An interesting poster covering the main gases thought to be in the German arsenal. Includes the various gases - chlorine, phosgene, mustard and Lewisite.
A collection of gas masks in cardboard boxes and leatherette carriers hanging from hooks at a nursery school for displaced children in London.
This rare armband cropped up on eBay recently and finally sold for £235. I've not seen this design before. Two red chevrons have been added to denote two full years' service in the housewives' section.
A 1939 Burn Brothers advert for their "Special Air, Gas and Water-Tight Cover and Frame"
This photo shows a line up of the new uniforms being issued to the civil defence services (from left):
Ambulance driver - ARP Pattern 43 drivers' coat and ARP Pattern 45 drivers' ski cap
First aid reporter - ARP Pattern 47 bluette wrapover
Female raid warden - ARP Pattern 42 women's warden's coat and ARP Pattern 44 felt hat
First aid nurse - ARP Pattern 46 nursing overall
Male raid warden - ARP Pattern 41 bluette overalls and helmet
I have seen this advertising boarding from another angle but came across this shot on Getty.
Clearly understanding the and reacting to the siren could save your life. Many businesses put up signs - such as the one below - to educate their workers about the new air raid sirens.
ARP Post F at Ilfracombe Hospital. The gentleman centre has his silver ARP badge whilst the chap at the back has a most unusual helmet marking.
Another rarely seen but fantastic photo from the Getty archives. The well sand-bagged ARP Post in Holborn, central London with a warden outside. The photo is dated 14 September 1939 so no official uniform was available at this time.
A most interesting group portrait from the IWM archives. Listed as "Group portrait of the ARP Rescue and Demolition Teams from Brigham, Middlesbrough and Bridlington. Tom Alderson GC is in civilian clothes sitting on the Mayor's right."
Rare to see the Repair Party/Road helmets (marked RP/R). A few appear to have specific armbands and the standard Civil Defence blue with gold lettering is being worn. There is a chap with a white helmet and three diamonds with a specific role I cannot quite make out. Given that everyone is in bluette overalls I would safely say the photo in pre-Summer 1941.
Six ambulance drivers from Sheffield in front of their vehicles. They all wear the ARP Pattern 71 serge jacket with ARP Pattern 73 slacks.
I picked this rather interesting post card up on eBay for a few quid. It features a large group consisting of:
1) At the back (probably) members of an ARP First Aid Post or First Aid Party. Most have been trained by the St. John Ambulance Association going by the badge on the right breast pocket. All are wearing the serge battledress apart from a couple of chaps top row who are wearing bluette overalls.
2) A line of nurses, some wearing the distinct St. John emblem on their uniform front and one NA.
3) Ahead of these nurses are five ambulance drivers in their distinct drivers' coats.
4) At the bottom are a row of ARP Nursing Auxiliaries (ARP NA) They have the blue uniform with the red embroidered ARP on the front.
Overall, a very nice mix of personnel detailing core first aid and hospital members.
A wonderful photo from Getty Images showing the uniform of London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS) personnel.. The description is "18th October 1940, London, England, Queen Elizabeth chats to a woman Ambulance driver during her tour of inspection of Ambulance ARP depots in London".
From Hansard, 11 September 1941, this is the response of the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, regarding the change of name:
Mr. Noel-Baker asked the Home Secretary whether he will indicate the reasons for the changes in the title of the Civil Defence services and the consequential alterations in the uniform badges?
Mr. H. Morrison - The change in title from Air-Raid Precautions to Civil Defence was decided upon in order to mark the developments which have taken place, and to emphasise the growth and increased importance of the services and their essential unity with other branches of civil defence. Moreover, while "Air-Raid Precautions" may have been an appropriate term in the days of pre-war preparations, it is, in my judgment, neither dignified nor stimulating enough for the splendid body of men and women who have rendered active and heroic service in the face of fierce enemy attack. The Civil Defence badge will be supplied on new uniforms as production changes can be introduced. Separate Civil Defence badges are not being supplied in replacement of existing A.R.P. badges.
Prior to be occupied by the Germans om 30 June 1940, the Channel Islands prepared for war like much of the rest of the UK. ARP wardens were trained and this badge was available to be worn on civilian clothing. The badge features the coat of arms of Jersey - a red shield with three gold leopards (lions passant guardant). It derives from the seal granted to the island’s bailiff by Edward I in 1279. Quite a rear badge these days but they crop up from time to time. Photo from warrelics.eu
In 2010 the Royal Mail released a series of stamps entitled "Britain Alone". Amongst them was the often seen photo of an Air Raid Warden from Kingston setting the black-out time on the board outside his post. The ties of each days black-out would be printed in the day's newspaper (one hour after sunset and one hour before sun-rise)
A huge variety of lapel badges were manufactured during the war to show a person was 'doing their bit' towards the war effort. For those ARP warden not in uniform a whole myriad of lapel badges were available. The one below combines a commonly seen ARP badge with a good luck charm of the horseshoe..
An interesting advert for an ARP shelter in the 1938 December issue of the Illustrated Carpenter & Builder. Following the Munich Crisis a number of businesses saw the writing on the wall and the looming threat of another war.
During the second world war a number of vehicles were requisitioned for use as ARP transport. To communicate that the car was on ARP duty a mascot was often attached to the front bumper. The below example appears to have had black added at some time - the original was probably just plain chrome. This item was made by the Medal Co. of Birmingham.
"ARP Wardens Rescuing Casualties Of Bomb Blast" by Sir Walter Thomas Monnington, PRA (1902-1976) . A framed pastel drawing bearing studio stamps on reverse (17.5cm x 25cm). Owned by the artist's widow, Evelyn Janet Monnington.
An interesting early war photograph of a warden at home with his family. He has his silver ARP badge on his lapel and on his table is his gas mask. On the rear wall hangs his helmet and off the curtain rail above the door hang his Pattern 41 bluette combination suit overalls.
At Chatham Dockyard's Salute to the '40s they have a blitzed house on show. It's the perfect place for ARP and Civil Defence re-enactors to get a great period looking photo. The re-enactor here is Chris; he has aided me immensely this year with information about ARP and Civil Defence Services during WW2.
As the war clouds gathered in the late 1930s some people began to see the likelihood of a war with Germany growing. Some decided to undertake ARP qualifications and start preparing for the war ahead. This certificate for Hilda Baldock shows she qualified as an Air Raid Warden in early May of 1939.
The second of four leaflets sent out prior to the start of the second world war. This one covers gas masks (how to keep and use them) as well as masking windows to prevent flying glass injuries.
This photo was taken at Christmas in 1944 and shows the owner of a toy shop who would donate gifts to children in the Paddington area of London. The post warden (going by the star above chevrons) has five war service chevrons on his sleeve so was in the service very early on. He also has a badge on his right breast pocket that was new to me. It appears to be a FIRST AID badge for the LCC (London County Council). I have tried searching for this online but as yet have no come across this variety. Would be interesting to know the colours of the badge.
Photo was kindly sent to me by Chris Ransted.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.