An interesting cover for the November 30, 1940 edition of the Picture Post showing the driver of a car - the actor Leslie Howard - wearing the bomb splinter googles. Have to say they really would have little use when driving...
This photograph shows six members of the WVS at a canteen donated by Montserrat and run through the Ministry of Food. The interesting thing is the different types of WVS uniform on show.
During the late 1930s much effort was expended academically on how a population would react to being bombed. There were some who thought the breakdown of civil order would happen; others that a great strain on the economy would ensue as bombed out families had to be re-homed and industry lost workers. As the German bombing efforts were to intensify the Ministry of Home Security produced a number of publications. These were aimed at educating the population on how to create refuges in your home, to maintaining your gas mask. This publication from 1940 (costly 3 old pence) was one such publication.
This publication has been reproduced and is available at very good prices on eBay.
The bluette overalls (ARP Pattern 41) were the mainstay uniform in the early years of the war and continued to be issued and worn until the war's end. A simply heavy denim overall is was allocated to many different Civil Defence personnel.
This fine portrait shows a man wearing the absolute basic serge battledress. This is how many battledress blouses were issued - with just the CD breast badge affixed.
Writ large on the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square this billboard makes its message plain and direct.
Interesting colour photo showing an ARP warden or member of the respirator service issuing and fitting gas masks. There are not many colour photos from this period and it's interesting to see one for such a common occurrence just before and after the war started.
Although not as common as the beret, a lot of civil defence personnel bought privately a black side cap. These can be seen in period photos both with and without yellow piping. It would appear that officers generally wore a cap with piping.
This lithograph poster (from the V&A collection) shows the ARP lapel badge and the grand title "The Badge of Public Service". A lovely designed poster.
Wardens were responsible for ensuring homes, offices, factories and industrial buildings within their area observed the blackout. Showing a light after the prescribed blackout time would see a letter sent and often a fine for any further occurrences.
To assist the public all newspapers included that days blackout times. The blackout was standardised to 30 mins after sunset and 30 mins before sun rise.
An ARP application form for volunteer ambulance drivers and attendants. As noted on the form the main focus was that this was aimed primarily at women.
This photo located on Getty Images shows a group of ARP personnel with two rank chevrons on on the upper arm of their bluette overalls. For some senior ranks - Head and District Wardens for example - there was the bar and diamond insignia placed near the cuff. It is quite unusual to see upper arm rank insignia.
Originally made in sterling silver, in the early part of the second world war the ARP lapel badge was manufactured in base metal. This is an example from Marples & Beasley based in Birmingham.
Read a history of the ARP badge
Thought to be in a park in Parsons Green, London, this photo shows a warden overseeing the training of Fire Guards (all wearing the Zuckerman helmet) as they get used to using the stirrup pump.
This wonderful portrait shows an ARP ambulance driver wearing the smart Pattern 43 driver's coat with the Pattern 45 ski hat hat.
An interesting photograph of a group of WW2 ARP First Aid personnel with a Mobile First Aid Post. They appear to be wearing the gabardine coat with CD breast badge, a not often seen piece of CD uniform.
This often seen photo was a staged event and used in books and pamphlets advertising the need for Fire Guards. The lady is wearing a Zuckerman Civilian Protection helmet, the standard Fire Guard armband (probably yellow on blur), with what looks like a private purchase gas mask holder.
Women recruited for volunteer fire guard duties, who are fully trained in fire fighting techniques, putting the hose away in the portable trailer.
This photograph shows the Civil Defence Regional Commissioner for London, Sir Ernest Gowers inspecting the poison indicator stick of an anti-gas squad. The wooden stick had special paper attached to the end from which the type of gas could be identified.
Correction: the photo shows Admiral ERG Evans, Regional Commissioner for London Civil Defence inspecting gas detection workers during his visit to Paddington, London in October 1939. Evans preceded Gowers.
With the threat of war looming large, a number of local authorities could see the need to fill vacancies in their Civil Defence services. This envelope with a date mark in May 1939 shows a stamp calling for volunteers to join as ambulance drivers.
This 1945 film that is free to watch on the BFI site looks at the civil defence services in and around Leatherhead. Covers many of the CD personnel - wardens, rescue, nurses etc. Of interest is the footage inside a wardens' post. There is a Head Warden (white helmet with single black stripe who has Home Guard titles below his Warden shoulder title. Not often seen.
Watch Civilians in Uniform
As well as Wardens there were many other roles available for both men and women to do within the Civil Defence Service. One important area was the extraction of injured people from bombed out buildings. Stretcher Parties were responsible for this and the injured could be attended to in situ, at a first aid post or taken to a local hospital.
This group shot probably shows an ARP team set up by a local business. The date is the summer of 1941 and about from the anti-gas suits there are no other uniforms worn. The helmets appear to all have ST with a letter below - A for ambulance, D for decontamination and F probably for fire watcher.
Various suppliers manufactured first aid bags. This one was by Paragon and included a good selection of ointments and bandages for first responders at air raid incidents.
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