A fantastic portrait of an ambulance driver or attendant - the name on the rear is Elma May Stamp (nickname Buzz). The lady also wears a medal ribbon which looks to be the Royal Red Cross (which is a blue centre with red bars either side). The award is made to a fully trained nurse of an officially recognised nursing service, military or civilian, who has shown exceptional devotion and competence in the performance of nursing duties, over a continuous and long period, or who has performed an exceptional act of bravery and devotion at her or his post of duty. There looks to be an additional badge on the shoulders of her coat but it is not possible to discern what this relates to.
Doing the rounds once again are the fake Hammersmith Shelter Marshal armbands. These crop up from time to time and usually from the same dubious sellers on eBay. They've been poorly aged with the sprinkling of tea or some such. A complete and utter con so steer well clear.
From the archives of Am Baile, the website covering the culture and history in the Scottish Highlands, comes this interesting photo of a decontamination squad. They are actually painting a rock white in the harbour to assist people in the blackout.
ARP badges of the same design as those issued in the UK were issued in several overseas territories. Each area would add their own scroll below with the name of the locality - examples include Hong Kong (as below), Malta, Kenya and the Straits Settlements (issued to wardens in Singapore, Penang Malaya and Malacca Malaya). This is marked as silver (银质) with a maker's stamp that appears to have the name of a Chinese mountain, Mount Tai (泰山) .
This badge (currently up for sale on eBay) was new to me but other collectors have intimated that similar badges have been seen before. Alas, it was also reported that similar badges were copied and reproduced several years ago. Going by the type of embroidery and the backing on the badge this could be original but without provenance it's impossible to say categorically if this example is the real McCoy.
Up on eBay are a four 'Decontamination' shoulder titles. These are the printed variety. Unusual to see four in original strip.
A standard civilian gas respirator was posted on a Facebook forum and on it was a certification mark I had nor comes across before. The five-side shape with "Home Office Certification Mark written around the circumference had a stylised monogram in the centre. This combined the 'HO' of Home Office with 'ARP' letters. An interesting symbol.
Fire Guard Appointment Card issued by Risca Urban District in Monmouthshire in south Wales, 1943.
A number of different style of helmet carrier were manufactured during the war. The below example has been stamped as 'ARP Helmet Container".
This portrait, from a series of staged photos, shows a Warden from the Westminster area of London. She's wearing the standard issue ARP Pattern 71 tunic with slacks. The tunic features the ARP embossed buttons (tunics are also known to have white metal CD and crown and from 1943 black plastic buttons featuring CD letters and crown). She's has a civilian style respirator sack slung over her shoulder and the lanyard is probably white (boroughs of London generally adopted this colour).
During an air raid it was required that people head to public shelters to their own shelter. Police and wardens would direct anyone found on the streets to the nearest shelter. The card below allows the holder to proceed during a raid to the ARP Control Centre at Handsworth Park in Birmingham. A very simple pass that was probably updated and replaced.
Following the end of the war in May 1945 the Civil Defence Services were stood down. Most were completely disbanded and along with many having 'stand down' photos taken, a large number of local authorities issued certificates to commemorate the volunteers that gave up their time during the war. The below example is from Middlesex.
An interesting pre-war recruitment pamphlet that sets out the needs for various volunteers to join the ARP and Civil Defence services. Covers areas such as First Aid Parties, First Aid Posts and Hospitals, ARP Wardens, Auxiliary Fire Service, Women Ambulance Drivers and Attendants and Communication Personnel.
Going by the lack of bluette overalls this photo is probably a pre-war shot of a warden with the basic equipment they were issued with at that time - an unmarked black helmet, whistle, armband and respirator (with the basic respirator sack worn on his left hip). It appears he may have added his own binoculars to the kit (the case seen on his right hip).
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