The Air Raid Defence League was established in February 1939, with an aim to force air raid defence as a national policy. The ARDL was open to all with an annual membership of a shilling. The ARDL sent out a monthly newsletter to members. The badge below was the second badge offered by the group (the first featured a union jack) following the incorporation of the National Association of Air Raid Wardens - the ARW standing for Air Raid Warden. With the outbreak of war the need for the group became unnecessary as air raid defence was then obviously of national importance.
A rather peculiar propaganda photograph showing a warden wearing a home-made rabbit fur waistcoat. Not an item often seen on the re-enacting scene... Looks like the warden has a rare piped side cap with ARP badge on.
A large majority of the ARP Pattern 57 & 59 serge battledress jackets came with the CD breast badge sewn to the left breast pocket. The below image shows an original jacket with the method most commonly used to attach the badge. Individuals in areas that provided area markings could sewn them beneath this badge.
An interesting first aid kit by Paragon that has been specifically created for ARP Wardens' Posts.
Barbara Nixon in 1943. She was one of the first women to be employed as a full-time Air Raid Warden in London. She was also an Instructor (badge on her collar) and Incident Officer (I.O. badge seen on her right sleeve). She was the author of "Raiders Overhead", an invaluable account of the Blitz in London. She is wearing the standard ARP Pattern 71 serge jacket/tunic and a rather snazzy (and unofficial) check shirt.
An interesting lot of insignia and letters is currently up on eBay. The grouping consists of a 'BRADFIELD R.D." area title, war service chevrons, CD breast badge, silver ARP lapel badge and two letters sent at the war's end.
A poster advising people about where they can shelter with their dog if caught out in a raid.
A chart detailing how Bexhill's ARP Scheme was organised during WW2. It clearly shows how complex the whole system was. Image Bexhill Museum Trust.
An interesting photo showing the rescue of a dog. The white helmet on the right is most interesting as he has both the ARP breast badge as well as the 'R London' badge on the pocket of his bluette overalls. The photo is said to be from 1940 which tallies with the overalls and lack of the serge battledress. I currently don't know the exact date that the 'R London' badge was introduced but going by this photo is was quite early in the war.
A very good quality portrait of an air raid warden in the early bluette overalls. The area marking title is for Walthamstow.
I'd like to thank Stevan Chambers for contacting me and allowing me to share this photo of an original WW2 St John Ambulance Brigade uniform. The yellow ARP sleeve patch turns up from time to time but it is excellent to see this on an actual uniform. Next challenge is to find a WW2 photo of it being worn. Visit original Instagram post
A 1939-dated St. Paul's Watch lapel badge. The cathedral in the heart of London has it's own special warden service that patrolled the cathedral during the war. They dealt with incendiary bombs and notified the London Fire Brigade about fires and the bomb disposal authority about any UXBs. Read more about the St. Paul's Watch
A Messenger holds the cap from a German parachute mine. Thought to be from the Walthamstow area of London and taken in 1940. Photo copyright of Footsteps Photograpghs, Flickr.
A selection of quite scarce Civil Defence armbands are coming to auction on January 12 (in Holland unfortunately). Looks to be a number of Rest Centre variations. I've not seen the "Person In Charge" before. Ignore the yellow armband as that is post-war. Not sure about the blue and white check armband - possibly police/post war or, and this is a bit of a guess, Incident Officer related as they had a similar design on flags put up at air raid incidents
This form was to be used by Gas Identification Officers (GIO) to report on the dropping of chemical and gas weapons. Thankfully, it was never called upon to be used.
A somewhat peculiar serge jacket has appeared on eBay. I initially thought it was an example of the austerity pattern serge jacket with the exposed buttons but the breasts pockets are not correct. ARP jackets do not have pleats on the pockets (no breast badge could be affixed to jackets with pocket pleats like this). The jacket has a CC41 label and a part manufacturer label with possibly 'Newfoundland' written on it. I'm assuming this is a work jacket similar to the civilian work jacket that can be seen on the IWM site. If you know more, please let me know.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.