First Aid Post personnel from Preston pose for a group portrait. It would appear that the man in the middle (sat down) has two area markings below his CD breast badge. The bottom one is Preston but I cannot determine what the other one is.
I had an interesting morning at Hackney Archives and there was plenty of Civil Defence and ARP related material to go through. The below armband belonged to a Stoke Newington councillor.
Group portraits of Civil Defence volunteers are always interesting for throwing up details. This one has a Fire Watcher - FW - helmet tucked under the legs of the man at the front. A peculiarity on this photo is that it appears that the ranking members are only wearing chevrons on their right sleeves. Also, everyone is wearing a beret and it's not often that you see ladies wearing them.
An interesting poster showing an Incident Officer (wearing the blue helmet) getting some chit signed by the Ambulance member in the middle.
Another interesting group portrait of First Aid Party CD personnel from Cornwall. Undated but after the summer of 1941. I have seen other photos of Civil Defence members from Cornwall and they all usually appear to show the special yellow county cap badge being worn.
The ladies are all wearing the Pattern 71 tunic with the drivers' cap. The gentlemen are in the serge battledress and berets and have a mixture of CD and ARP breast badges (commonly seen as local authorities used up existing stock of badges). The District Warden in the centre of bottom row appears to be the only person wearing a lanyard. Only one person appears to have a St. John qualification on his right pocket.
Image courtesy of Imprints of WWII.
An interesting photo of a First Aid Party (FAP) at work. Most likely a staged photo is shows a casualty being readied for a waiting ARP ambulance (theirs the ambulance driver on the back of the vehicle with 'A' on their helmet). Of interest in the helmet insignia of the person in the middle. The large diamond above the FAP letters signifies the person as the Party Leader (they also appear to have two chevrons on their sleeve). There's also a gentlemen at the front of the stretcher wearing gaiters which are not often seen worn.
A very nice study of Miss Frankie Whitten taking part in a parade of London County Council (LCC) Ambulance Drivers at Hyde Park, London, shortly after her wedding earlier that day at Caxton Hall Registry Office to Surgeon Lieutenant J D Thompson.
IWM HU 74991 Coypright
An interesting group portrait from an unknown location. Interesting to see they adopted the white 'W' on a black square on a white helmet. Not overly rare but interesting to see a lot in one photo. Although the quality of the photo is not great, the senior officers in the centre appear to have additional markings about the 'W', possibly the rank diamonds that were used in the early part of the war.
One of the rarer ARP badges was that issued in the Straits Settlements (which was the four areas of Malacca, Dinding, Penang and Singapore. Read a history of the ARP badge.
This interesting image (claimed to be from 1940) shows a number of sirens that can fixed to the door of a motor vehicle. Given that the majority of city and town's had a central air raid warning service I am not entirely certain to whom these devices were issued. The siren may have been used as an emergency vehicle siren.
An interesting piece of ephemera for the the Borough of Ilford. This ticket gave the bearer the right of access and a bunk in an ARP shelter.
The Civil Defence battledress trousers came with a small pocket on the front right that could take a small a First Field Dressing. This is the only size bandage that would fit in this pocket.
An interesting document showing the mid-war Fire Guard Plan for Southampton.
This interesting post card shows a bed-type air raid shelter. It would appear that the shelter is made of metal and would protect the occupants should the roof collapse. It's a bit like an indoor Andserson shelter.
A nice selection of original Fire Guard insignia has appeared on eBay. Some nice examples of shoulder titles that are getting quite scare now.
The King and Queen inspect bomb damage near the Belgian Suite in the grounds of Buckingham Palace caused by the explosion of a 250kg German time bomb on 10 September, 1940.
Many different companies produced ARP equipment for sale to the general public as well as businesses. Siebe, Gorman & Co Ltd manufactured nearly everything that could be wanted. The below advert appeared in the booklet "Air Raid Precautions - What to Do In An Emergency" (at the princely sum of 6d). The advert shows the main respirators (gas masks) then available.
As part of the uniform issued to wardens the greatcoat was of great use during the nights when on duty. This early issue greatcoat (labelled as Overcoat) has the double yellow rank chevrons of a senior warden.
Issued to every warden and stored at wardens' posts, the gas rattle was to be used to inform the public that a gas bomb had gone off. Gas bombs would be of three 'poison' possible types - true gases (e.g. phosgene), vapours (mustard) and smokes (certain arsenicals). Thankfully, no rattle was ever called upon to be used.
All respirators, including the civilian mask issued to the general public, were equipped to deal with all three types. The activated carbon of the large container handled the true gases and the vapours, whilst the "contex", a particulate filter, coped with the smoke poisons.
Even though the threat of enemy bombing was ever present, there was always those that thought about how it could be turned for a profit. This is a card game devised using many of the features found during the blackout.
A file from the National Archives details the process of adopting the early uniforms: Women Warden's Coat (Pattern 42), the bluette combination suit (Pattern 41) for men and the Woman Driver's (and Attendant's) coat (Pattern 43) and the hats (Patterns 44 & 45) The below image was in the files to give an overview of their look.
An interesting two-sided pamphlet providing information to people bombed out during the second world war.
A 1943-dated photograph of a first world war veteran warden from Fulham in London
During the second war war literally thousands of different industrial ARP badges were manufactured. Businesses usually had their own company name emblazoned on the badges. As a cheaper option, generic badges were available. This ARP factory service badge is quite common but remains one of my favourite designs.
An interesting document allowing the named person access to an air raid shelter at Waterloo Station in London.
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