There's not a great deal of information about the Women's Auxiliary Wardens Service. There are some badges in the Northampton area that feature the service. This document shows that in 1942 (12 August) the WAWS was rolled into the main Wardens' Service. It would be very interesting to learn more about the origin of the WAWS.
A group of wardens pose for a group shot. All in bluette overalls so probably in the few couple of years of the war. At the centre looks to be a Head Warden with a white helmet and single black diamond above the 'W'.
I am indebted to Alan Piddington for sharing some information from a book called "The Diary of an ARP Warden" by EJ Carter of Waltham Abbey. The book contains a series of excellent photographs from the latter half of the war. The below photo shows a rarely photographed mobile incident control post.
A very smart group of wardens from the Leyton area pose for a group photo. I believe the two men sat in the middle have Incident Officer badges on their left sleeve and I think the right sleeve may have 'Instructor' on them. One has three bars for a District Warden and the other two bars for an officer. Looks like a number have the printed beret badge.
© Vestry House Museum
I've seen quite a few pairs of splinter googles appear on eBay this year and I've been amazed at the prices they are getting. They are often misidentified as being used on bomber aircraft - perhaps in a way to drive up interest and value. They are selling in excess of a £100. You just have to think how many pairs were thrown out at the end of the war...
A Department of Home Security pamphlet from 1941 advising wardens on how to manage the public in the event of an invasion.
An identification card for a Supplementary Fire Guard within the Urban District of Chadderton in Lancashire.
A very interesting photo of a wardens' post right at the start of the war. This Post 22 was located in Brighton going by the information on the reverse.
An interesting piece of ARP history is this tankard that was presented to a Head Warden in the Farington area in 1941. Was sold on eBay for £80.
An early war photograph showing wardens in bluette overalls and drivers' coats. As they all appear to have standard issue berets this may well be into 1941 but before the allocation of battledress. A messenger sits at the front and oddly what looks like a Catholic priest sits in the centre.
Photo from RAF Museum
I had a spare hour over the weekend and I finally made up a chart for the position of the main insignia found on CD battledress after its introduction. The prescribed locations were detailed in ARP Memo 17. I'll look into doing the ladies ARP Pattern 71 tunic in the future.
It is sometimes curious that an item you've never seen before appears on eBay and then another crops up shortly after. The token on the left appeared first (and sold for £27). I'm not sure what the token was used for to be honest. The one on the right was recently listed but appears to be somewhat less well made. It's almost like a reproduction - the quality is poorer and the numbers look more like those from a modern stamping set.
Came across this photo recently of wardens on one of the Channel Islands. Thought to have taken in 1940 the photo shows a group of mainly white-helmeted ARP wardens with one gentlemen in the centre with a helmet bearing 'ARP'. It's quite rare to see ARP on a helmet (I have seen in appear more often for wardens in Canada and Australia).
An amazing photograph that captures the moment rescue services retrieve the victim of a V1 incident on 23 July 1944. A lot of white helmets and an ambulance (A) and light rescue (LR) member. It appears that some of the helmet insignia and area markings have been obscured by a censor to prevent knowing the location of the incident. There's a MO on the far left and the helmet at the left extreme appears to have two arrows on the side. In the centre is man wearing a beret with what looks like ARP on it (possibly a reused breast badge).
An interesting piece of document ephemera is this ID card for the Ambulance Transport Services in Cardiff.
Just cropped up on eBay is this Warden's BD blouse with a 1942 (letter O) date stamp made by Montague Burton. Has a Leicestershire area marking and war service chevrons and the CD breast badge looks to be the type that were sewn to the jacket before issue. The rarest item is a red wound stripe - for someone wounded in the First World War and goes with the medal ribbon bar. A nice jacket with minor mothing.
Here's a remarkable piece of colour film footage called Home Defence “Go To It” from 1939. It has been shared by the North West Film Archive on Vimeo. Due to the site's domain restrictions I cannot embed the film but you can view it clicking the link above. It's great for looking at period bluette overalls uniform details and civilian clothing detail.
You can't help but think of Mr Cholmondley-Warner when you watch this newsreel...
A visitor to the site was kind enough to share a photo of her grandfather's helmet. He was a GP in the Farnborough area during the wear and held this senior rank in the casualty service. Three diamonds with CS lettering is somewhat rare.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's a wonderful story of the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service and contains some amazing photographs and incredible detail about the running of the service.
Incident Officers attended air raid incidents and managed the various services as they attended to the incident. They were the central point in ensuring that all the available resources were dealing with the situation at hand. If needed they could call up additional resources or redirect newly arrived teams back to base if he/she thought the incident was being dealt with sufficiently well. The sign on the photo below was erected at incidents so the IO could be easily found. The flag below the sign is usually blue in colour (and sometimes in blue and white checks) and the IO sometimes wore a plain blue helmet colour to stand out from other members of the CD services.
I'd like to thank a friend of mine, Chris, for sending me this photo. This is a photo of a V1 incident along Tottenham Court Road in London. If you look at the chap on the far left he appears to be in bluette overalls but has an American-shaped helmet on. I recall reading of a V1 incident in Aldwych in which passing American MPs were involved but they were in full American uniform. Would appear this fellow has 'acquired' a Yank helmet some how.
The below helmet is currently on eBay and it's something I have never seen the likes of before. From the images (check out the link to see more) you can make out "Air Raid Helmet" and "Grimsby" with a patent pending number. Perhaps a company hoping to make a few bob on creating a helmet for civilians before the Zuckerman helmet was released in 1941.
UPDATE: I have been informed that a number of companies made a similar style of helmet. See the advert below for the 'Defiance' helmet. Seems a number of these helmets came into production around the time of the Munich Crisis in 1938.
It's quite rare to see Fire Guard armbands being worn but this photo from Getty has a plethora of them. Not a great deal of information comes with the photo but it does show Zuckerman helmets and standard Mk. II helmets being worn,
Send me items to blog about via my contact page