I've previously included this photo on the site but this is a better quality image. The Divisional/District warden here is helping a child with her Mickey Mouse style gas mask. The interesting part of his uniform is that he has the battledress jacket but is using the original red insignia on his lower sleeve (before the 'old gold' insignia was introduced in late 1941). The three bars with out star usually relate to a deputy chief warden (which clashes somewhat with the designation on his helmet). Again this is an example of the mix-and-match approach found on many period photos. He has placed his Kilburn area title above his medal ribbons and above this his ARP badge. The use of the Civil Defence armband was usually not allowed on uniform but this is probably a publicity photo and was used in this instance.
In April 1943 the Fire Guard organisation was established as a separate service. Control passed from the Chief Warden and the Fire Guard Staff Officer to a Fire Guard Officer as head of the service. With this change a number of full-time paid positions came into force such ‘Fire Guard Area Officers’ and a number of part-time unpaid ranks was formed, for example, ‘Area Captains’, ‘Sector Captains’, ‘Block Leaders’ and ‘Street Party Leaders’. The lowest uniformed rank was that of Sector Captain.
The below collection of insignia came up for auction a few years back. Of interest is the Bradford area title. It very rare to see any period photos showing a Fire Guard wearing a an area title, even more so one in white lettering. Given a large number of the new shoulder titles for Fire Guard ranks were white lettering it follows that in some areas local area titles may also have been manufactured, more than likely as a private purchase item. Bottom right in the Fire Guard beret badge - another private purchase item.
A group of ladies pose in their ARP Pattern 71 tunics and slacks. The lady on the far left appears to have double chevron stripes but with a star above - a most unusual combination. At the front there is a beret with the CD beret badge.
A couple of variations for Fire Guard shoulder titles cropped up on eBay. First is a yellow Sector Captain; I've seen this in white before but yellow may be a local variation. Second is a Senior Fire Guard; I've seen this as as written in one line before but this variation again maybe a local variation. From the same seller is a red Fire Guard title that is also thought to be of wartime production.
A fantastic portrait of an ambulance driver or attendant - the name on the rear is Elma May Stamp (nickname Buzz). The lady also wears a medal ribbon which looks to be the Royal Red Cross (which is a blue centre with red bars either side). The award is made to a fully trained nurse of an officially recognised nursing service, military or civilian, who has shown exceptional devotion and competence in the performance of nursing duties, over a continuous and long period, or who has performed an exceptional act of bravery and devotion at her or his post of duty. There looks to be an additional badge on the shoulders of her coat but it is not possible to discern what this relates to.
ARP badges of the same design as those issued in the UK were issued in several overseas territories. Each area would add their own scroll below with the name of the locality - examples include Hong Kong (as below), Malta, Kenya and the Straits Settlements (issued to wardens in Singapore, Penang Malaya and Malacca Malaya). This is marked as silver (银质) with a maker's stamp that appears to have the name of a Chinese mountain, Mount Tai (泰山) .
This badge (currently up for sale on eBay) was new to me but other collectors have intimated that similar badges have been seen before. Alas, it was also reported that similar badges were copied and reproduced several years ago. Going by the type of embroidery and the backing on the badge this could be original but without provenance it's impossible to say categorically if this example is the real McCoy.
Up on eBay are a four 'Decontamination' shoulder titles. These are the printed variety. Unusual to see four in original strip.
This portrait, from a series of staged photos, shows a Warden from the Westminster area of London. She's wearing the standard issue ARP Pattern 71 tunic with slacks. The tunic features the ARP embossed buttons (tunics are also known to have white metal CD and crown and from 1943 black plastic buttons featuring CD letters and crown). She's has a civilian style respirator sack slung over her shoulder and the lanyard is probably white (boroughs of London generally adopted this colour).
This interesting photo shows wardens belonging to the Maidenhead area. Going by the number of war service chevrons the photo is probably a stand down photo following the dissolution of the Civil Defence services in May 1945. Of interest is a triangular badge on the left sleeves of a number of wardens. It is unknown at this time what this badge represents. At the back is a single lady warden wearing a private purchase side cap.
Photo is currently available on eBay.
I manged to purchase a job lot of Civil Defence insignia on eBay and among the various items were two pairs of shoulder titles for a Fire Guard Sector Captain. I have previously seen the printed version of this rank but had not managed to get hold of the embroidered ones until now. The Sector Captain was the lowest uniformed rank within the Fire Guard service and wore a helmet with two half-inch black bands on it. In all photographs I have seen it has always been a Mk II helmet rather than a Zuckerman.
This unusual ARP badge with additional "Queens Canteen" popped up on eBay recently. I cannot seem to find any information about a 'Queens Canteen" (or Queen's Canteen) on the internet. A design of badge I've not come across this design before.
Two photos showing the early-war uniforms worn by Air Raid Wardens. The female warden is wearing the wrapover coat (with ARP badge and area marking) with the felt hat. She is holding a white helmet (so holds some seniority). The male warden is wearing the bluette overalls with ARP badge and area marking and has the standard issue black helmet. Alas no more information on where these photos were taken.
An early world war two local authority area marking for use on bluette overalls. This red on black variety was superseded by the old gold yellow from the end of 1941. A very nice condition badge that's currently up for sale on eBay with an original embroidered CD beret badge,
A group photo showing three ARP ambulance crew (drivers or attendants) in their standard uniform with the ski caps and what appears to be the arched 'LAAS' (London Auxiliary Ambulance Service)insignia. Sat at the front are three nurses with the ARP badge to the front of their uniforms. It appears that the nurses also have the LAAS emblem above the ARP insignia, if this is correct this is the first time I have seen this worn in this way. I did not know nurses were attached directly to the LAAS.
The photo is currently available on eBay.
Up on eBay is a collection of CD items. Included are some printed rank chevrons (that look unused), warden shoulder titles and the CD badge made specifically for the gabardine coat. A nice collection.
When a business did not want to go to the expense of having a badge made with their own company name on they could purchase generic badges. The one below is such an example. I have seen the identical badge with 'Factory' written on it. The same design could be used but with a company name; this design is known to have been used by Rowntree amongst others.
A nice shot of two members of the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS) aiding a stretcher case. The LAAS shoulder title can be seen cleanly on the coat.
A very interesting bespoke cap badge for the rescue service in Reading.
This group portrait (currently on eBay) shows a number of ARP/CD personnel and a boy scout. The lady sat in the centre at the bottom is most interesting. She is wearing the standard issue Pattern 71 tunic with a beret (not usually seen). Her insignia is very interesting: she is wearing an instructor's badge on her collar, a St John qualification on her right breast pocket and it would appear she also has the Life Saving badge on her lower left forearm (a most unusual place for this badge). Given her central position she is probably the most senior person in the group.
The gentleman next to her has five war service chevrons so this dates the photo towards the end of the war. His breast pocket badge is the red on black ARP type (rather then the more usual yellow on black CD version).
The majority of the other ladies have the Pattern 47 wrapover with red lined collars. They also are wearing the felt hat.
This interesting badge is made from the standard issue CD breast badge and the local area marking badge for Gloucestershire. There's usually not enough space on the left-hand pocket of the battledress to accommodate both badges neatly so in this case it looks like the owner cut down the breast badge a little. An interesting bespoke badge that is currently for sale on World War Wonders.
This ARP Pattern 57 battledress jacket and warrant card cropped up on eBay recently (with a price of £160). It's the first time I have seen a double area marking - one for the county of Staffordshire and one for the local area of Rowley Regis (southeast of Dudley). Very unusual to see the Rowley Regis badge sewn to the upper flap of the breast pocket. The CD breast badge appears to be the merrow edge variety that was attached to the jacket when made. The rank stripes don't appear to be the usual WW2 variety and look a bit like those that the Civil Defence Corps issued from 1948. Again, they may be original but hard to say. Oddly the lanyard is white - I would have again expected it to be yellow for Staffordshire. It appears that a metal Police type chain in connecting the whistle to the lanyard. The jacket also features four war service chevrons.
A table chock full of boxed silver ARP badges awaiting presentations to members of the St John Ambulance Brigade by the Mayor at Reading Town Hall in May 1938. A special woven yellow on black ARP badge was later made available for St John volunteers to wear on their uniform and worn on the lower right sleeve.
Image: Reading Museum object number REDMG : 1980.36.A50.5
I picked this rather rare medal bar up on eBay recently. I've seen a few other types of these medal bars but this specific anti-gas instructor was new to me. Given that the ARPS also appears it ties in closely with the ARPS Instructor badge that civil defence personnel could train for.
I am indebted to Steve Crookes for sending me this photo of a British Red Cross medal with interesting medal bars from his collection. This shows how the above bar would have been worn. Note the 1941 ARP medal bar.
This Westminster area marking cropped up on eBay recently. I have seen a variation in yellow and now this confirms a red version was also available. This would have been sewn onto bluette overalls.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.