The tube of ready-to-use blackout tape would be cut to size, dipped in water and stuck to a window. The claim made by the manufacturers that it also "reinforced the window" is well, stretching it a bit...
Carrying on from yesterday's blog I came across this helmet being discussed on the War Relics Forum. With two black bands this helmet would be for a senior officer in the Casualty Services department.
Casualty Services (CS) were organised by a city's or local authority's Chief Medical Officer of Health. Under the CS were all the various medical services such as Casualty Receiving Hospitals (for serious injuries), permanent First Aid Posts (FAP - for lightly wounded; as the was developed First Aid Points were also created to alleviate pressure on hospitals), Ambulances, Mobile Units (MU - to assist at major incidents), Gas Cleansing Stations (to deal with injuries from chemical and poison weapons) and Mortuaries (both existing and temporary).
As the demands on the war drew more men into the services there was a need for the gaps to be filled by women. A number of posters (like the one below) were created mainly by the Department for Home Security to draw people into the ARP and Civil Defence services.
An interesting group portrait of wardens from York. Three fellows in the front row have a badge on their left sleeve which appears to be a version of the Bomb Reconnaissance Officer (BRO) badge. This looks quite large and could be cut down from the armband (this has been seen on other photos).
To ensure that Gas Identification Officers (GIOs) sttod out at at incident they were issued with yellow helmets. Usually the marking was GIO but this helmet features the early war diamonds as seen on wardens helmets.
A most interesting photo that is captioned "Civil Defence wardens and a member of the American Ambulance Great Britain search amongst rubble for salvageable items following a V1 Flying Bomb strike in Upper Norwood, south London during 1944.” In the centre a head warden looks through the debris of a building whilst another head warden with white helmet (and probable single black band) looks on. Behind them is a member of the American Ambulance Great Britain who wore a distinct uniform that was similar to First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) but with distinctive sleeve badge featuring the cross flags of Britain and the US.
Two Fire Watchers pose on the roof of a building close to St. Paul's Cathedral in London. They probably belong to the building's owners or a business located there. They have unmarked Mk. II helmets, General Service Respirators with Mk. VII gas respirator sacks and commercially available overalls and rubber boots.
The very interesting group portrait shows a group of London Auxiliary Ambulance Service personnel. The ladies are wearing the Pattern 71 serge jacket with Pattern 73 slacks. They all wear the peaked cap with LAAS badge. The men are in battledress (Pattern 59 and the austerity version with exposed buttons) and their berets also have the LAAS badge. Beneath the CD breast badge they are wearing the LONDON area marking (worn only by members of the LAAS).
It's rare to come across a completely new Civil Defence badge such as the one below. There are always new industrial ARP badges appearing as so many companies had them produced but a CD badge for a specific region is very rare. This Civil Defence Midland Region badge with motto is currently on auction on eBay.
This portrait shows the essential clothing required by members of the decontamination squads. With special gas-proof clothing and special gas cape to the helmet, these civil defence personnel were trained to deal with the hazardous chemicals that German bombs might contain. A great deal of training was undertaken to deal with the various types of chemical. Thankfully, no-one was ever called upon to deal with an chemical weapons. The hand bell was to be sounded when any chemical weapons had been safely dealt with (the opposite of this was the gas rattle used to warn of the use of chemical bombs.) The chap is wearing the standard Mk. II helmet with 'W' for Warden; later on these squads had DC ( for Decontamination) on their helmets.
Within the Wardens' Service there was a cross-over between Wardens and Fire Guards whereby a person could belong to both but be under the auspices of the Fire Guard Service. To reflect this, their helmet featured the W/FG lettering.
This 1946 certificate was issued to members of the Central Hospital Supply Service (a function within the War Organisation of the British Red Cross and Order of St. John) that had undertaken over 100 hours of service. The certificate came with a letter of thanks and details the service undertaken.
An interesting photograph of two members of a London County Council LAAS ambulance. The lady (probably the driver) is wearing the standard issue drivers' coat with peaked cap (and a rather fetching dark shirt and light tie). The gentleman is wearing bluette overalls with a LAAS badge above the right pocket and standard black Mk. II helmet with white, two-inch high, letter 'A'. The ambulance is a Bedford.
During the late 1930s much effort was expended on creating a specialised unit to deal with the chemical weapons. There was a great fear that the coming war would see the use of such weapons both on the battlefield and also dropped on civilian areas. To deal with air raid incidents that featured chemical weapons, Decontamination Squads were equipped with all manner of equipment to both neutralise the effects of the chemical/poson gas and also to protect the men undertaking the clear up operation. These decontamination squads were issued with oilskin suits, thick gloves and boots as well as standard Mk. II helmet as shown below.
This ARP Air Raid Warden enamel door plaque (currently on auction on eBay) is in fantastic condition. Many thousands of similar door plaques, in various designs, were manufactured both before and during the war.
Following bombing raids many utility services (gas, water, sewage, electricity and telephone) would have been disrupted. Many local authorities has specialist teams that would arrive and deal with these breakages. This helmet is for a senior party leader in a repair party dealing with electricity issues.
WW2 Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Redhill scoop for dealing with German incendiary bombs. This long wooden-handled scoop was used for shovelling sand onto an ignited incendiary bomb to douse it or to poke incendiary devices off gutters and roofs. The scoop here has been painted black but were initially sold in bare metal. It sometimes also came with a rake/hoe that could allow burning fragments to be collected in the scoop and then put in a fire bucket of sand. See the cigarette cards below that show how this was intended to be used.
This helmet was submitted to the website by the owner. It is an unusual marking with the letters D and R either side of what appears to be an ARP decal. It is assumed the letter are from Despatch Rider (sometime spelt Dispatch Rider). The owner queries whether it could be Demolition & Rescue but that term has never appeared in any of the documents I have seen.
A number of periodicals were published aimed at members of the Civil Defence Service. The below periodical was the ARP & AFS Review which included articles both about ARP matters as well as fire fighting.
This armband features the ARP letters with FIRST AID POINT, a slight variation on the often seen first aid post or party. The emblem in the centre is the county sign for Warwickshire and features a muzzled bear erect on its hind legs with a metal collar chained to a ragged post.
A somewhat unusual Medical Officer (MO) white helmet with a single black stripe. Being a senior Civil Defence officer, the MO usually ranked the same as a controller and had two black stripes on the helmet. The use of a single stripe is unknown to this author at this time.
A Home Office poster showing how an anti-gas respirator (gas mask) works.
Although not especially rare, a couple of Bomb Reconnaissance Armbands have appeared on eBay this week.
There is one on its own. And also another armband plus a Warden shoulder title, Liverpool area marking and single officer rank badge.
A very rare cap/beret badge for "Liverpool Wardens Service".
Send me items to blog about via my contact page