Thomas "Tommy John" Gordon Black

Thomas "Tommy John" Gordon Black

Thomas “Tommy John” Gordon Black lost his life in the line of duty on the 29th June 1984. His Red Plaque was unveiled on the 29th June 2023.

Tommy John was the Sub Officer in charge of Cookstown Station when he sadly lost his life while on duty attending a fire at a Commercial Garage in Ardboe. The external wall collapsed and he was killed instantly when the wall fell on him. He was aged 51 and had served with the Cookstown Fire Brigade for 25 and as the Sub Officer for 12 years.

Tommy John was fondly remembered by his family, former colleagues, and brothers and sisters in the FBU as they gathered at the unveiling of the Red Plaque installed at Cookstown Fire Station in his honour.

Western Area Commander David Nichol said:

“It is a privilege to serve alongside men and women such as Tommy John Black and I salute not only Tommy John but the many families of firefighters who watch their loved ones answer the call of duty day after day and night after night, not knowing the dangers they are facing”

The Chairman of Mid-Ulster District Council, Councillor Dominic Molloy, extended the condolences of the Council and district to the Black family and family circle:

“The plaque very aptly bears the words ‘Honouring the bravery and sacrifice of Tommy John Black of Cookstown Fire Station who gave his life in the line of duty at Drumenny Road, Ardboe, County Tyrone on 29th June 1984’. It acts as a permanent reminder of Tommy John’s brave actions on that fateful day and the sacrifices he made, ensuring his memory lives. It acts as a permanent reminder of Tommy John’s brave actions on that fateful day and the sacrifices he made, ensuring his memory lives on. It will act as a reminder of the vital role our firefighters play in keeping our communities safe, even at the cost of their own safety on some occasions and on behalf of the people of Mid-Ulster I wish to pay tribute to the Fire & Rescue Service and indeed all our emergency services for the work that you do.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Aiden Jennings also spoke:

“It is important that we never lose sight of the devotion and courage of those who have gone before us. Those of us who represent our Service today really do walk on the shoulders of the giants who have gone before us. Sub Officer Tommy John Black was without doubt one of those. That should never ne forgotten.”

The granddaughter of Tommy John, Norma Black, thanked all present for coming and the FBU for its kind gesture “on behalf of a father, grandfather and great grandfather” as well others for their support.

“Thirty-nine years is a long time, but for us as a family it seems like yesterday. This Red Plaque unveiling is a fitting tribute to the Memory of Tommy John.”

Below are memories added by those who knew Tommy John Black or had a story that they wish to share with you. If you have a tribute for Michael Hill that you wish to add, please include your memory below.

Please help support our Firefighters with the Firefighters 100 Lottery, a weekly online lottery created to support firefighters, their bereaved families and to honour the bravery and sacrifice of firefighters killed in the line of duty. With your help we can have schemes such as the Red Plaque Project for memorials to those lives lost.

Learn about the history of the Red Plaque Project and discover other Firefighters that have also received Red Plaques.

Photo credits: Kevin Cooper

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