It's rare to come across a completely new Civil Defence badge such as the one below. There are always new industrial ARP badges appearing as so many companies had them produced but a CD badge for a specific region is very rare. This Civil Defence Midland Region badge with motto is currently on auction on eBay.
This portrait shows the essential clothing required by members of the decontamination squads. With special gas-proof clothing and special gas cape to the helmet, these civil defence personnel were trained to deal with the hazardous chemicals that German bombs might contain. A great deal of training was undertaken to deal with the various types of chemical. Thankfully, no-one was ever called upon to deal with an chemical weapons. The hand bell was to be sounded when any chemical weapons had been safely dealt with (the opposite of this was the gas rattle used to warn of the use of chemical bombs.) The chap is wearing the standard Mk. II helmet with 'W' for Warden; later on these squads had DC ( for Decontamination) on their helmets.
Within the Wardens' Service there was a cross-over between Wardens and Fire Guards whereby a person could belong to both but be under the auspices of the Fire Guard Service. To reflect this, their helmet featured the W/FG lettering.
This 1946 certificate was issued to members of the Central Hospital Supply Service (a function within the War Organisation of the British Red Cross and Order of St. John) that had undertaken over 100 hours of service. The certificate came with a letter of thanks and details the service undertaken.
An interesting photograph of two members of a London County Council LAAS ambulance. The lady (probably the driver) is wearing the standard issue drivers' coat with peaked cap (and a rather fetching dark shirt and light tie). The gentleman is wearing bluette overalls with a LAAS badge above the right pocket and standard black Mk. II helmet with white, two-inch high, letter 'A'. The ambulance is a Bedford.
During the late 1930s much effort was expended on creating a specialised unit to deal with the chemical weapons. There was a great fear that the coming war would see the use of such weapons both on the battlefield and also dropped on civilian areas. To deal with air raid incidents that featured chemical weapons, Decontamination Squads were equipped with all manner of equipment to both neutralise the effects of the chemical/poson gas and also to protect the men undertaking the clear up operation. These decontamination squads were issued with oilskin suits, thick gloves and boots as well as standard Mk. II helmet as shown below.
This ARP Air Raid Warden enamel door plaque (currently on auction on eBay) is in fantastic condition. Many thousands of similar door plaques, in various designs, were manufactured both before and during the war.
Following bombing raids many utility services (gas, water, sewage, electricity and telephone) would have been disrupted. Many local authorities has specialist teams that would arrive and deal with these breakages. This helmet is for a senior party leader in a repair party dealing with electricity issues.
WW2 Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Redhill scoop for dealing with German incendiary bombs. This long wooden-handled scoop was used for shovelling sand onto an ignited incendiary bomb to douse it or to poke incendiary devices off gutters and roofs. The scoop here has been painted black but were initially sold in bare metal. It sometimes also came with a rake/hoe that could allow burning fragments to be collected in the scoop and then put in a fire bucket of sand. See the cigarette cards below that show how this was intended to be used.
This helmet was submitted to the website by the owner. It is an unusual marking with the letters D and R either side of what appears to be an ARP decal. It is assumed the letter are from Despatch Rider (sometime spelt Dispatch Rider). The owner queries whether it could be Demolition & Rescue but that term has never appeared in any of the documents I have seen.
A number of periodicals were published aimed at members of the Civil Defence Service. The below periodical was the ARP & AFS Review which included articles both about ARP matters as well as fire fighting.
This armband features the ARP letters with FIRST AID POINT, a slight variation on the often seen first aid post or party. The emblem in the centre is the county sign for Warwickshire and features a muzzled bear erect on its hind legs with a metal collar chained to a ragged post.
A somewhat unusual Medical Officer (MO) white helmet with a single black stripe. Being a senior Civil Defence officer, the MO usually ranked the same as a controller and had two black stripes on the helmet. The use of a single stripe is unknown to this author at this time.
A Home Office poster showing how an anti-gas respirator (gas mask) works.
Although not especially rare, a couple of Bomb Reconnaissance Armbands have appeared on eBay this week.
There is one on its own. And also another armband plus a Warden shoulder title, Liverpool area marking and single officer rank badge.
A very rare cap/beret badge for "Liverpool Wardens Service".
I was contacted by a visitor to the site regarding a helmet with the letter "E.O." on it. It's probably for an Evacuation or Equipment Officer but to see a white helmet with two black stripes for this position is quite peculiar. The myriad different markings found on home front helmets means new variations crop up weekly. If you have any other ideas what the letters could mean please let me know.
This interesting poster appeared on eBay and is one that is not often seen reproduced.
The majority of wardens were issued with a warrant card. Some members of the Civil Defence Services had a special National Registration ID Card with an additional space to record their employment with a particular service. The below is a standard card issued during the war that included the name and address of the bearer. It also has the original holder's silver ARP badge.
For all the hundreds of thousands of ARP lapel badges issued they appear infrequently on portraits. This photo of a GPO post man (or postal worker) and first world war veteran shows him in his GPO uniform with a silver ARP badge on his lapel. Interesting to see a toothbrush moustache worn - this particular style seems to have disappeared post war for some reason...
A nice condition white ARP Shelter Warden helmet. Shelter Wardens were placed in larger shelters to oversee the operation of the shelter, to ensure it was not over populated and ensure everything ran smoothly. This being a white helmet probably denotes that the wearer was leading a small group of shelters wardens (sometimes also called shelter marshals).
An interesting poster covering the main gases thought to be in the German arsenal. Includes the various gases - chlorine, phosgene, mustard and Lewisite.
A collection of gas masks in cardboard boxes and leatherette carriers hanging from hooks at a nursery school for displaced children in London.
This rare armband cropped up on eBay recently and finally sold for £235. I've not seen this design before. Two red chevrons have been added to denote two full years' service in the housewives' section.
A 1939 Burn Brothers advert for their "Special Air, Gas and Water-Tight Cover and Frame"
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.