This interesting badge is made from the standard issue CD breast badge and the local area marking badge for Gloucestershire. There's usually not enough space on the left-hand pocket of the battledress to accommodate both badges neatly so in this case it looks like the owner cut down the breast badge a little. An interesting bespoke badge that is currently for sale on World War Wonders.
These lamps/torches could be fitted to the brim of a helmet to give the wearer hands-free light when working. The battery pack could be clipped onto the wearer's belt and the wire usually run up the back and over the shoulder to the lamp head. They appear in many ARP equipment catalogues but few photographs exist showing them being worn. This example was posted on eBay for £70.
A rare Deputy Divisional Warden armband from Edinburgh. Text appears to be a deep blue in colour on a white cotton background with a buckle fastening,
Image: Museum of Edinburgh
It's always interesting to see the uniform regulations being bent. This pretty standard group portrait of (probably) wardens features a lady on the bottom left wearing a male battledress. It's rare but not unheard of to see period photos of females having managed to get hold of a battledress. Apart from that it's a pretty standard photo of uniforms and insignia. Appears that the majority of berets have the printed CD in a yellow circle. That's a bit unusual as those with ARP badges usually fixed them to their berets. There's a member of the Home Guard lurking in the photo as well...
A group photograph of civil defence personnel wearing both types of ARP Pattern battledress - the first issue and the the later austerity (with exposed buttons). Oddly, this photo shows some men only displaying an area marking in the place where the CD breast badge would normally be. Alas I cannot make out the area name though the photo appears to come from Cumbria. Probably a case of the local authority have some difficulty in sourcing the badges.
Much as ARP Wardens were issued with an appointment/warrant card, Fire Guards were also issued with identity cards to allow them access to buildings. This one is for the Borough of Wembley in north London.
A fantastic group shot of a number of Rescue squads from the Camberwell area of south London. All appear to be in bluette overalls and the distinct lack of battledress dates this before the autumn of 1941.
This ARP Pattern 57 battledress jacket and warrant card cropped up on eBay recently (with a price of £160). It's the first time I have seen a double area marking - one for the county of Staffordshire and one for the local area of Rowley Regis (southeast of Dudley). Very unusual to see the Rowley Regis badge sewn to the upper flap of the breast pocket. The CD breast badge appears to be the merrow edge variety that was attached to the jacket when made. The rank stripes don't appear to be the usual WW2 variety and look a bit like those that the Civil Defence Corps issued from 1948. Again, they may be original but hard to say. Oddly the lanyard is white - I would have again expected it to be yellow for Staffordshire. It appears that a metal Police type chain in connecting the whistle to the lanyard. The jacket also features four war service chevrons.
An appointment card for a warden in the County of Derby. Quite a simple card with the most basic information required.
A table chock full of boxed silver ARP badges awaiting presentations to members of the St John Ambulance Brigade by the Mayor at Reading Town Hall in May 1938. A special woven yellow on black ARP badge was later made available for St John volunteers to wear on their uniform and worn on the lower right sleeve.
Image: Reading Museum object number REDMG : 1980.36.A50.5
One of those interesting newsreel snippets used to educate the public about various wartime issues. This one is about the need to carry a gas mask at all times. Thankfully the need never arose to use them.
The most common air raid whistle found is the J. Hudson whistle that has "A.R.P." engraved on it. Also manufactured during the war was the Adie Bros. (Brothers) version that appeared in 1941, identical in design to the Hudson one. This company, also based in Birmingham, had previous government contracts for whistles and many appeared with the Ministry of Defence broad arrow - crows foot mark /|\ - and some with a year date.
In 1941 Adie Bros. received a contract for 40,000 ARP whistles (previously it appears that just Hudson has been manufacturing ARP whistles). Hudson's received a contract at the same time for 60,000. The reason for so many was that a change in how the alarm for the fall of incendiary bombs was to be made. Short blasts would indicate incendiaries. At this time whistles were now issued to all reserve wardens and fire guards/ fire watchers. Oddly, Supplementary Fire Parties did not get them. The Adie ARP whistle features the maker's name (ADIE BROS), city (BIRMINGHAM), royal cipher (GR VI) and year (1941). The 1941 ARP whistle omitted the MoD broad arrow as the contract came through the Ministry of Works & Buildings.
Read more about the history of ARP whistles
Something a little bit different here. These four boxed sets recently appeared on an online auction house. I've seen various individual figures appear on eBay and reach quite a lot of money. These look to be in A1 condition. I'm not entirely sure of the date of manufacture. Interesting items.
UPDATE: I'm told these were made by Taylor & Bryant and were produced pre-war around 1938.
I picked this rather rare medal bar up on eBay recently. I've seen a few other types of these medal bars but this specific anti-gas instructor was new to me. Given that the ARPS also appears it ties in closely with the ARPS Instructor badge that civil defence personnel could train for.
I am indebted to Steve Crookes for sending me this photo of a British Red Cross medal with interesting medal bars from his collection. This shows how the above bar would have been worn. Note the 1941 ARP medal bar.
A late war (going by the number of war chevrons) group portrait of a group of wardens. Alas the quality of the image isn't great and it is difficult to pick out the insignia, especially the odd looking badge on the right lower sleeve of a number of the gents in the front row. Possibly IOs and a smaller badge.
Here's an Air Raid warden appointment card from one of the rarer areas of the UK - the Royal Burgh of Rutherglen in Scotland.
During the war thousands of different signs were manufactured for the various ATP and Civil Defence Services. Most have survived due to being well made from enamel. This Head Warden sign is one of the rarer ones.
This Westminster area marking cropped up on eBay recently. I have seen a variation in yellow and now this confirms a red version was also available. This would have been sewn onto bluette overalls.
A selection of anti-gas instructional posters has appeared on eBay. It includes all but one of a series relating to anti-gas. They are very interesting items but are very highly priced.
An interesting poster that shows the general layout requirements for an ARP cleansing depot.
A rather straightforward appointment card for warden's in the Metropolitan Borough of Hammersmith. Other area had more detail but this one has probably the shortest text I have come across. There appears to have been no standard appointment card design and councils and local authorities were free to design them as they please.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.