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Last surviving fireman to be reunited with World War II engine

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The last surviving fireman to have worked during the Sheffield Blitz is to be reunited with the fire engine which attended the episode, at a special event this weekend.

99-year old former fireman Doug Lightning is to unveil the star exhibit at the new Sheffield Blitz exhibition which opens this weekend (18 February 2017) at the National Emergency Services Museum.

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The historic Leyland vehicle (pictured) was rushed into the city from nearby Barnsley on 12 December, 1940 - the first night of the Sheffield Blitz. The fire engine was alongside Doug Lightning and hundreds of his colleagues as they battled to save the burning city over two nights of intense German bombing. The engine survived the war and became a permanent fixture of Sheffield Fire Brigade until it was retired from the service in the last 1950s.

Doug will be joined at the exhibition launch by ‘Sheffield's Date With Hitler' author, Neil Anderson, who started campaigning six years for the city of Sheffield to commemorate the attacks. In November 2015, Neil - together with project manager Richard Godley and heritage interpreter Bill Bevan - successfully secured £81,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The exhibition will contain rare and original Blitz-related objects and photos, World War II emergency vehicles, oral history recordings from survivors, film footage, and the fire brigade's original map of bomb sites across the city. 

A Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trail, the first part of which will be unveiled in the comint months, will form the centre-piece of the 2.5 year Heritage Lottery Funded project with up to 12 sites around the city centre earmarked for the installation of permanent memorial plaques.

National Emergency Services Museum, Old Police/Fire Station, West Bar, Sheffield S3 8PT; website.

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