December 12, 1940 and the House of Commons is damaged by incendiary bombs.
Read more about this event at West End at War.
Added to the site today was a section about instructors' badges - both ARP and Fire Guard related.
A good look at the battledress blouse (probably ARP Pattern 57) and trousers (probably ARP Pattern 58) for men (one in beret, one in side cap) and the serge jacket (ARP Pattern 71) and skirt (ARP Pattern 72) for women plus the felt hat (ARP Pattern 44) .
Not entirely sure of the use of these balloon stoppers. Ideas include them being bungs that could be inserted into ruptured water and sewage pipes at air raid incidents. If you know the definitive answer please let me know.
The air raids even led to board games being produced during the second world war.
The Civil Defence Service was a civilian volunteer organisation established in Great Britain by the Home Office in 1935. In 1941, during World War II, the use of Civil Defence replaced the pre-existing Air Raid Precautions (ARP). The Civil Defence Service included the pre-existing ARP as well as wardens, firemen (initially the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) and latterly the National Fire Service (NFS)), fire watchers, rescue, first aid post, stretcher party and industry.
Following information taken from Flags of the World:
"Sir Gerald W. Wollaston, Garter King of Arms, thought that the Union Jack was a royal flag and should be flown only on royal and government buildings. He proposed that there should be a land flag equivalent of the Red Ensign, and suggested that it might be quarterly blue and white with the Union in first quarter, and for civil authorities, a badge in the fourth quarter. He received no support for this idea, but adapted it when asked to design flags for the National Fire Service and Civil Defence Service.
The Civil Defence flag was quarterly blue and yellow with a Union first quarter and a Tudor crown in colour above yellow letters C D in the fourth quarter. Garter wrote that quarterly flags should be square but that, as when flying, part of the flag was concealed, it was desirable to have the length greater than the depth. He proposed 5 : 3 as a good compromise. The flag was approved by King George VI on 11 August 1943, and first used on Battle of Britain Day, 26 September 1943.
The flag was printed in one piece, which included the Union canton, but not the Civil Defence badge. The latter was stencilled on two pieces, and sewn on separately. The Scottish Office thought that there might be a problem in Scotland, since Garter had no jurisdiction there, but Lyon King of Arms raised no objection to its use. One flag was issued to each scheme-making local authority in England, Wales and Scotland. Any additional flags were to be made locally with no reimbursement."
A contact (Nick) forwarded me an ARP emergency telephone from his collection to add to the site's rescue equipment section. A very interesting item that was also covered in a 1939 booklet that covered dozens of items available for ARP services to purchase.
Via the WW2 Civil Defence Re-enactors FB page, one of the admins posted this excellent portrait of their great grandfather, George.Earl. An ARP Post Warden from Harrow, he's wearing the bluette overalls with rank on sleeve, armband, first world war medal ribbon and enamel Royal Life Saving Respiration Badge. (Copyright C. Boddington)
After a number of months of planning followed by the writing and then collating of the photos, this site is finally ready to be released - ww2civildefence.co.uk. I hope you find it interesting.
It would not have been possible to have created this site without the support of members of the WW2 Civil Defence Re-enactors Facebook page. This is a closed group so applications are vetted before you can see the posts.
This is the very start of the information being gathered. Some content may be incorrect and I am happy to get feedback about the site's content. If you have uniforms, insignia or equipment not shown and would like to send it to me for inclusion please contact me. Items photographed a white background only please.
Send me items to blog about via my contact page