
RIFs were tasked to fight fire in London and other parts of England.
The fire fighters had been trained in London during the First World Wars and were tasked by the British to combat fires, including the Great Fire of London, which destroyed much of the city.
Firefighting is one of the most widely used skills in firefighting in modern history.
About 3,500 men, including firefighters, were trained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and were used by the First Army and British Royal Marines to fight fires in the early days of the war.
In 1916, the First Great War saw the start of the First Blitz, a period of intense and widespread looting, arson, fire and destruction in the city of London.
In the weeks and months leading up to the Battle for Waterloo, fires burned at a rate of approximately one a day in the London area.
During the battle, a British army patrol was dispatched to the city to quell the fire.
Firefighters used heavy artillery and small arms fire to control the fires and the soldiers, mostly in uniform, were given special firefighting equipment that included fire fighting helmets, the red and white firefighting badges, and the red handkerchief.
The soldiers were expected to work together with the firefighters in order to extinguish the fires in an orderly fashion.
This was the start and beginning of the world-famous firefighting teams, the Great Britain Fire Brigade and the Royal London Fire Service.
These first photos were taken by a Royal Irish fire fighter, Thomas McConville, who was part of the RIF.
The first Great War firefighting photos can be seen at the British Library.