This fabulous photo shows members of District P in Croydon undertaking their stand down photo (probably in May 1945). Of particular interest in the flag; I've never seen anything quite like this before. There's a real mix of head wear on show - the standard beret, felt hat and side cap plus three gentlemen sat at the front in peaked hats - this has been seen before but is quite rare.
For the love of Mary, will people please stop buying the fake ARP Shelter keys on eBay. A few weeks ago a key went for the eye-watering amount of £143. And that key was almost certainly knocked up in a shed. Since then any old key (and this is clearly an old wardrobe key) has had ARP SHELTER (poorly) stamped onto it. They are fake!
There are a number of different designs for Fire Watcher badges and prices online are showing a marked upward swing. Here are two badges of the same design but one with the half-moon lapel fitting and one with the brooch pin fitting.
A visitor to the site sent through the following items after seeing a previous blog post regarding a cigarette case with The Times ARP badge on it. Below is another cigarette case but this time in the original box of issue and with a letter for the recipient. This is dated October 1939 and I assume goes to show that The Times had been undertaking ARP duties for some time.
Also sent along were three ARP badges issued by The Times. I assume there may have been some reason behind the various colours.
An interesting piece of paper ephemera is this postcard concerning the Civil Defence Review that took place in Hyde Park in July, 1941. The postcard was created to send Christmas wishes to family or friends at the end of 1941.
This OFFICER I/C ARP SERVICES armband OFFICER I/C CD SERVICES sleeve insignia is held at Chertsey Museum. I'd not seen either before. Also listed from the same donation are "Report And Control" shoulder titles for and the rank insignia of a thin bar over a wide.
The Lambeth Shelter Marshal armband sold on eBay on 14 June 2020 for the princely sum of £510 (thankfully the item came with free postage...). In total there were 25 bids from eight different bidders. There is certainly a growing market for British home front memorabilia but I do not recall an armband reaching anything like the amount this one did. The same seller had a Paddington ARP Messenger armband that sold for £285.
Regularly appearing on eBay are mementos featuring German incendiary bomb fins. These "souvenirs" of various city blitzes usually all have a find plonked onto a block of wood and a made up label added for that extra level of "authenticity". From Coventry Cathedral to Liverpool Docks, the London Blitz to Southampton fire-bombing, fraudsters have been faking these items for years. The sad fact is that collectors new to the hobby fall victim to the fakes. It may well be a real incendiary fin (but again these are now reproduced - I've seen them for sale at £30 a pop at militaria fairs) but the provenance is completely made up. The one below isn't even German and claimed to be a captured French example dropped in Reigate... They often come from the very same sellers who always seem to have them available. The below sold on eBay in June 2020, fools and their money...
It is assumed that the badge below was a private purchase badge that was worn by member's of the Wardens' Service who had passed the LARP (Local Air Raid Precautions) instructors' course. The silver coloured enamel badge is regularly available but to date the below badge has not been seen on any period photographs. I have seen several of these badges over the years and they all appear to have the same style of manufacture.
A shelter ticket issued in 1942 for use in one of the Borough of Wandworth's ARP shelters. The current Tooting Bec London Underground station was originally called Trinity Road (changed name on 1 October 1950). The address shown is a couple of hundred yards from the tube station.
This stand down photo features a Civil Defence Reserve group. Of particular interest are the two despatch riders that are rarely seen in photos. Under magnification is appears they all have the Civil Defence Reserve shoulder titles and the berets have the rare printed CDR badge. A number have war service chevrons. Curiously, a number of the battledress have no breast badge; they are the austerity pattern and they may have been issued especially for the photo.
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