THE largest peacetime loss of life suffered by Britain's fire and rescue services has been remembered at a memorial service.

Nineteen men were killed while battling the massive blaze at a whisky warehouse in Glasgow on March 28, 1960.

An explosion at the Cheapside Street facility sent its 20m high (60ft) walls crashing into the street below.

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Fourteen city firemen and five members of the Glasgow Salvage Corps died in the blast.

A memorial service to remember those who died was held at the Glasgow Necropolis on the 54th anniversary of the tragedy.

Officers from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service took part in the memorial event, the first held since the national service was formed last year.

Chief officer Alasdair Hay said: "The Cheapside Street disaster is a pivotal moment in the history of this city and the fire and rescue service.

"The scale of the explosion and ferocity of the fire posed a massive threat to neighbouring buildings, and the firefighters' efforts that night undoubtedly prevented the blaze from spreading to other sites. We can never forget those who paid the ultimate price to protect the public, or the loved ones whose lives were changed forever by a devastating and tragic loss."

The Glasgow firefighters who died were James Calder, John McPherson, John Allan, Christopher Boyle, Gordon Chapman, William Crocket, Archibald Darroch, Daniel Davidson, Alfred Dickinson, Alexander Grassie, George McIntyre, Edward McMillan, Ian McMillan and William Watson. The Glasgow Salvage Corps members were Edward Murray, James McLellan, Gordon McMillan, James Mungall and William Oliver.

Assistant chief officer Dave Boyle, the director of service delivery for the west of Scotland, said: "Tragedies on the scale of Cheapside are something we all hope never to encounter in our careers.

"The men who died that night and their colleagues who survived, faced one of the most hostile environments imaginable and they knew they were risking everything. They became firefighters in a city that was incredibly prone to devastating fires and their courage is something the people of Glasgow will always remember."