John Donley lost his life in the line of duty on the 5th of September 1982, alongside his colleague Tony Hall. Their Red Plaque was presented on the 5th of September 2018.
Colleagues at Peterlee Station in County Durham, John and Tony were killed in the line of duty when their fire engine overturned on the way to answer a call for help. At the time of his death, John was twenty-six and married with a young daughter.
John and Tony were on their way to tackle a chimney fire when their appliance overturned on Front Street, South Hetton on 5 September 1982, killing the two men and badly injuring three other firefighters. Following the accident, all fire appliances were modified with reinforced cabs to help ensure the safety of firefighters in the future.
Today, John is fondly remembered by his former colleagues and his family. His daughter Claire laid flowers at the ceremony unveiling the Red Plaque which commemorates John and Tony outside Peterlee Fire Station. The stone for their memorial’s plinth was kindly donated by County Durham Fire and Rescue Service.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Keith Wanley said
“It is important that the service continues to remember both Tony and John who gave their lives to help save others. We will not forget them. We need to remember and be grateful for the courage and bravery of firefighters who put their own lives at risk to save others.”
Below are memories added by those who knew John Donley or had a story that they wish to share with you. If you have a tribute for John Donley that you wish to add, please include your memory below.
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Photo credits: Fire Brigades Union and County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service