This gold-on-black embroidered badge was worn by St.John Ambulance Brigade personnel who had qualified in ARP duties. The badge was worn on the lower right sleeve of the St John Ambulance Brigade uniform. However, to date no photographic evidence of this badge being worn has come to light.
UPDATE: See this blog post with an original uniform bearing this badge.
Interesting period photo of Aldwych underground station being used as an air raid shelter. The warden is wearing the bluette overalls and the photo is dated during the Blitz of 1940. In total 79 underground stations were used as temporary air raid shelters. The photo has being digitally coloured.
During the second world war dozens of different designs for ARP signs were created. This is a high quality chromium plated version. Most were for positioning on doors and some for ARP posts. They are highly sought after collectables and often faked these days.
Most local authorities instigated plans to create mobile first aid posts that could attend to incidents. Most were converted buses or other large vehicles.
A number of local authorities introduced county badges that could be worn on the battledress uniform. This badge from Warwickshire Civil Defence is one example.
A large number of Civil Defence and fire brigade personnel attend to the destruction caused by a V1 incident in 1944 on Aldersgate Street in London. Five people were killed and dozens injured. The photo shows a lot of 'white hats' both senior and junior supervisory roles. A Controller (white helmet and two narrow bars over a broad bar on upper sleeve) and a District Warden (in beret with three narrow bars to upper sleeve) talk to an MO (Medical Officer) and many helmets show LR (Light Rescue) in the background.
Another item produced during the war. A persons name and other details could be inscribed on the identification bracelet.
The Neil Robertson Stretcher was developed in the Royal Navy and became available in 1906 to aid in the removal of casualties from confined spaces. Made of cane and canvas it was light and easily man-handled. Civil Defence rescue squads used the stretcher to carry people out of bombed buildings.
It is still in production today.
Interesting group shot of wardens from Mitcham in London. There's a chap (second right, seated) with both the Incident Officer I.O. and Bomb Reconnaissance badges on his left arm (one above the other, of note is that his IO badge is not the usual London style of the script letters). Next to him appears to be a St John Ambulance Brigade member going by the badge on his beret.
Very nice photo of a Mitcham ARP Warden getting up close and personal with a downed German Heinkel He 111 bomber (the emblem of a German eagle attacking a British lion was used by the 3rd squadron of Kampfgeschwader 1). Downed aircraft were often used as fund raising objects where people could pay a few pennies to get a closer look at the aircraft. Of note is the warden wearing a rank pip on his epaulette - rare to see use of that on an ARP uniform.
The IWM recently released a new film site on which you can view hundreds of their archival films. This film about ARP Post 39 in Finchley, London is very interesting. Check out the curious helmet the Post Warden wears.
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The St Johm Ambulance Association provided training to ARP wardens and Civil Defence personnel throughout the second world war. Training would takes place over several weeks and upon the successful conclusion of the course a person could wear the St John Ambulance Association badge )note this is different to the St John Ambulance Brigade),
A number of cigarette manufacturers issued cards featuring ARP-related issues in the late 1930s. Based on the government's advice the cards featured how to protect one's home, tackle incendiary devices, how to make a shelter and how the UK would tackle the incoming bombers. This card is from the Ogden's brand
A 1939 circular from the Home Office decreed that the letters on a wardens helmet were to be two inches in height. In London the W was to appear both on the front and rear of the helmet. How this was interpreted by various groups varied markedly and various shapes and fonts of the W can be found.
On this photo, the warden third from the right clearly had a different size ruler to everyone else...
It was envisaged that where necessary additional civil defence services would attend to incidents that adjoined their main area of operation. In London this worked well, but this worked less well in less populated areas. In 1940, Kent created mobile parties that would stationed in central areas and who could quickly move to where they were needed. From 1941, all regions were tasked with creating mobile Civil Defence Reserve parties. By 1943 some 14 mobile reserve units operated across 9 regions.
Not many colour photographs of bomb damage across the UK exist from the second world war. When they do crop up they immediately bring home the devastation caused. This street somewhere in Battersea/Clapham (going by Battersea Power Station in the background - note the power station had three chimneys at this time) shows the level of blast damage caused by the explosion. Sadly there is very little more information about the cause whether an HE bomb or V1 incident..
A large number of manufacturers produced a variety of fire fighting equipment for purchase by the general public. The "Minimax" brand provided the mainstay set for the general householder - the stirrup pump, Redhill sand container, scoop and hoe and a hand fire extinguisher.
Interesting group photo of wardens in Belfast - probably early in the war (even pre-war) given the lack of any uniforms. The helmet marking GW and DGW are quite rare; possibly Group Warden and his Deputy. The fellow fourth from the right appears to be wearing his gas cape in an unusual manner.
This is a report in the Daily Telegraph on 2 September, 1939 regarding the new laws concerning motor vehicle and bicycle lights. 1940 alone there were 300,000 prosecutions for blackout offences.
An official notice issued from the Lord Privy Seal’s office stated: “A lighting order has been made under Defence Regulation No 24 and comes into operation at sunset tonight as a further measure of precaution.
The German V1 attacks on London and the south east of England opened a new phase for the Civil Defence services. The randomness of the attacks meant that no one area could devise a plan to deal with the attacks and the mobile nature of the Civil Defence Reserve proved important providing mobile rescue and first aid squads.
This is a great photo of several wardens and a messenger during a training exercise in Fulham in 1942. The wardens are all in serge battledress whilst the young messenger has a bluette overall on. Note the lamp hanging from the first aid haversack of the warden on the right (a WWI veteran wearing his ribbon). Also of interest is the Incident Officer lighting his cigarette. He is wearing the blue helmet cover and IO sleeve badge that denote his role at air raid incidents.
Photo from the IWM
One of the main concerns of a warden was ensuring that no lights were showing at night (and this was the least liked aspect from the public's position early in the war). Wardens would often knock on a door to let the householder or business know they were showing a light. If no response was forthcoming they might post a note through the door like the one below.
ARP Warden Appointment (or Warrant) Cards were issued by every local authority to members of the Wardens Service. This lovely condition card was issued in the London Borough of Barnes. You don't normally see the outside of the cards embossed in such a manner.
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