The central element in the Coat of Arms is the Shield of the City of London. However, the sword is taken from its normal quadrant and placed centrally on the Cross. In two quadrants, blue wavy lines represent the River Thames to demonstrate the historic links binding firefighters to the Watermen who worked the River. Over the wavy lines are set firemen’s helmets bearing the City crest – a humorous detail since the City has never had its own Fire Service.
Above the Shield is an heraldic helmet with a crown, on which stands a golden Salamander with flames issuing from its mouth and body. The Salamander is considered to have particular qualities which give immunity from the effects of fire. Attached to the helmet are “flourishes” – originally ribbons or colours attached to the helmet of a suit of armour but here flamboyantly depicted by the heraldic artist.
Supporting the Shield are a Sea-Lion and a Dragon. On the left is the Sea-Lion, symbol of courage and of water used in firefighting. The Sea-Lion is holding an 18th Century fireman’s axe, typical of the kind used by the early insurance Fire Brigades. The Dragon on the right depicts the menace of fire and is holding a “squirt” – one of the earliest pieces of equipment used by firefighters for projecting water. The presence of the Dragon also symbolises fire subdued or defeated.
The Latin motto has been translated as “Fighting Fire, Our Trust in God”
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