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.
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.
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.
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 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.
I was contacted by a visitor to the site regarding a helmet with the letter "E.O." on it. It's probably for an Evacuation or Equipment Officer but to see a white helmet with two black stripes for this position is quite peculiar. The myriad different markings found on home front helmets means new variations crop up weekly. If you have any other ideas what the letters could mean please let me know.
A nice condition white ARP Shelter Warden helmet. Shelter Wardens were placed in larger shelters to oversee the operation of the shelter, to ensure it was not over populated and ensure everything ran smoothly. This being a white helmet probably denotes that the wearer was leading a small group of shelters wardens (sometimes also called shelter marshals).
A most interesting group portrait from the IWM archives. Listed as "Group portrait of the ARP Rescue and Demolition Teams from Brigham, Middlesbrough and Bridlington. Tom Alderson GC is in civilian clothes sitting on the Mayor's right."
Rare to see the Repair Party/Road helmets (marked RP/R). A few appear to have specific armbands and the standard Civil Defence blue with gold lettering is being worn. There is a chap with a white helmet and three diamonds with a specific role I cannot quite make out. Given that everyone is in bluette overalls I would safely say the photo in pre-Summer 1941.
This wonderful photograph of nurses also shows a scarce ARP chaplain's helmet. A similar armband was also issued.
A very nice condition 1939-dated WW2 ARP Chief Warden's helmet. This particular item was sold on eBay for £165 (September 2018).
An interesting and unusual helmet came up for auction; a 1941-dated bakelite "Controller" helmet with two white central strips.
The Fire Guard service developed from the Fire Watchers that were volunteers (often forced volunteers if truth be told...) who spent long nights watching over industrial and commercial properties. They would deal with incendiary devices and call out the fire brigade if necessary. By 1944 the Fire Guards were well organised and had a variety of ranks. The below table for ARP Memorandum No. 17 dated 1944 shows the various markings that then existed within the service.
This often reproduced list of London's Civil Defence helmet markings first appeared on page 1276 of Volume 4 of The Second Great War by Sir John Hammerton and Sir Charles Gwynn, The nine volume history appeared shortly after the war (1947). It shows the wide range of helmet markings but there were no doubt many, many more.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.