One for the re-enactors today, reproduction personalised Air Raid Wardens' Post metal wall signs. Well made A4-sized wall plaques, suitable for indoor or outdoors. Made from 0.7mm thick aluminium with a high gloss finish. You can add quite a long locality - I tried Borough of Lewisham, and that was OK (it's a max of 25 characters including spaces). The font is good for WW2. A nice item for your re-enacting display or for putting up indoors. And only £12.99 delivered in the UK.
Get your own Wardens' Post sign
I've finally managed to fill a gap in my badge collection with the CAGS Civil Defence Instructor badge. It was issued to those that had attended and successfully completed the Civilian Anti-Gas School instructors' course. It's in the nationally trained gold colour (same as the ARPS Air Raid Precautions School badge). Although CAGS appears to have been a regular course run prior to, and throughout, the war at the Civil Defence Schools at Easingwold (in N. Yorshire) and Falfield (in Glos.), the instructor badge is extremely scarce (I've only seen this one and two other examples in 20 years). This popped up on eBay recently - I was just lucky enough to be online at the right time.
The CAGS course certificates below were kindly supplied by Jon Mills.
A certificate of service for a part-time volunteer in the Messenger Service. Dates gives are between February 1939 and the stand down of the Civil Defence Services in early May 1945.
This single W black warden's helmet with Finchley coat of arms recently sold at C&T Auctions for the princely sum of £520 (not including commission and VAT). The estimate was £120 to £189. The prices of many home front items, and especially civil defence and ARP, have been gaining momentum for a few years. Helmet prices are steadily rising.
Doing the rounds again on eBay are these fake Second World War Great Western Railway (GWR) patches. Thankfully buyers are paying attention and not usually purchasing this tat but it's important to do your research and check the veracity of ARP items, especially railway related items. There's absolutely no evidence or photos for these badges ever having existed except in the mind of the faker selling them.
Always interesting to see, especially if of an area you know, are the wardens' posts and sector posts maps. The below is for the area of Mayfair designated as Group 'D'.
The German SD 2 "butterfly bombs" were small air-dropped anti-personnel/fragmentation devices. Dropped in containers that opened at a pre-determined height, the 'wings' opened and rotated the device thus arming it. It could be fitted with a variety of fuses - from impact to delay. Various colours from green/grey to yellow were dropped, some with red or yellow stripes on the wings.
The first use of the butterfly bombs was in Ipswich in late October 1940. Later attacks on Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Hull in June 1943 caused tremendous loss of life and disruption to the area.
The Ministry of Home Security issued warning pamphlets regarding the bombs. A Ministry of Information film detailed the dangers of the butterfly bombs.
A scarce WW2 double-sided cork dartboard sold on eBay for £435 including shipping. The reverse side is called 'Blitzkrieg Bombardment' and the maker was was called 'ARP Supplies' on The Strand in London. Cracking item for a Civil Defence club.
The Civilian Protective Helmet, commonly called the Zuckerman, was created to protect the public and Civil defence workers from falling brickwork and masonry. Primarily utilised by the Fire Guard, the helmet was designed in 1940 and manufacture lasted through to at least February 1940. The current earliest date for circulation are December 1940 (12/40) and the latest date (currently known) is February 1942 (2/42).
If you have dates earlier ot later than that I'd love to see a picture of the stamp.
Southern Railway memorandum number 2 from March 1943. Interesting note about the use of butterfly bombs (the mention of colours proves both were being dropped) and a DIY fix for the canvas mittens protectors that were worn over the anti-gas oilskin gloves.
Thanks to George P. for the image.
Although not directly related to Civil Defence this telephonist certificate from 1941 was probably similar to those issued to Report & Control telephonists. Not an overly exciting piece of paper ephemera but the last line is intriguing: "You are expected to comply with the instructions issued to you by the Post Office Authorities respecting your teeth if you have not already done so." Now what is that about...?
Thanks to George P. for the image.
The Women's Institute (WI) was originally formed in Canada in 1897 and according to the National Archives a badge featuring the entertained WI letters monogram, the motto "For Home And Country" and two maple leaves was designed by Laura Rose. The first British WI meeting was held on 16 September, 1915. The "For Home & Country" badge dates from the 1920s and can be seen worn by W.I. members during the Second World War.
The oval-shaped badge is made of gilded brass with "W” and “I" letters intertwined in a voided centre. On the left a red enamel rose depicts the British organisation and on the right a maple leaf represents the original WI which began in Canada. The motto "For Home and Country" is inlaid with green enamel. The rear has a simple pin and catch.
Several manufacturers made this badge over the years.
Fattorini & Sons made two versions:
Straight maker mark - 'Fattorini & Sons Bradford' used this maker mark between 1908 and 1928. A large number of these badges also have a peculiar pentangle in the centre of the rose. It appears this was a method of fabrication rather than meaning anything else. The shape of this badge is a slightly flatter oval than the badge that followed in the 1930s (see below).
Arched name - 'Fattorini & Sons Ltd Bradford Works Birmingham' used between 1933 and 1939.
W. O. Lewis (Badges) Ltd of Birmingham made a version which is probably the commonest seen nowadays. Not sure of the dates of manufacture for this currently, but given the prevalence of the badge it may be from the highwater mark of WI membership in the mid-1950s.
The type least encountered is that made by Marples & Beasley, again in Birmingham - the date of production is unknown though and the production run appears to have been quite low.
There are also a few unmarked types - one has a small dot on the reverse and another omits this – possibly from two different makers and production dates are un known but again possibly into the 1950s.
A Welsh version of the badge featuring “FY NGWLAD A'M CARTREF” was made by W. O. Lewis and Fattorini. It has the Welsh red dragon in the centre and the red rose and maple leaf as per the other badges. This badge is also known to have been made in sterling silver.
A smart group of ARP/CD personnel from Gloucestershire. Interesting they all (bar one) have the small embroidered CD beret badge. I initially thought the chap seated in the middle has odd coloured rank insignia but when compared to the beret badges they are probably the standard old gold yellow rank chevrons. There's a smattering of the austerity pattern battledress and a number of St. John awards on the right breast pockets. I cannot see any war service chevrons but it has the look of a stand down photo at war's end. Quite a young looking group on the whole as well.
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