An interesting lot of insignia and letters is currently up on eBay. The grouping consists of a 'BRADFIELD R.D." area title, war service chevrons, CD breast badge, silver ARP lapel badge and two letters sent at the war's end.
A poster advising people about where they can shelter with their dog if caught out in a raid.
A chart detailing how Bexhill's ARP Scheme was organised during WW2. It clearly shows how complex the whole system was. Image Bexhill Museum Trust.
This form was to be used by Gas Identification Officers (GIO) to report on the dropping of chemical and gas weapons. Thankfully, it was never called upon to be used.
An interesting pair of qualification certificates for a husband and wife in the Bristol area. Both had undertaken the training prior to the war and the lady had completed hers in October 1938.
An interesting certificate for a Mrs Winifred Peachey from Brize Norton. She has successfully passed the Instructor course for Local Air Raid Precautions Training and could now impart that knowledge to others. You don't see many ladies wearing the LARP badge and the certificate has 'him' struck out and 'her' inserted in its place.
Here's wishing you and your families a very happy Christmas and the very best for the year ahead. And a special thank you to everyone that sent me an ARP-related photo or message during the year.
At air raid incidents and when reporting activity wardens would use ARP Form M1. When reports had been successfully sent through to the Report / Control Centres they would utilise ARP Form M2 (shown below). It was similar in many ways but should a number of M1s have been received about a similar incident it was the M2 that then took precedence.
Local authorities issued hundreds if leaflets and notices to educate people about staying safe after an air raid. The primary concern was to alleviate pressure on the health surfaces by ensuring people did not fall unnecessarily ill from something that could be easily avoided. This notice advises on how to purify water following an air raid.
An information leaflet to be kept with the gas mask. Includes details on the various sirens, rattles, whistles and hand bells used by wardens.
In London (and other cities) many people lived in properties that required shelters to be built to accommodate them. To ensure that the correct person gained access a ticketing system was introduced. This Shelter Ticket for the London Civil Defence Region is one such item.
Of all the biographies written by wardens during the war, a couple continue to stand out to this day. One such tome is Barbara Nixon's "Raiders Overhead". Nixon's account of the Blitz in London, first published in 1943, is a compelling read and history of the times and how the ARP and Civil Defence Service worked. Well worth getting hold of a copy if you can. For more recommendations, see the resources section.
This interesting leaflet details the most widely offered ARP equipment available to the general public. The leaflet comes from the Lowestoft department store R. J. Pryce & Co on Suffolk Road (later Godfreys and now Kerrys). Reproduced by kind permission of the website Old Lowestoft.
An interesting card for a lady doing compulsory Fire Guard duty.
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.
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.
The majority of wardens were issued with a warrant card. Some members of the Civil Defence Services had a special National Registration ID Card with an additional space to record their employment with a particular service. The below is a standard card issued during the war that included the name and address of the bearer. It also has the original holder's silver ARP badge.
A 1939 Burn Brothers advert for their "Special Air, Gas and Water-Tight Cover and Frame"
From Hansard, 11 September 1941, this is the response of the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, regarding the change of name:
Mr. Noel-Baker asked the Home Secretary whether he will indicate the reasons for the changes in the title of the Civil Defence services and the consequential alterations in the uniform badges?
Mr. H. Morrison - The change in title from Air-Raid Precautions to Civil Defence was decided upon in order to mark the developments which have taken place, and to emphasise the growth and increased importance of the services and their essential unity with other branches of civil defence. Moreover, while "Air-Raid Precautions" may have been an appropriate term in the days of pre-war preparations, it is, in my judgment, neither dignified nor stimulating enough for the splendid body of men and women who have rendered active and heroic service in the face of fierce enemy attack. The Civil Defence badge will be supplied on new uniforms as production changes can be introduced. Separate Civil Defence badges are not being supplied in replacement of existing A.R.P. badges.
In 2010 the Royal Mail released a series of stamps entitled "Britain Alone". Amongst them was the often seen photo of an Air Raid Warden from Kingston setting the black-out time on the board outside his post. The ties of each days black-out would be printed in the day's newspaper (one hour after sunset and one hour before sun-rise)
An interesting advert for an ARP shelter in the 1938 December issue of the Illustrated Carpenter & Builder. Following the Munich Crisis a number of businesses saw the writing on the wall and the looming threat of another war.
As the war clouds gathered in the late 1930s some people began to see the likelihood of a war with Germany growing. Some decided to undertake ARP qualifications and start preparing for the war ahead. This certificate for Hilda Baldock shows she qualified as an Air Raid Warden in early May of 1939.
Some Things You Should Know If War Should Come - Civil Defence Public Information Leaflet No. 1, 1939
One of several leaflets sent out just prior to the start of the second world war.
An interesting leaflet issued to most holes in October 1939 advising the home owner how to ensure that if a bomb landed nearby how they could avoid injury.
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.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.