The officer in charge of Red Watch at Soho Fire Station. Died trying to rescue a woman from the blazing ticketing hall as the fire suddenly erupted. Fire-fighters attempting to re-enter the ticketing hall to fight the fire likened the conditions as similar to climbing down into a volcano.
Awarded the George Medal for his actions in the fire. At the 2017 Emergency we read: "To this day, a peg in the locker room is purposefully left empty with his name next to it."
Our colleague, Andrew Behan, informs us that Colin James Townsley was born on 22 May 1942, a son of James Charles Townsley (1916-1997) and Emma Elizabeth Townsley née Glasbey. His birth was registered in the Newton Abbot, Devon, registration district.
In 1968 he married Linda G. Creese in Leicester, Leicestershire and they had two daughters, Sarah Townsley, born in 1969 in Leicester and Sally Townsley, born in 1976 in Lewisham.
He died, aged 45 years, on 18 November 1987 in the King's Cross Underground Station fire and he was cremated on 27 November 1987 in the London Borough of Lewisham. The fire appliance that was used to carry his coffin is now preserved and housed at Chiswick Fire Station, 2-4 Heathfield Gardens, London, W4 4JY.
Administration of his estate was granted on 8 March 1988 and probate records show that his address was 20 Caterham Road, Lewisham. His effects totalled £8,407.
The subsequent fire investigation report described his occupation as a Station Officer, London Fire Brigade.