Direct from the garden shed of a notorious eBay scammer is this absolute monstrosity. A post-war Civil Defence Corps battledress that has had a fake GWR ARP breast badge applied (these badges are complete fantasy items) with more fake GWR circular collar patches. To top it off with have Slough shoulder titles (eh???) for some reason, a couple of GWR buttons to replace the black plastic epaulette buttons and then finally out came the John Bull printing kit to add a touch of "authenticity" to the inside. So hilariously fake it's a surprise anyone would be taken in. Alas someone may will bid.
We've seen a similar attempt made to create an LNER jacket in the past. A little research can save you a bob or two people...
Marlows Military Auctioneers have an upcoming sale on 5 November, 2020 that includes a number of lots with ARP and Civil Defence interest. One lot contains a variety of celluloid matchbox covers - for the ARP, Auxiliary Fire Service, Home Guard & Civil Defence, a collectable ARP ashtray and ladies' compact.
A group photo of members of London's Auxiliary Ambulance Service. I assume this is early in the war given that only bluette overalls are in evidence. I've not seen many photos of LAAS insignia on bluette.
See this previous blog post on LAAS lapel badges.
Image courtesy of Matthew Smaldon.
The collecting of second world war home front paper ephemera has seen increased interest over the past few years. Before and during the war a plethora of magazines, booklets and pamphlets were issued by the government, local authorities and various newspapers etc with regards to air raid precautions. The below, subtitled "A Comprehensive Guide in Graphic Narrative", is one such example. They often contain very interesting photos of Civil Defence personnel as well as information on air raid shelters (often showing perfectly dry, well appointed Anderson shelters and not the damp, flooded, freezing hovels many remember the shelters to be).
Prices for these magazines continue to grow and many are now reaching into the £20+ mark. I can recall seeing many such magazines literally in pieces in crates at militaria shows twenty years ago...
An interesting chart detailing the common bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe during the second world war. Probably used as a teaching aid (with the cheeky dig that "Ours Are Better"...). Thanks to George for sharing.
The German air force dropped mainly High Explosive (HE) and Incendiary Bombs (IB) plus some anti-personnel bombs (such as the butterfly cluster bombs) on Britain during the second world war. HE bombs were used for their destructive force and blast effect on buildings; IBs were intended to caused major fires. An aircraft might contain both types.
Initially, the more common German HE ordnance were the 50kg and 250kg bombs. Bombs types were defined by SC, SD or PC, for example, a SC250 would be a general purpose 250kg Sprengbombe Cylindrich. HE bombs would also be fitted with different fuses - short or long delay. The majority of bombs dropped on Britain during the war were of the SC type. The largest 1,100lb shown below equates to 500kg (not shown are the 1,000kg 'Hermann' or 1,800kg 'Satan'). The last bomb on the chart is a 250kg oil bomb (German: Flammenbombe).
The armour piercing bomb shown was prefixed SD (Sprengbombe Dickwandig). They came is various sizes from 50, 250, 500 to 1,700kg and due to their penetration qualities were used primarily against ships and concrete emplacements. The PC (Panzerbombe Cylindrich) armour piercing bomb had a thicker nose and shell with only 20% of the total weight being explosive; these were used against ships and fortifications.
To read more about how unexploded bombs were dealt with see Chris Ransted's Bomb Disposal in World War Two. To learn more about the various bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe see Air Dropped Ordnance.
On 15 December, 1940, Dennis Bingham, a 16-year-old member of Sheffield's Messenger service, was badly injured during a raid on the city. Though injured, Dennis still managed to relay a message to the Report & Control Centre regarding the incident. He was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his devotion to duty.
From the Supplement to the London Gazette, 11 April, 1941:
"On leaving his Post with a message, Bingham was injured and rendered unconscious by the explosion of a H.E. bomb. Recovering consciousness, he endeavoured to get his message through. He had covered some distance over the debris of demolished buildings when he collapsed. He managed, however, to crawl to the home of another messenger and pass on his message. Bingham showed great devotion to duty although suffering from serious injuries."
Something new to me cropped up on a Facebook group over the weekend. Someone posted a few pages from a wartime magazine called the "Police Journal" (dated to the third quarter of 1941) that mentioned individual Civil Defence services would use coloured pennants at incident posts so the service could be quickly identified. The pennants were triangles 12 inches at the broad end and 2 foot long. The colour scheme used:
Ambulance - White with red cross pennant
Casualty (First Aid Parties with ambulances) - Black and White divided horizontally pennant
Fire - Grey with 6 inch diameter red disc pennant
First Aid Parties - White pennant
Police - Dark Blue pennant
Public Utility Repair / Rescue - Green pennant
Decontamination - Yellow pennant
How well used this system was is up for debate. It was probably after the major blitz period of 1940 into 1941 that liaison between services was crucial and possibly not very well coordinated initially. The pennants were an attempt to rectify this but with the lessening of raids they perhaps were not widely adopted. To date, there is no photographic evidence of them in use (either training or for an actual post raid incident)
The marking of Incident Posts during daylight was with a 3 foot square chequered flag of six inch squares of Cambridge blue and white. The night time marking was two stacked lamps (both blue and purple colours have been mentioned in original references).
For major incidents where a large number of services may be called in to assist, a Rendezvous Point may be set up by the police. This is marked by a 3 foot square flag of six-inch wide vertical Cambridge blue and white stripes. At night, the rendezvous point was marked by two blue/purple lamps side by side.
Thanks to Graham Murray and Austin Ruddy for the information.
Here's an interesting item sent in via the website (thank you Wayne). This looks to be a homemade instructional poster about the dangers of incendiary bombs - especially the ones containing additional explosive material. Two IBs have been made from wood to show scale no doubt. Possibly someone that had attended an instructors' course returned to his area and made this to show his fellow wardens. A rare survivor.
Currently there appears to be some remarkable prices being asked (and in one case £115 paid) for plastic WW2 Junior Salvage Steward Cog In The Wheel and related badges.
The cost of the "Junior Salvage Steward Cog In The Wheel" red plastic badge is extraordinary (it has also sold for £35 on eBay as well). There are a few copy cat sellers chancing their arm that it will sell again at this absurd price. The tin button badge (possibly a tad scarcer) and one on eBay at the moment (starting at £23).
The most common variety - the red plastic Salvage Steward - is usually selling for between £20 (one sold on eBay recently for £18) and £50. A number of militaria sellers have the badge at the £40 mark.
I once saw the red, green and blue Salvage Steward badges for sale at War & Peace Show for £80 the lot (which I turned down...d'oh...). Home Front badges do go through fits and starts and as ever the rarer factory ARP badges always go for a premium.
All the way from Canada this badge. Sent in by Scott this badge was amongst his grandfather's personal items. I have seen similar badges with green and blue enamel but this is a first for the red. I am assuming that the colours were used by different CD services (first aid probably using the red).
Following on from yesterdays' blog about the The Queen's Messengers Convoy, Adrian Blake was kind enough to share two helmets from his collection. Adrian is the author of Helmets of the Home Front. the reference bible for all things helmet related on the British home front in WW2.
The Queen's Messenger Convoys (some references state initially 18 convoys, later 21 in total) were created in early 1941 to provide emergency welfare assistance to areas affected by bombing. The then Queen donated towards the creation of the service and the vehicles were marked with "Gift of H.M. The Queen". Vehicles were also paid for/donated by the USA and a number of period photographs show a circular sign of the flags of the UK and USA with "American Committee for Air Raid Relief to Great Britain" written on it. Other dominions (such as Jamaica) also paid for vehicles.
The QM convoys were managed via the Ministry of Food. A standard eight-vehicle convoy consisted of two stores lorries (with 6,000 emergency meals), two kitchen lorries plus three mobile canteens and a water tanker (300-350 gallons). The convoys also contained several despatch motorcyclists. Later the size of convoys varied with some also containing a welfare vehicle. They had "Queen's Messenger Convoy" written above the cabs and "Food Flying Squad" written on the side of the vehicles and they had a distinctive yellow and blue paint job.
Most of the convoys' members were volunteers. Some of the convoys were staffed and assisted by members of the WVS (seen in period photos). Regional Food Officers could appoint paid drivers if necessary. Vehicles would add "battle honours" denoting the locations that they had assisted.
Following the Normandy Landings a number of the convoys were lent to UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration founded in 1943) to help people in the formerly Nazi-occupied countries.
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