Following an air raid, casualties in bombed buildings could be trapped beneath the rubble. If they were able to make a tapping sound then the Rescue Squads could endeavour to find and extricate them. Heavy Rescue Squads would look to ensure the buildings had been rendered safe to enter (by shoring walls etc) and the Light Rescue would tunnel through to the casualties, carry them out and pass them onto the first aid posts or to a hospital.
To assist in locating buried casualties, a Sound Locating Apparatus was devised in early 1942 to assist the Rescue Squads. This consisted of a truck with a crew of three which would be called from its base located at Metropolitan Electric Supply Company in Uxbridge.
Called out by a Borough’s ARP Controller, the truck would arrive at the incident and set up various listening devices at a bombed building. The operator would require all other rescue work to cease for at least 10 minutes as they listened for any noise. From records, it appears not every rescue team was happy to stop their work to allow this.
The success of the Sound Locating Apparatus appears to have been quite limited. In some incidents, the locating apparatus could not be deployed for several reasons. In some cases, the Civil Defence rescue dogs had already suggested where a casualty had been buried (in one particular case, this turned out to be a buried cat). In quite a number of cases the results were negative, as no casualties were present.
A Ministry of Home Security report in January 1945, commented that the Sound Locating Apparatus “…cannot be regarded as a valuable aid to rescue work.”
Thanks go to Chris Ransted for the information.
Vital to the war effort was the manufacture and use of various rubber products. Dunlop Rubber, one of Britain's largest multinational companies by 1939, was at the forefront of this effort. Fort Dunlop, in the Erdington district of Birmingham, was the location of the original tyre factory and the company's main office. Thousands of employees worked at the site.
Accordingly, the business organised a large-scale internal ARP system and a large number of ARP badges can be found featuring Dunlop. Various colours are found, which possibly relate to different functions within the ARP services: wardens, rescue, control, fire and first aid. To date, no definitive record has been located that answers which colour badge was attributed to which ARP service.
The badges are quite small (smaller than a £1 coin) and are made in sterling silver. An identical design of the badge features "INDIA", a Scottish rubber company that Dunlop acquired in 1940.
Thanks to Adam for the image.
The Services Watch Company was a budget-priced watch supplier based in Leicester which supplied watches bearing a number of brand names. The watches contained no jewels or were part-jewelled pin-lever watches which precluded them from being offered to the armed services.
All the watches sold by Services were assembled on the continent, mainly it seems at German and Swiss factories. The watches retailed for 12 shillings and 6 pence (12/6). The dials feature “Foreign Made” as a result.
The “Transport” models were made for Services from the mid-1930s, and initially marketed at truck drivers. The watches featured a larger than normal case, a strong luminous dial for visibility and were robust enough to be somewhat shockproof. Watches were supplied with two straps, one for wearing on the wrist and a longer one for wear over a glove or sleeve (see advert).
The “Transport” watch faces incorporated various terms like “A.R.P.”, “Despatch Rider” and aeronautical terms as a marketing gimmick to drive sales.
Published between January 1940 and late 1945, the ARP & AFS Review was a monthly magazine for members of the ARP, Civil Defence, Fire Guard and fire services. The magazine covered various topics; the release of Ministry of Home Security booklets, civil defence discussions in parliament, to issues of the organisation of the civil defence services. The magazine's editor was Peter Hunot, whose archive resides at the Bishopsgate Institute in London
The magazine also incorporated a section called "Wardens News" the "Official Organ of the National Association of Air Raid Wardens". This updated wardens of various civil defence-related bulletins, circulars and booklets that had been issued by the Ministry of Home Security (as well as corrections to those previously published). In April 1941 the magazine added the sub-heading "The Civil Defence Journal" and from November 1941 the title of the magazine became "ARP & NFS Review" following the changes made to the fire services in August of the same year.
The magazine continued to be printed but the size was reduced slightly later in the war due to paper rationing. Though the threat from Luftwaffe bombing raids began to recede in the middle of the war, the magazine covered the introduction and effects of the V-weapons from June 1944.
By the end of hostilities in Europe in May 1945, the magazine was titled "ARP & NFS Review - Industrial and Civic Welfare". The magazine continued into late 1945 and was retitled as "Welfare - The Journal of Industrial and Social Progress" but subscriptions dwindled and the publication ceased printing.
For historians, collectors and those interested in wartime civil defence, the magazines provide a valuable trove of information. The Imperial War Museum in London holds bound copies of every issue.
Curiously, another of the FG badges has recently appeared. This was acquired in the Maidstone area by a collector. Again, these badges are assumed to be for the Fire Guard Organisation and this one has "Maidstone Service" with the additional "SC" letters (which may correspond with either Street Captain or Sector Captain).
I've not previously seen this design of badge before and it would be interesting to know if others have previously come across examples. They do appear to be quite roughly made and the rear does have an odd fixing for the time period.
If you have any thoughts please leave a comment or fire off an email.
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