Even though the heavy bombing of British cities was yet to come the Ministry of Home Security was developing and producing training and operations memoranda. The attached file is from May of 1940 and over four pages defines the roles of the police, fire services and ARP services as well as creation of incident posts for air raid incidents. Within a few short years a whole booklet of 76 pages would be produced regarding the managing of Air Raid incidents (Civil Defence Training Manual 4 - Incident Control - 1st Edition. November 1943).
Doing the rounds again is the Shelter Marshal Hammersmith armband. Previous incarnations of this particular armband saw it having been liberally sprinkled with tea in a poor attempt to age the armband. Now we have a pristine example with a number stamp added (in the hope that adds some level of provenance). The armband also appears with a red cross poorly sewn to the front as well (a well-known auction house in the West Country, known for being rather lax in apportioning provenance, has had this particular armband for sale a few times...). I believe these were originally sold as repros by Andrew Butler Insignia.
Ensuring messages got through to Report & Control Centres was essential and despatch riders were utilised by every Civil Defence region for this purpose. This photo shows nine riders and several motorbikes. They have the standard battledress but one gentleman has no regulation trousers. It appears the only insignia is a CD breast badge and an area marking.
Below are two fake Air Raid Shelter signs currently up on eBay. The seller has dozens of shedmade wooden signs from all sorts of areas across Europe (British and German). He adds spurious details on provenance - usually about salvaging or rescuing the signage from a factory in such-and-such a year - all utter bollocks. I'm amazed anyone would fall for such blatant fakes but it appears he's regularly selling this garbage.
This officer in the Wardens' Service has placed his rank insignia on his epaulettes. The prescribed location was just below the shoulder title. Alas, there's no area marking on the uniform but the photograph has a photographer's studio address in Barnsley. It could be that CD officers in that particular area took to wearing their rank insignia on their epaulettes.
These badges are from the wonderful collection belonging to Roger. See the Incident Officer page for more information.
I'm indebted to Austin Ruddy via a FB forum for the information needed to spot a reproduction vs. the real wartime example of the iconic "Britain Shall Not Burn" poster. A number of sellers on eBay believe they have the genuine poster when in fact they have (often framed) versions of a facsimile produced by Marshall Cavendish. Between 1976 and 1978 "The War Papers" was published in 90 weekly parts and included reprints of 155 wartime newspapers plus 36 posters and two publisher's supplements.
To spot the Marshall Cavendish poster look for the poster to be printed on light newspaper stock, have a very wide border all around and have washed out colours, especially on the blues. Another key giveaway is size; originals were 20" by 30" and the reproductions are much, much smaller. The reproductions will also have a crease one running horizontal mid-centre as the poster was folded in the newspaper it came with.
Original posters were litho printed which creates a solid colour on the finished poster. Under magnification the reproductions will show the small dots of colour used in their printing. Some of the reproductions have been pasted to board, aged in some way (edges creased/missing, marks to poster) and framed to try and add a touch of authenticity. Originals go for over £500.
ARP warden appointment cards are now avidly collected and prices have seen a marked upswing over the past couple of years. This Borough of Wandsworth card also comes with a certificate of service. There was no nationwide system for these cards and although they follow a certain format (borough name, date of issue, signature etc) it appears that local authorities were able to decide what was included. Some include areas for sector post numbers and other details; this one is probably at the more basic end though the borough's crest on the cover is often seen om these cards.
This Fire Guard Zuckerman helmet with "Boots" hand-painted emblem sold on eBay for £142 (+£6 P&P). I'm never too sure when I see these company-marked helmets like this. A number have appeared over the past year or so on eBay and most have been called out as outright fakes (for example, London Underground ARP Shelter badges attached to Zuckerman helmets). I'm currently on the fence about this one. The boot lace is obviously not original but the liner is.
UPDATE: I was contacted via email regarding the Boots logo. The blue ovoid/lozenge background was not used by the company until the 1960s. It was also originally a black background before becoming blue in the 1980s. Consequently, this helmet is a fake.
More info on Boots branding/logo
The worsening diplomatic condition across Europe saw a drive to recruit the general public into the Civil Defence Services. This leaflet, no doubt influenced by events in the Spanish Civil War, details the various opportunities for those inclined to volunteer. I am indebted to regular contributor GP for sharing this leaflet.
A number of owners of Civil Defence armbands had them embroidered during the war. Here we have another adaptation with a Head Warden badge added to an armband.
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