This interesting post card shows a bed-type air raid shelter. It would appear that the shelter is made of metal and would protect the occupants should the roof collapse. It's a bit like an indoor Andserson shelter.
A nice selection of original Fire Guard insignia has appeared on eBay. Some nice examples of shoulder titles that are getting quite scare now.
The King and Queen inspect bomb damage near the Belgian Suite in the grounds of Buckingham Palace caused by the explosion of a 250kg German time bomb on 10 September, 1940.
Many different companies produced ARP equipment for sale to the general public as well as businesses. Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd manufactured nearly everything that could be wanted. The below advert appeared in the booklet "Air Raid Precautions - What to Do In An Emergency" (at the princely sum of 6d). The advert shows the main respirators (gas masks) then available.
As part of the uniform issued to wardens the greatcoat was of great use during the nights when on duty. This early issue greatcoat (labelled as Overcoat) has the double yellow rank chevrons of a senior warden.
Issued to every warden and stored at wardens' posts, the gas rattle was to be used to inform the public that a gas bomb had gone off. Gas bombs would be of three 'poison' possible types - true gases (e.g. phosgene), vapours (mustard) and smokes (certain arsenicals). Thankfully, no rattle was ever called upon to be used.
All respirators, including the civilian mask issued to the general public, were equipped to deal with all three types. The activated carbon of the large container handled the true gases and the vapours, whilst the "contex", a particulate filter, coped with the smoke poisons.
Even though the threat of enemy bombing was ever present, there was always those that thought about how it could be turned for a profit. This is a card game devised using many of the features found during the blackout.
A file from the National Archives details the process of adopting the early uniforms: Women Warden's Coat (Pattern 42), the bluette combination suit (Pattern 41) for men and the Woman Driver's (and Attendant's) coat (Pattern 43) and the hats (Patterns 44 & 45) The below image was in the files to give an overview of their look.
An interesting two-sided pamphlet providing information to people bombed out during the second world war.
A 1943-dated photograph of a first world war veteran warden from Fulham in London
During the second war war literally thousands of different industrial ARP badges were manufactured. Businesses usually had their own company name emblazoned on the badges. As a cheaper option, generic badges were available. This ARP factory service badge is quite common but remains one of my favourite designs.
An interesting document allowing the named person access to an air raid shelter at Waterloo Station in London.
An interesting page from the files at the National Archives shows that when the new serge uniforms (battledress) was introduced in 1941 it was issued to orderlies on Casualty Evacuation Trains. They previously had insignia with 'HT' for Hospital Train but this was changed to the 'CET' badge shown in the group of badges that sold at auction. Must be a very scarce badge.
An interesting selection of photos showing how a First Aid Party were to deal with a gas-attack casualty.
An interesting photo of a Civil Defence reserve member. The insignia on his right pocket appears to be the badge often seen placed on the upper sleeve of most mobile reserve columns.
This rather happy chap is probably showing off his brand new serge battledress and beret. Introduced from the autumn of 1941 is replaced the rather inferior bluette overalls. The only markings on the battledress is a Derbyshire local area marking. He has not yet attached his ARP badge to the beret.
A couple of nice portraits on the Alamy photo stock website. The gentleman is wearing the bluette overalls and his own beret (prior to the introduction of the CD beret in 1941). The lady is wearing the early driver's coat and a helmet with what appears to be the gas cape cover.
This armband recently cropped up on an auction site. Becoming quite scare these days this one was in very good condition.
An interesting 78 RPM record that has the two main siren noises - "Action Alert" and "Raiders Passed". The record was possibly used by factories to play over the Tannoy or may be a post-war record with sound effects for theatre plays etc.
These "Communications" shoulder titles were picked up by a friend at War & Peace Show. The printed manufacture is identical to those made during the war. However, there is no mention of this shoulder title in any of the files, bulletins or booklets I have seen. It could be a very late war edition and if you have any further information please do contact me.
An interesting parade photograph of Civil Defence members in Lenton, Nottinghamshire. Interesting to see that only a few have the area marking of 'NOTTINGHAM' under the CD breast badge - and it is unbordered. The officer has a yellow-piped side cap.
Images courtesy of Lenton Times.
This portrait shows Edith Essery from Hartleopol in her Civil Defence ambulance uniform. Either an ambulance attendant or driver her ARP Pattern 71 serge uniform has an unofficial local rank badge. Two (narrow) yellow bars in the usual rank insignia for an officer (lowest senior officer rank) but these are much thicker than usually seen. The cap badge does not seem to be the silver ARP badge but is probably a locally produced example featuring a large 'A'.
Images from Hartlepool History Then And Now.
Warden Taylor notes down an incident report in his wardens' post.
At the War & Peace Revival Show in Kent a few of us manned an ARP Post and helped tell the story of the wardens to many interested punters within the Home Front Village. An amazing amount of time and effort when into the displays. And by Jove was it hot...
Many boy scouts were used as ARP Messengers during the war. They were to carry the reports sent by wardens to the control centres. They had little protection about from a steel helmet. The armband ensured they were not delayed if stopped by police.
A lot of thought and effort went into creating the badges worn by Civil Defence Services in WW2. The initial colour of red badges was thought to be too closely aligned with the fire services and so the gold and blue badges were created when the new serge uniforms were issued in the autumn of 1941.
There were many discussions about prospective badges and the design below was for a metal ARP cal badge. Similar in many ways to the RAF badge this would have been affixed with two lugs and a split pin. However, due to reasons of economy and the fact that the new service was to be known as the Civil Defence Services this particular badge was created.