Chief Warden Carter from Waltham Abbey. He was also the photographer for Group 7 during the Second World War. His serge battledress features the single think and single thin bars of a chief warden and he has the I.O. (Incident Officer) badge on his right sleeve.
An interesting and unusual helmet came up for auction; a 1941-dated bakelite "Controller" helmet with two white central strips.
This often reproduced image shows a warden from Kingston is London setting the time that the black-out would commence that evening. The 'clock' is probably outside the warden's post. Black-out times were half-ab hour after sunset and half-an-hour before sunrise.
The below document from September 1941 clearly shows that local authorities were to replace the bluette overalls (and women's drivers coats) with the new serge uniforms. However, the overalls did remain in use for the rest of the war. particularly by rescue squads.
Preparations for the likely bombing of military installations, industrial facilities and civilian populations led to the creation of many thousands of temporary and permanent air raid shelters. For people caught outside when the siren sounded they were guided to the nearest shelter by the ubiquitous 'Shelter' signs. These would often convey the distance to the shelter in yards and also sometimes the number of people the shelter could accommodate. There were obviously many hundreds of thousands of these enamel signs manufactured. Some are double sided so they could be used from any direction. Following the war many would stay in situ for many years and others were removed and thrown away. Those that remain are highly collectable and can reach many hundreds of pounds at auction.
This photograph shows an ARP Report & Control officer from the West Ham of London. His shoulder titles are the "CONTROL" variety and he has the two thin bars of an ARP officer. He is wearing the austerity pattern battledress (with exposed buttons) and the photo clearly shows his area marking for West Ham.
Two variations of the enamel badge given to members of the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service to wear on their civilian clothes to show they were 'doing their bit' for the war effort.
A very good portrait of an ambulance driver standing next to her vehicle. She's wearing the drivers' coat and ski cap.
The London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS) was run by the London County Council. It was initially called the London Volunteer Ambulance Service (until renamed the LAAS on the outbreak of war) and had 5,000 volunteer drivers and attendants. Each ambulance station in London was 'manned' by a staff of approximately 80 people and was run 24 hours a day. Many of their vehicles had been donated and converted into ambulances.
Early in the war the drivers were issued with the 'lancer' fronted blue coat but from 1941 they were issued with serge uniforms. CD issue badges replaced the previous LAAS issued hat, breast and shoulder badges.
As the German bombing campaign intensified the need to inform the population of how to deal with the aftermath of an air raid became paramount. From the initial reception at Rest Centres through to compensation for injury and repairs to damaged homes and removal and storage of belongings. There was also support for those that had being completely bombed out and replacement of identity and ration cards and new gas masks.
Recruitment into the civil defence services was quite slow in the late 1930s and early war years. It was only after the German Luftwaffe starting attacking towns and cities that more volunteers cam forward. This Ministry of Home Security poster aimed at women to join as ambulance drivers and attendants.
This game is a variation of "Shut The Box". A number of board games were manufactured and given wartime updates.
This marvellous film from Scotland shows Sir Steven Bilsland inspecting Civil Defence and Home Guard personnel. There are some great shots of uniforms and insignia. Of interest is that both style of helmet markings for senior ranks can be seen - both the early diamonds and later black stripes. There are also good shots of Fire Guards demonstrating how to put out fires.
War Weapons Week 1942 - Wartime Civil Defence inspection
A nice group shot of warden's towards the end of the war (going by the number of war service chevrons on show). The group is from Post 2A in Fetcham, Surrey. This chap in the centre, bottom row appears to have some insignia at the top of each sleeve - possibly Home Guard shoulder titles and also three bars - which is normally for a District Warden. He also has a peculiar single chevron on each sleeve - the chevron appears to have a distinct outline in a different colour. This single chevron on a senior rank battledress is new to me.
The chap at the back, second from left, appears to be wearing a couple of British Red Cross First Aid Proficiency medals, worn oddly, on his right pocket for some reason.
Also, a few berets don't have an ARP badge - not often seen. As the chap bottom right has no war service chevrons on his right sleeve he could have joined after '43 so didn't get issued one.
The group also wear the leather anklets - not often seen worn.
This portrait shows Jack Hambury in his bluette overalls. He was an air raid warden in London (possibly in the Brick Lane area in east London). Of note is the badge above his ARP badge. It looks like an area badge but is quite unique as it arches down at the corners rather than up. I attempted to magnify the badge but the resolution was not good enough to determine the area.
Miss Honorine Williamson from Dorking in her ARP overalls with ARP badge at the top middle. Miss Williamson was the niece of Vaughan Williams, the composer. She was killed when her home in London was bombed. (Image from Dorking Museum and Heritage Centre)
Workers seek shelter underneath their work bench at a factory during the second world war.
This group photograph shows a number of ARP wardens wearing the bluette overalls and what appears to be Red Cross personnel. The Red Cross ambulance drivers are wearing the ARP Pattern 43 Women's Drivers Coat. Some have the ski cap as well.
This parade shows at its head Charles Worthington, the ARP Controller and head of Leicester's CD services in 1942. He is wearing his RFC/RAF wings above his medal ribbon. This was officially banned under CD uniform regulations.
Lieutenant Charles Edward Worthington, CBE was born in in Leicester 1897 and was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 and served as a fighter pilot on the Western Front. He is credited for five aerial victories whilst serving with 87 Squadron (Sopwith Dolphin). He became a successful businessman in the family business and in 1931 was a joint founder of the Odeon Cinema franchise. During the second world war he was ARP controller for Leicester and and became the city's mayor in 1946.
This confidential early-war memo issued to Air Raid Wardens covered the various coloured warnings that were used during the second world war:
Air Raid Message - Yellow: wardens to gather at their posts (public not informed)
Air Raid Warning - Red: air raid imminent - wardens dash out into their their sectors blowing short blasts on their whistles
Air Raid Message - Green: raiders passed - wardens walk their sectors blowing long blasts on their whistle
Air Raid Message - White: All clear sent to wardens' posts (public would be informed by 'All Clear' siren)
Later in the war the 'Air Raid Message - Green' was abolished. A separate 'Air Raid Message - Purple' was introduced
This small Bakerlite light bulb shield screwed over the light bulb to reduce the amount of light. A small amount of light would be directed straight down. I imagine it's probably next to useless.
A nice group photograph of a gas decontamination squad in their oilskins and with gas capes attached to their helmets.
A common scene during the second world war twas the training of personnel for civil defence and ARP duties. This photograph shows a classroom of men donning their gas masks (all that is except the man at the back left...perhaps he left his on the 0732 to Orpington...)
In 1936 the Civilian Anti Gas School (CAGS) was opened at Eastwood Park. Here people were trained to deal with various poison gases thought likely to be dropped in the event of war. During the second world war it became The Ministry of Home Security Air Raid Precautions School. Those that successfully passed the courses offered here gained an instructor's badge.
Post war the institution became a police training school and then in 1949 it reverted to a Civil Defence School.
This badge cropped up on eBay I I'm uncertain whether it is a Civil Defence item or not. The King's crown is right and the style looks t be WW2-era. Possibly a private purchase side cap or beret badge or even as a pair for a high ranking civil defence officer. If you know, please let me know.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.