A badge I've not seen the like of before. Being sold with a few other ARP items so I assume from that that the badge is WW2 period. The simple rear design using a safety pin and the general look of it makes me think it is of Second World War vintage.
One for the re-enactors today, reproduction personalised Air Raid Wardens' Post metal wall signs. Well made A4-sized wall plaques, suitable for indoor or outdoors. Made from 0.7mm thick aluminium with a high gloss finish. You can add quite a long locality - I tried Borough of Lewisham, and that was OK (it's a max of 25 characters including spaces). The font is good for WW2. A nice item for your re-enacting display or for putting up indoors. And only £12.99 delivered in the UK.
Get your own Wardens' Post sign
I've finally managed to fill a gap in my badge collection with the CAGS Civil Defence Instructor badge. It was issued to those that had attended and successfully completed the Civilian Anti-Gas School instructors' course. It's in the nationally trained gold colour (same as the ARPS Air Raid Precautions School badge). Although CAGS appears to have been a regular course run prior to, and throughout, the war at the Civil Defence Schools at Easingwold (in N. Yorshire) and Falfield (in Glos.), the instructor badge is extremely scarce (I've only seen this one and two other examples in 20 years). This popped up on eBay recently - I was just lucky enough to be online at the right time.
The CAGS course certificates below were kindly supplied by Jon Mills.
A certificate of service for a part-time volunteer in the Messenger Service. Dates gives are between February 1939 and the stand down of the Civil Defence Services in early May 1945.
This single W black warden's helmet with Finchley coat of arms recently sold at C&T Auctions for the princely sum of £520 (not including commission and VAT). The estimate was £120 to £189. The prices of many home front items, and especially civil defence and ARP, have been gaining momentum for a few years. Helmet prices are steadily rising.
Doing the rounds again on eBay are these fake Second World War Great Western Railway (GWR) patches. Thankfully buyers are paying attention and not usually purchasing this tat but it's important to do your research and check the veracity of ARP items, especially railway related items. There's absolutely no evidence or photos for these badges ever having existed except in the mind of the faker selling them.
Always interesting to see, especially if of an area you know, are the wardens' posts and sector posts maps. The below is for the area of Mayfair designated as Group 'D'.
The German SD 2 "butterfly bombs" were small air-dropped anti-personnel/fragmentation devices. Dropped in containers that opened at a pre-determined height, the 'wings' opened and rotated the device thus arming it. It could be fitted with a variety of fuses - from impact to delay. Various colours from green/grey to yellow were dropped, some with red or yellow stripes on the wings.
The first use of the butterfly bombs was in Ipswich in late October 1940. Later attacks on Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Hull in June 1943 caused tremendous loss of life and disruption to the area.
The Ministry of Home Security issued warning pamphlets regarding the bombs. A Ministry of Information film detailed the dangers of the butterfly bombs.
A scarce WW2 double-sided cork dartboard sold on eBay for £435 including shipping. The reverse side is called 'Blitzkrieg Bombardment' and the maker was was called 'ARP Supplies' on The Strand in London. Cracking item for a Civil Defence club.
The Civilian Protective Helmet, commonly called the Zuckerman, was created to protect the public and Civil defence workers from falling brickwork and masonry. Primarily utilised by the Fire Guard, the helmet was designed in 1940 and manufacture lasted through to at least February 1940. The current earliest date for circulation are December 1940 (12/40) and the latest date (currently known) is February 1942 (2/42).
If you have dates earlier ot later than that I'd love to see a picture of the stamp.
Southern Railway memorandum number 2 from March 1943. Interesting note about the use of butterfly bombs (the mention of colours proves both were being dropped) and a DIY fix for the canvas mittens protectors that were worn over the anti-gas oilskin gloves.
Thanks to George P. for the image.
Although not directly related to Civil Defence this telephonist certificate from 1941 was probably similar to those issued to Report & Control telephonists. Not an overly exciting piece of paper ephemera but the last line is intriguing: "You are expected to comply with the instructions issued to you by the Post Office Authorities respecting your teeth if you have not already done so." Now what is that about...?
Thanks to George P. for the image.
The Women's Institute (WI) was originally formed in Canada in 1897 and according to the National Archives a badge featuring the entertained WI letters monogram, the motto "For Home And Country" and two maple leaves was designed by Laura Rose. The first British WI meeting was held on 16 September, 1915. The "For Home & Country" badge dates from the 1920s and can be seen worn by W.I. members during the Second World War.
The oval-shaped badge is made of gilded brass with "W” and “I" letters intertwined in a voided centre. On the left a red enamel rose depicts the British organisation and on the right a maple leaf represents the original WI which began in Canada. The motto "For Home and Country" is inlaid with green enamel. The rear has a simple pin and catch.
Several manufacturers made this badge over the years.
Fattorini & Sons made two versions:
Straight maker mark - 'Fattorini & Sons Bradford' used this maker mark between 1908 and 1928. A large number of these badges also have a peculiar pentangle in the centre of the rose. It appears this was a method of fabrication rather than meaning anything else. The shape of this badge is a slightly flatter oval than the badge that followed in the 1930s (see below).
Arched name - 'Fattorini & Sons Ltd Bradford Works Birmingham' used between 1933 and 1939.
W. O. Lewis (Badges) Ltd of Birmingham made a version which is probably the commonest seen nowadays. Not sure of the dates of manufacture for this currently, but given the prevalence of the badge it may be from the highwater mark of WI membership in the mid-1950s.
The type least encountered is that made by Marples & Beasley, again in Birmingham - the date of production is unknown though and the production run appears to have been quite low.
There are also a few unmarked types - one has a small dot on the reverse and another omits this – possibly from two different makers and production dates are un known but again possibly into the 1950s.
A Welsh version of the badge featuring “FY NGWLAD A'M CARTREF” was made by W. O. Lewis and Fattorini. It has the Welsh red dragon in the centre and the red rose and maple leaf as per the other badges. This badge is also known to have been made in sterling silver.
A smart group of ARP/CD personnel from Gloucestershire. Interesting they all (bar one) have the small embroidered CD beret badge. I initially thought the chap seated in the middle has odd coloured rank insignia but when compared to the beret badges they are probably the standard old gold yellow rank chevrons. There's a smattering of the austerity pattern battledress and a number of St. John awards on the right breast pockets. I cannot see any war service chevrons but it has the look of a stand down photo at war's end. Quite a young looking group on the whole as well.
First Field Dressings were introduced for use by the British Army during the Boer War. They were also issued during the First World War. They contained two bandages with safety pins and were to be used om wounds before the injured person could be carried to a first aid station or similar. Each serviceman had their own First Field Dressing and if you came across an injured soldier you were to use their own bandage on them. Special pockets in the tunics were incorporated to hold the bandage and later pockets on the leg of battledress did the same.
With the fear of bombing attacks on civilian populations growing (the bombing attack on Guernica during the Spanish Civil War occurred on 26 April 1937) the Home Office saw a requirement for dressings to be available for bombing casualties by first responders (in many instances members of the Warden's Service). The bandages would deal with injuries associated with bombing (shrapnel, flying glass etc) before the injured could be transported to a first aid post or local hospital.
The below is an October 1938 First Field Dressing made by Smith & Nephew. As no uniform was issued to the fledgling Civil Defence Services at this time the bandages were most likely issued as part of small first aid pouches or even carried in pockets.
I've not heard of instances of the bandage carried in a pocket of the bluette overalls. I assume the requirement was not necessary as dedicated first aid responders were available from 1939. With the introduction of the serge uniforms (battledress for men and tunics for ladies), special pockets were incorporated in the designs. Civil Defence trousers followed the British Army pattern and included a pocket on the front right of the trousers. On the Pattern 71 tunic a special pocket was made in the lining to hold the bandage (similar to how they had been for First World War soldiers).
A larger bandage called a 'Shell Dressing' was also made with Home Office approval and examples are also dated from 1938.
I am indebted to Alan House, author of "Home Front Transport - Vehicles of the UK Civil Defence Services 1938 to 1968" for sending me a copy of his book. Alan is a retired member of the fire and rescue service and has written a number of books.
His Home Front Transport book covers the various types of vehicles used by Civil Defence Services during the second world war and then post war by the Civil Defence Corps until it was disbanded in 1968. The book includes information on vehicles that were converted and those specifically manufactured for civil defence purposes. It's a fantastic book with over 300 pages packed with copious black-and-white and colour photographs.
The above book (ISBN 9780956119902) can be bought direct from the author for £9.75 plus postage – simply email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
Two course completion certificates issued in 1942 and 1943. It's quite rare to see LAAS certificates.
Sadly doing the rounds again are fake AVRO ARP items. Here we have an AVRO ARP armband claimed as "WW2". The AVRO badges have cropped up repeatedly on eBay (along with spurious collar tabs) are are from a notorious faker of militaria. Be warned - it's a modern piece of crap on an aged piece of cloth.
A certificate issued by the Central Wandsworth Division, Fire Guard Organisation in November 1942. The attendee had passed a course in dealing with incendiary bombs.
Try as I might on Grace's Guide I have been unable to find out the full name of the company behind the manufacture of WW2 gas rattles. The name "B & E Ltd" plus ARP and a date appear on numerous rattles. Dates start in 1939 and go through to 1942. If you know, please drop me a line.
UPDATE: A potential candidate as the maker of these rattles is Bluestone & Elvin at the Beeanese Works, Blackhorse Lane, London E17. They were furniture makers and so that ties in to the rattle. They later released a series of furniture called Beeanese. I can find nothing on Grace's Guide about them.
Splinter goggles were made to protect the eyes from flying debris during an air raid. The below are in excellent condition and show clearly the way the surface was painted and how the foam padding was used. An elastic head band held the goggles in place. The goggles pivoted in the centre to allow a level of adjustment for different head sizes.
The below pair of splinter goggles are currently available at Click Antiques & Vintage.
The description of this photo is:
"Another way of dealing with fire bombs. At the base of this London lamp post an asbestos snuffer together with a face guard and gloves of the same material take the place of the more usual sandbags. The snuffer is dropped over the bomb; the face guard and gloves protect the Fire Watcher."
The date is probably after the Fire Watchers Order came into effect in September 1940.
The CD and crown breast badge introduced for wear with the battledress and tunics was made by several different manufacturers. A pattern copy would be sent to each to copy. This gives rise to variations in both shape and backing material. The below of examples of several.
Blacked Our Britain have posted some marvellous photos of original WW2 uniforms, starting at the left:
1. ARP Pattern 47 wrapover overall for use by control centre staff.
2. ARP Pattern 43 coat with lancer front overall worn by ambulance drivers and attendants.
3. ARP Pattern 42 female warden's coat.
The Pattern 57 Civil Defence battledress blouse jacket below sold on eBay for £137 (plus £10 shipping). It's a size 8 and manufactured by H. Leaning & Co Ltd. The date stamp is September 1942 and this corresponds with the letter O also stamped on the inside. A lot (but by no means all) manufacturing usually had a year on their labels. The ARP breast badge is in an unusual place. It was usually sewn onto the left pocket. Might be a hangover from the bluette overalls where the badge was sewn above the left breast pocket. A cynic might offer the opinion the badge was added post-war by someone not au fait with regulations.
Prices are edging up for good condition blouses in a good wearable size for re-enactors.
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