Anthony “Tony” Marshall lost his life in the line of duty on 30th April 1981. His Red Plaque was presented on the 28th April 2022.
Anthony was just 26 years old when he was killed when a building collapsed in the aftermath of a fire at the Woolworth’s branch in Wimbledon. The suspected cause of the fire was arson. Two other firefighters were also trapped and injured in the incident in which Anthony died, but they both survived. He left behind his wife, Cheryl, and his one year old son, John, who was celebrating his first birthday the day that Anthony died. Tragically, only three days earlier, the best man at Anthony’s wedding had been badly burned in a fire he was fighting, receiving injuries he would later die from.
The unveiling event for Anthony’s Red Plaque was attended by his friends and family as well as Andy Fullalove, a former Wimbledon firefighter who built him a memorial garden, Matt Wrack, and Jon Lambe, who all spoke at the unveiling. After the plaque had been revealed on the corner of Gladstone Street in Wimbledon, there was a minute of silence to remember Anthony and all the firefighters who have tragically lost their lives while fighting fires in the UK. Then Fire Brigades Union’s Reverend William Sharpe blessed the plaque with holy water.
Cheryl Marshall, Anthony’s wife, said:
“’Tony was full of life, extremely popular and very much a family man. He was loved by everyone who knew him. He was very kind and caring and it was this nature (and the fact that two of his best friends were firemen) that drew him to the job. He wanted to help people. Sadly, his bravery cost him his life on the very day that he should have been celebrating his baby son’s first birthday. He will always be remembered for the love, fun and laughter that he brought into all our lives.”
Jon Lambe, FBU London regional secretary, said:
“As London firefighters we always want to remember those of our number who died in the line of duty. This plaque will have a prominent place in the local community, close to where Mr Marshall died, and will help ensure that this vital piece of history and sacrifice is never forgotten.”
Commenting, Fire Brigades Union general secretary said Matt Wrack said:
“As firefighters it is vital we commemorate those who came before us and made the ultimate sacrifice. Whenever a firefighter loses their life in the line of duty it is an absolute tragedy and we are glad we can mark the sacrifice of Mr Marshall in this way. The Fire Brigades Union will continue to work to get Red Plaques laid across the country.”
Today, Anthony is remembered fondly by his family, friends, and brothers and sisters in the fire service. Anthony’s Red Plaque was unveiled near the site of the fire in Wimbledon.
Below are memories added by those who knew Anthony Marshall or had a story that they wish to share with you. If you have a tribute for Anthony Marshall that you wish to add, please include your memory below.
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Photo credits: Mark Thomas