From Times Online, Feb. 15, 2007:
``Cyril Demarne was a sub officer in the West Ham Fire Brigade instructing the Auxiliary Fire Service when war was declared. On the the first day of the London Blitz, September 7, 1940, he recalled a `lovely sunny day. There were about 300 German aircraft. Some flew along the waterfront from North Woolwich to the tidal basin and bombed the big factories. [They] had thousands of people in them and there were horrendous casualties.'
``Three miles of the waterfront became a continuous blaze, and Demarne ordered 500 pumps to the scene. The commander thought this exaggerated and sent someone down to see. The man reported back that 1,000 engines were needed. ''
DeMarne survived the war and died Jan. 28, 2007. He was 101.