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Jacket; Belfast Fire Brigade


This is the double-breasted tunic of the Belfast Corporation Fireman's uniform of William Cosgrove. He served during the Belfast Blitz. The jacket is of dark blue material with silver-coloured buttons. There are twelve buttons on the front, two smaller ones on the shoulders and two at the the back. The buttons carry the Belfast coat of arms and are inscribed "Belfast Corporation" (Belfast Fire Brigade). The motto on the coat or arms is "protanto quid retribuamus". There is a label sown on the inside of the jacket that carries the name of the owner and his measurements. The lining on the inside is made out blue and black material and marked "51". The uniform is fashioned from thick Melton cloth, a woollen fabric which, when subjected to flame, tends to smoulder rather than ignite. Water easily ran off it and to aid this the hem of the tunic was left unfinished. When it got soaked, however, the uniform got very heavy and would have made it difficult for the firemen to move. This material was used right up until the 1980s. The fire tunic appears to be post war. This is because of the silver buttons and the collar, which would have had red tabs prior to 1941. This type of tunic would have been worn between 1948-1970s.