As the dark clouds of war drew closer towards the end of 1939, the HMSO produced the pamphlet "AIR RAID PRECAUTIONS FOR ANIMALS". It was a guide to looking after pets during raids. On the back of the pamphlet was an advert for the CASH Captive Bolt gun. Used by vets to kill animals. Prior to and in the beginning months of the war it is estimated over 7500,00 were killed by pet owners.
A nice photograph of a member of the Home Guard with a local Air Raid Warden. Probably early in the war given the unofficial overalls on the warden.
A couple of nice items from Beckenham in south east London. An enamel wardens' post sign and an original local area marking for the bluette overalls.
With many men in reserved occupations or in the forces it fell on women to fill positions in some services. Ambulance drivers was one such role and was extremely dangerous. Travelling during the blackout and during raids the drivers ferried casualties from incidents to first aid posts and hospitals.
With the outbreak of war in September '39, a large number of men and women volunteered to join the ARP and CD services. To become a warden, a person would have to attend classes and those successfully completing the course would be given a certificate like the one below.
An erly war photograph showing Doris Waddington wearing a warden's helmet outside a wardens' post. The interesting aspect is the large "ARP WARDEN" sign affixed to the wall.
An interesting small badge for the Birmingham Socialist ARP Canteen Fund. Alas, it's proved extremely difficult to find more information about this group.
One of the duties of an air raid warden was to ensure everyone in his area od responsibility both had and knew how to use their gas mask.
An interesting photograph showing a large number of despatch riders. Their helmets feature the "DR" for their role within the CD services.
This wonderful photograph of nurses also shows a scarce ARP chaplain's helmet. A similar armband was also issued.
This photo shows a member of the Civil Defence Service taking a call at an underground facility somewhere in London. The most curious aspect of the photo is the special breast badge that has the CD emblem combined with "NEW TUBE SHELTERS". This is something I have not come across before, If you have any further information please leave a reply.
It's rare to see Civil Defence officers wearing peaked caps. This photo showing a CD group from Nuneaton has two officers wearing them. What service they originally came from is hard to determine. The man to the left has affixed his ARP badge to the cap. No piping can be seen so possibly the caps were police issue.
A very nice condition 1939-dated WW2 ARP Chief Warden's helmet. This particular item was sold on eBay for £165 (September 2018).
The German butterfly bomb was a small 2 kg anti-personnel device capable of killing or causing serious injury. The early cluster bomb was used extensively on the Eastern Front but thankfully only a relatively small number were dropped on British towns and cities in East Anglia and the North West.
More information about butterfly bombs
Six photographs showing how to deal with an incendiary device using a Redhill scoop and a container,
A couple of staged photos showing the new ARP Pattern 71 serge jacket that was being issued in the Summer/Autumn of 1941. One photo shows the slacks (ARP Pattern 73) and the other the skirt (ARP Pattern 72)
First Aid Post personnel from Preston pose for a group portrait. It would appear that the man in the middle (sat down) has two area markings below his CD breast badge. The bottom one is Preston but I cannot determine what the other one is.
I had an interesting morning at Hackney Archives and there was plenty of Civil Defence and ARP related material to go through. The below armband belonged to a Stoke Newington councillor.
Group portraits of Civil Defence volunteers are always interesting for throwing up details. This one has a Fire Watcher - FW - helmet tucked under the legs of the man at the front. A peculiarity on this photo is that it appears that the ranking members are only wearing chevrons on their right sleeves. Also, everyone is wearing a beret and it's not often that you see ladies wearing them.
An interesting poster showing an Incident Officer (wearing the blue helmet) getting some chit signed by the Ambulance member in the middle.
Another interesting group portrait of First Aid Party CD personnel from Cornwall. Undated but after the summer of 1941. I have seen other photos of Civil Defence members from Cornwall and they all usually appear to show the special yellow county cap badge being worn.
The ladies are all wearing the Pattern 71 tunic with the drivers' cap. The gentlemen are in the serge battledress and berets and have a mixture of CD and ARP breast badges (commonly seen as local authorities used up existing stock of badges). The District Warden in the centre of bottom row appears to be the only person wearing a lanyard. Only one person appears to have a St. John qualification on his right pocket.
Image courtesy of Imprints of WWII.
An interesting photo of a First Aid Party (FAP) at work. Most likely a staged photo is shows a casualty being readied for a waiting ARP ambulance (theirs the ambulance driver on the back of the vehicle with 'A' on their helmet). Of interest in the helmet insignia of the person in the middle. The large diamond above the FAP letters signifies the person as the Party Leader (they also appear to have two chevrons on their sleeve). There's also a gentlemen at the front of the stretcher wearing gaiters which are not often seen worn.
A very nice study of Miss Frankie Whitten taking part in a parade of London County Council (LCC) Ambulance Drivers at Hyde Park, London, shortly after her wedding earlier that day at Caxton Hall Registry Office to Surgeon Lieutenant J D Thompson.
IWM HU 74991 Coypright
An interesting group portrait from an unknown location. Interesting to see they adopted the white 'W' on a black square on a white helmet. Not overly rare but interesting to see a lot in one photo. Although the quality of the photo is not great, the senior officers in the centre appear to have additional markings about the 'W', possibly the rank diamonds that were used in the early part of the war.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.