Today in History: 21 August, 1976 - Britain's First Firewoman

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Today in History: 21st August, in 1976, Mary Langdon in Battle, East Sussex, becomes Britain's first firewoman.


Sister Mary-Joy Langdon is a nun who was the first woman to be an operational firefighter in Britain.

Langdon was born in 1951 in Battle, East Sussex, and attended Charters Towers School, Bexhill, East Sussex.

Mary-Joy Langdon, working on a farm in Battle, had read about the strain on the fire brigade due to the drought and one day walked up to the entrance of Battle Fire Station and stated her interest.

Little did she realise, after her first day on August 21, that she would become a poster girl for the press, keen to catch a glimpse of the 25-year-old "fire girl".

In the summer of 1976 there was a major drought in Britain and the fire brigades needed extra people.

Langdon volunteered and joined the Battle fire station, close to her family farm as part of the East Sussex Fire Brigade part-time but being on call for 24 hours.

She had passed all the normal tests including carrying an 11 stone (150lb; 70 kg) man for 100 yards.

At the age 25, she was the UK's first ever female firefighter to be formally admitted to a brigade.

She joined on 21st August 1976, leaving in 1983.

In 1984 Sister Mary-Joy joined the Roman Catholic congregation Sisters of the Infant Jesus.

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