I am once again indebted to Steve Taylor for sharing these photos below. I recently posted a blog about an oval B.R.O. patch. Steve's battledress with Cornwall area title shows this Bomb Reconnaissance Officer (BRO) badge being worn along with an "I.W." which is assumed to be Incident Warden (a very early naming of the Incident Officer as it was to become, the script version of this worn above). The person also has a first world war wound stripe in red.
I saw this badge in the flesh and my gut reaction was that is was a private purchase Bomb Reconnaissance Officer sleeve patch. The style of construction and colours does tie into the Civil Defence Services during the war.
Update: see this blog for an identical badge in place on a battledress sleeve.
Thanks to Chris Ransted for sharing the images.
These Cumberland badges would appear to have similar colours to insignia issued by the Civil Defence Services during WW2 and the later Civil Defence Corps. Several numbered versions are in evidence but to date no definite identification has been found. They may of course have nothing to do with Civil defence. If you happen to know more, please contact me.
Have to admit I'm a bit on the fence with this badge. It was claimed to be a WW2-vintage Fire Guard badge for Keighley on eBay. Measurements were 6.8 cm x 4.5 cm. It certainly generated a lot of interest and late bids took its hammer price to £91 (plus shipping).
It does have the look of a WW2 badge but a couple of items had me a little confused. Firstly, the use of a red thread is very peculiar on the backing. It seems odd (and a waste) to use such as colour on a bobbin thread. Hessian can be used as a backing but this is a tad coarse for the purpose. From the measurements given I assume it was intended for placement on the battledress pocket like the CD badge.
It may well be genuine and needs further research, and if the real deal it's a very rare survivor. Clearly a couple of bidders were in no doubt about the badge's veracity.
Perhaps understandably the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) services created in the late 1930s initially attracted few female recruits to their ranks. In spring 1938 Lady Reading, widow of a former Governor of India who had a long record of voluntary charity work, was asked by the Home Office if she could help set up an organisation to assist Britain’s local councils in interesting women in the work of these new ARP services. In June 1938 Lady Reading launched the Women’s Voluntary Services for ARP – a cumbersome title quickly shortened to WVS - with a radio broadcast on the BBC and the following January they featured prominently in the National Service recruiting guide distributed to every home in Britain.
Local authorities proved keen to make use of those women who volunteered for work with ARP and the organisation quickly outgrew its original purpose of acting as a recruitment agency, WVS members being involved in many aspects of the preparations for war. In February 1939 the WVS, recognising this change of role, amended its official title to the Women’s Voluntary Services for Civil Defence. When war broke out seven months later the WVS was already viewed by the government as an auxiliary service to ARP in much the same way as the WRNS, ATS and WAAF were to the armed services.
As the WVS’s original role was to encourage volunteers to join the ARP services, it was not envisaged that a distinct WVS uniform would be needed but, following the example of the ARP services, in November 1939 a simple lapel badge for wearing on civilian clothes (below right) was introduced for those who having volunteered for service had then undertaken a series of lectures "to prepare themselves to carry out their duties"
WVS greatcoat, felt hat, two-piece suit and maroon blouse
Within a few weeks of the Home Office’s June 1939 announcement that ARP volunteers were to be issued with uniforms, a standard greatcoat in the WVS colours of green and grey which was to be worn with a green felt hat, became available for purchase ‘by badge holders, at their own expense’. For indoor work members could also buy a simple green overall, the letters WVS embroidered on the breast pocket. By the outbreak of war a two-piece suit - designed by a leading fashion house - worn with a maroon blouse was available, Lady Reading encouraging members to wear it to raise the public profile of the WVS ‘if convenient and not distasteful to you’. On the right cuff of the suit jacket members wore an embroidered version of the WVS badge (below), a bar below indicating the county from which the member came.
WVS and evacuees
The WVS made their first impact on the nation with the evacuation of children from Britain’s cities in the summer of 1939. WVS ladies, many wearing their distinctive, newly-introduced uniforms were foremost in ensuring that the evacuation worked smoothly. At railway stations in the cities from which the evacuees left and in the country districts where they arrived, WVS volunteers laboured tirelessly to make this traumatic dispersal work as smoothly as possible. When the children arrived in the country WVS members not only used their local knowledge to arrange billets but helped both children and “foster parents” adjust to the new challenges caused by such an upheaval. That no children were lost or injured in the course of such a massive undertaking owed much to the work of the WVS.
WVS and welfare
As the war began to affect the whole country the variety of tasks the WVS was called on to perform multiplied. Having helped to evacuate children to the country they became involved in providing social clubs and nurseries there for mothers and babies. To provide for the welfare of the numerous service personnel moving about the country they opened canteens and refreshment stalls at the railway stations through which they travelled. At the beginning of 1940 as shortages of raw materials for industry began to be felt the WVS were asked to assist local councils with the running of their salvage campaigns and in many areas the campaigns were run successfully by the WVS for the entire war. When the autumn of 1940 brought air raids the WVS were to the fore in equipping and staffing the hastily-improvised Rest Centres established to help the bombed-out. With many losing the entire contents of their homes, the WVS provided advice at the centres on how to replace such essential wartime items as identity cards and ration books and how to go about obtaining compensation for air raid damage.
WVS assistance at air raids
As air raids struck Britain’s cities and the civil defenders worked all night to extinguish fires and rescue those trapped, mobile canteens, many bought with funds from overseas but staffed by the WVS, went to the site of air raid incidents where they served tea to cold, wet and tired firemen and rescue workers. In April 1941, when the Ministry of Food established the system of emergency feeding convoys known as Queen’s Messengers to be sent to badly bombed cities like Coventry, they were staffed almost entirely by WVS volunteers.
WVS bar brooches, berets and armbands
Although the WVS did not have a rank structure in April 1940 it introduced a series of bar brooches showing the posts held by members. Originally worn on the lapel of the uniform jacket they replaced the metal WVS badge which became the hat badge. With a green beret available as an alternative to the felt hat from February 1941, the metal badge was authorised for wear in this as well, the cloth badge worn on the arm suggested as a more suitable alternative. Members without uniform wore the brooch immediately below the WVS badge on the left lapel. By 1942 a need for economy in all materials saw WVS uniforms restricted to essential users who needed a permit to buy uniform items and much greater use was made of simple, locally-made armbands.
WVS Housewives' Service
The WVS quickly realised that many women willing to work as volunteers had domestic or family commitments preventing them from doing so full time. They could however help their local air raid wardens by having detailed knowledge of the residents in their streets and assisting with the care of casualties at an incident before the arrival of the first aid services. The title Housewives' Service for these on-call volunteers which originated in Barnes on the outskirts of London in early 1940, quickly spread throughout the London CD Region and later the country. By 1943 there were 265,000 members of the service nation-wide, their presence shown by a blue WVS card placed in a convenient window. On duty, especially in the flying bomb raids in the summer of 1944 Housewives Service members wore distinctive armbands.
WVS rationing, clothing exchanges and British Restaurants
Yet more jobs were undertaken by WVS volunteers as the war progressed, many connected with wartime rationing schemes. After the introduction of clothes rationing when new clothes could only be bought with a ration book, the WVS ran a network of Clothing Exchanges for children where mothers could hand in items their own youngsters had outgrown in return for larger items donated by other mothers. These exchanges also distributed gifts of clothing supplied by overseas well-wishers, most notably from America, where they had been donated or purchased by organisations such as the British War Relief Society. WVS members were at the forefront of the ‘Make Do and Mend’ drives which encouraged housewives to remake old garments into new ones. Food rationing, a feature of life from 1940, saw the growth of locally-run communal feeding establishments – which Churchill said should be renamed ‘British Restaurants’, which, almost entirely staffed by WVS members, offered busy war workers good, wholesome meals at low prices.
WVS Volunteer Car Pools
When petrol rationing removed private motorists from the roads the WVS helped organise and provide drivers for the Volunteer Car Pools (VCP) which permitted car owners a small petrol ration if their car was used as transport for essential war work. So varied was the work done by the VCPs that a VCP driver in Kent recorded that in one week she not only drove passengers on government business but also transported loads of salvage, clothing, rose hips and chestnuts as well as boxes of cod liver oil and orange juice for the children’s welfare food schemes. When the American forces arrived in Britain, the WVS helped out in many American Red Cross canteens, Aero Clubs and Donut Dugouts even though American legislation prevented them from wearing WVS uniform.
In September 1945 Lady Reading told members that with the war over, the government had agreed that it could continue in existence ‘for a further period, possibly two years’ to help with the problems likely to arise from post-war reconstruction in Britain. Over 80 years later what is now the Royal Voluntary Service continues doing invaluable work for the community.
Text courtesy of Jon Mills - for more information see his book the Women's Voluntary Services (WVS).
Joan Thomas (nee Baynham) was a Civil Defence ambulance driver. On the night of 29/30 April 1941, Cwmparc was bombed by the Luftwaffe and she ferried the dead and injured from Cwmparc to Pentwyn Hospital in Treorchy. There were many casualties with some 27 dead, three of whom were evacuees, all members of the same family. The evacuees were all buried in the same grave in Treorchy Cemetery. The event was the largest loss of life that the Rhondda suffered in a single night of wartime bombing.
Her portrait below shows her wearing the ARP Pattern 71 tunic with private purchase side cap (most likely with old gold yellow piping). The side cap appears to not have any insignia nor ARP buttons to the front. Above her breast badge is a DRIVER badge, quite a rare badge to see worn in this position.
Image courtesy of Robert Davies - see his crowd funding page for information about a memorial to the bombing of Cwmparc.
A stand down photo (going by the war service chevrons) with an interesting beret badge. The embroidered and printed versions of the beret badges usually had a yellow circle; these don't appear to have that. Perhaps a local manufacturing oddity.
UPDATE: it's not peculiar at all... it's the printed version that doesn't have the circle. I should actually read my own content in future.
Coming up for auction at the end of the month at C&T Auctions in Kent is this ARP Pattern 71 tunic. It has ARP buttons, Welwyn Garden City area title, four war service chevrons, senior warden rank chevrons and a St John Ambulance Association qualification badge. The shoulder titles are the printed type and there is a whistle lanyard but the sheen on this make me believe it may be a post-war addition.. 1941 dated and looks to be in fabulous condition.
UPDATE: a couple of replies indicate that this may be a British Rail collar insignia from the 1960s. Examples I have been able to find online don't have the circle but it could be a variation.
This badge is currently on eBay and marked as a home front badge. It may possible be a local variation of the bomb reconnaissance badge.
This "REPORT CONTROL" shoulder title (shared by Austin Ruddy) is believed to be an official 1941 issue, but either a rare variant or manufacturers' error (missing the 'AND'). A similar shoulder title was featured in Jon Mills' book "A People's Army - Civil Defence Insignia and Uniforms 1939-1945".
Wardens, who quickly became the CD ‘jacks of all trades’, found that one unexpected consequence of enemy bombing was the number of bombs which failed to explode – UXBs in the language of the time. As false reports of UXBs made the job of the newly-formed Royal Engineers (RE) Bomb Disposal Sections more difficult the Home Office suggested in late 1941 that selected police and wardens could be trained to investigate UXB reports as Bomb Reconnaissance Officers. The army’s Southern Command already trained wardens for this job and it was suggested that those who successfully completed a training course should be issued with a badge.
In March 1942 the Southern CD Region reported that Hampshire County had already approved unofficial badges ‘…for issue to Bomb Recognition and Recce volunteers who have qualified at Southern Command Bomb Recognition School or on County Instructional Courses’. Those qualified wore a badge on the left sleeve of their ARP uniform four inches above the cuff seam, oval if qualified on the Southern Command course, round – as here - if qualified at a recognised County Instructional Course.
Although the Home Office agreed that the Hampshire oval badge could serve as a model for a national scheme, progress was delayed by NFS objections to the use of qualification badges on uniform. The compromise solution was found in the form of the red and black armlet shown which was quickly altered to red on blue. As discussions continued on this the Home Office noted that ‘local authorities are designing their own BR badges’.
This design was not liked and, revised by using the army bomb disposal badge as its model, it was approved on 8 August, 1942. Shortly before production of this red and blue armlet began the Inspector of Bomb Disposal at GHQ Home Forces suggested that the armlet ‘ought to be on a light colour background to enable easier recognition by night. May I suggest a black bomb on a yellow band to avoid confusion with the Regular RE badge which is of the same design but yellow on red’. An order for 4,000 armlets was placed in September and they were announced to Civil Defenders in December 1942.
Just to make the modern collector’s mouth water they were originally four shillings (that’s 40 pence) per dozen! (Details from National Archives file HO186/2792 Bomb Reconnaissance Badges).
Article originally published in 2009 by the The Military Heraldry Society and copyright remains with this publication.
As researchers of ARP/CD, just like any other militaria collectors, we often seek surviving uniforms that are badged up as much as possible, providing a full example and display of the various types of insignia that were issued. This blog has shown some great examples in recent weeks.
However, for a variety of reasons, not all ARP and CD uniforms found today are badged up like the proverbial ‘Christmas tree’. Regional variations, badges never issued or since removed, even the limited knowledge of those wishing to reproduce or fake a uniform can explain the different variations encountered. Indeed, as contemporary photos show, many CD personnel were simply issued with a battledress tunic bearing only the CD chest patch, sometimes applied during the garment’s manufacture.
Very often, both ARP and CD uniforms carried a city, town or county area title, worn on the chest below the service insignia. These are now very collectable, even more so if the named area was heavily blitzed. Some years ago, I found a ‘LEICESTER’ yellow CD area title for my home town, but try as I may, I could not find any examples of the city’s preceding red ARP area title.
Scouring through contemporary photos of the city’s ARP personnel with a magnifying glass, I noticed that although they wore the standard red ‘ARP’ service chest insignia on their ARP 41 bluette overalls, no area title was present. ARP personnel of many, if not most, towns and cities wore an area title, not least for reasons of esprit de corps, so, why did Leicester, a city with a long and proud history, not have one, especially as an area title was worn on later CD uniforms?
I discovered the answer whilst researching my book, Tested By Bomb And Flame: Leicester Versus Luftwaffe Air Raids, 1939-1945. As is so often the case, archive records provided the explanation. Fortunately, the ARP Minutes of the City of Leicester Corporation survive at the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, at Wigston. These minutes reveal the thinking behind the decisions and expenditure made by the city’s ARP Committee.
Leicester’s ARP started receiving their uniforms from March 1940, with the receipt of ‘864 ARP 41 bluette combinations for male personnel’ at a cost of £453.12.0d (around £24,000 today or around £28 each – a bargain today!). However, when it came to purchasing an area title, it would appear the committee drew their purse strings tight and the spending ceased.
It was only two years later, with the official Ministry of Home Security instruction that the city’s ARP Committee minuted on 9th February 1942: ‘in accordance with the provisions of HSC 189/1941, a local marking (the name of the City) be provided for each new uniform issued to CD personnel, named ‘LEICESTER’.’ The county area would follow six months later, with the issue of a ‘LEICESTERSHIRE’ CD title.
This was not the only example of Leicester ARP Committee’s minimalist and thrifty-thinking. Unlike elsewhere in Britain, Leicester ARP Committee’s VE Day celebrations were muted, to say the least: ‘In view of the circumstances and subject to there being no further guidance from the Government on the matter, this Committee are of the opinion that no arrangements should be made for a final parade of CD Services.’ Likewise, on the question of a commemorative service certificate for CD personnel, as issued in neighbouring counties, official instruction said ‘that such a Certificate should be issued is left to the discretion of the local authority.’ On 16th July 1945, the ARP Committee resolved that ‘in view of the fact that typed letters of thanks have been sent to the personnel of the local authority Services, the suggestion that a further Certificate of Thanks be issued, be not entertained’ – hence why no official illuminated Leicester CD certificate of service will be found by collectors today or ever!
A footnote: Around 2010, whilst attending a 1940s reenactors event on the Great Central Railway, at Quorn station, Leicestershire, I did a double-take to see an ARP reenactor wearing a red ‘LEICESTER’ ARP area title, contrary to contemporary records and photos. A close gawp suggested that if this was a reproduction badge, it was very well made. To get to the bottom of the matter, I asked the reenactor how, if it was original, he had such a research-defying badge – his answer was that he used a red felt tip pen to colour in an original yellow ‘LEICESTER’ CD area title! Some years later, this amended badge appeared for sale on eBay. Occasionally, reality defies your eyes and logic…
Tested By Bomb And Flame: Leicester Versus Luftwaffe Air Raids, 1939-1945, by Austin J. Ruddy, Halsgrove Publishing (2014), £19.99.
I am once again indebted to Jon Mills for the following images of the insignia/badges issued to members of London's River Emergency Services (RES). For more information on the RES see this previous blog.
Marlow's Auctioneers have a selection of ARP- and CD-related items in their sale on 7 April, 2021. Amongst the items is this battledress with Wimbledon area marking and five war service chevrons. It features the wings of the Royal Flying Corps. There are a number of photos showing former airmen wearing wings on bluette and battledress. Accompanying the battledress is a photo of the alleged owner but alas he is wearing a bluette overall and not the battledress.
The battledress has an estimate of £260 to £360. It is Lot 441.
A splendid uniform grouping belonging to Albert Edward Smith (called Eddie), a Head Warden and Incident Officer in New Tupton, Derbyshire. Head Warden rank chevrons to arms of battledress and overcoat, war service chevrons, IO badge. LARP instructor badge and a rare survivor, a blue Incident Officer helmet cover.
Images courtesy of Rob Whyman.
I often get contacted to identify certain badges and insignia and quite often it relates to the post-war Civil Defence Corps 1949-1968 - yes the Act of Parliament was passed in December of 1948 but the CDC didn't really exist until 1949.
I've created a page all about Civil Defence Corps insignia including rank badges, first aid badges, area markings, shoulder titles, enamel and embroidered instructor badges and proficiency stars, etc.
Introduced in early 1944 (the sealed pattern tag has 9 March 1944 on it) wound stripes were thin 1.5 inch gold on dark blue and issued to Civil Defence personnel injured in the course of their duties. The designated position (as per ARP Memo 17) was midway between the sleeve seams with the bottom of stripe four inches from the end of the sleeve.
The gold was for injuries sustained during WW2 (multiple awards could be made) and a single red was for any injury suffered during WW1.
This interesting Despatch Rider badge with possible CD connection was recently shared on a Facebook group. I have previously published a blog about despatch riders with one of the few photos showing a DR badge being worn. The badge used on that blog was to exemplify the general shape of the badge. The badge below is more inline with the colour scheme worn on WW2 civil defence battledress, i.e. old gold yellow.
All DR badges were unofficial and individuals purchased what they liked. There exist a huge number of variations of the colour of the thread used and backing material. It is possible the variations were to enable the badge to be marketed to as many units as possible. To date no original period list of styles exists.
Quite a scarce photo showing the London area title on an ambulance driver/attendant's ARP 71 tunic. The London title was used by the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS) but it's not frequently seen. Also of note is the use of an Ambulance shoulder title on her side cap.
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.
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.
On 9 December, 2020 Bosleys Auctioneers are auctioning a large number of ARP and Civil Defence-related badges, armbands and insignia. Amongst the lots is a grouping of Civil Defence Instructors' badges including the very rarely seen CAGS and Rescue badges. The auctioneer's estimate of £40-£60 is low but the CAGS badge does appear to have some damage to the enamel which will lower the price. The Rescue badge has appeared on eBay a few times and was nearly the hundred pound mark alone.
The lot can be found here
It was once assumed that gas attacks would be the main threat to civilians during the second world war but it soon became apparent that fire would be the main enemy on the Home Front.
As a result, Fire Parties and Fire Watchers stood by in their millions, armed with just a helmet, a stirrup pump and a bucket of sand in most cases. Their role was to spot, report and, if they could, neutralise the threat. Helmets, either the Civilian Protective Helmet (“Zuckerman”) or one of the Mk. II types, were often marked ‘SFP’, ‘FW’ or just ‘FP’. These markings are therefore probably the most numerous of all applied during the war.
There were two groups which operated under the ‘SFP’ banner, although in reality both undertook the same tasks. The main difference was one of recruitment with Street Fire Parties being recruited and trained by the Wardens’ Service to cover their local area whilst Supplementary Fire Parties were organised by the Fire Service. Despite this they are often referred to in the same breath. In LRC No. 324 (6 March, 1941) the Chief Administrative Officer, states “Where supplementary (street) fire parties are given helmets, the letters “S.F.P.” should be painted in black at the front and rear of the helmet.”
Supplementary Fire Party members were issued with blue armbands with ‘SFP’ in red in 1940 and the use of red sometimes extended to the markings on helmets (see above) whilst they were still under the control of the Fire Service. The provision of helmets was another matter, with one part of the SFP having them provided as part of the ARP Storage and Loan of Equipment Regulations, whilst the other part had to provide their own.
The two sets of parties operated alongside one another for a while and it is probably fair to say they operated below par. Recruitment and leadership were less than satisfactory despite a rallying call by Herbert Morrison in late 1940. In addition, with the Wardens’ Service, the Local Authorities and the Fire Service, there were too many bosses. Changes came on 6 August, 1941 with the introduction of the Fire Guard. Those who joined the Local Authority Fire Guard were instructed to overpaint their ‘SFP’ helmet markings and replace them with ‘FG’ in white, whilst those who didn’t retained their old markings. This means that some helmets retained their original grey base colour with “FG” in white on the front whilst others, belonging to ex-SFP members, will have been less consistent.
In addition to the SFP, Fire Watchers were also looking out for fires although, at first, they lacked organisation and structure. It wasn’t long before simply looking out for fires wasn’t enough. The risk to commercial premises was too great and in September 1940, under the Fire Watchers Order, the role was formalised. Later, in 1941, the Government wanted to “knit together the Fire Watchers in the residential areas and thus to constitute them into a homogeneous and effective organisation” (HSC 174 / 1941, 6/8/41). It was deemed important that this new group should recognise that they were delivering an “important national duty” and as such they too received a new collective identity as the Fire Guard, operating as part of the Wardens’ Service.
Theoretically at least, helmet markings should have then undergone a large-scale refresh but whilst the aforementioned communication touched lightly on the replacement of armlets (‘FIRE GUARD’ replaced ‘SFP’) no mention was made of helmets or their markings. However, that same year, where people previously with a Fire Party became a member of the local authority Fire Guard, they were instructed to repaint their helmets and apply ‘FG’ in place of ‘SFP’. This became the first iteration of the Fire Guard.
The use of ‘W’ for the senior ranked Fire Guards was deemed inappropriate so a hybrid marking ‘W(F.G.)’ was agreed and this was communicated via HSC 139/1942 on 9 July, 1942. In London, seniority was represented by a white stripe (one inch and two inches wide) on grey helmets and these were marked ‘W/FG’ front and back (LRC No. 705 27/10/42 – consolidated). Unsurprisingly, variants exist as shown in this grouping.
It was standard practise to mark helmets of deputies with the same markings as their bosses as their role was to stand in for the senior rank as required. However, records show on more than one occasion seniors didn’t appreciate “their” markings being shared with subordinates. In the case of this collection, not only has a “D” (Deputy) been added for clarity but a new unofficial thinner stripe has been introduced. This resulted in two different stripe widths for the same role. The 1-inch stripe was worn by the Senior Fire Guard and the 2-inch stripe by the Head Fire Guard.
Other rank markings are perhaps more common, although the upper echelons are understandably harder to find nowadays.
The Fire Guard was to undergo a further change in 1943 when it was detached from the Wardens’ Service to stand alone (HSC No. 23/43). A totally new set of helmet marking was discussed early that year with the most senior staff having black helmets with white stripes running front to back but records show that these were “discussed in general terms….no action required at present”. An explicit instruction was contained within Circular HSC No. 63/1943, issued on 9 April, 1943 that read, “To facilitate recognition, the helmets of all members of the Fire Guard Organisation will be of the civilian type, as at present issued to rank and file Fire Guards. Service type helmets will be withdrawn by the scheme-making authority from persons transferred from the Wardens Service. The civilian helmets of Party Leaders and higher ranks will be painted white, with the appropriate rank markings. The letters F.G. may be painted on the helmets of rank and file Fire Guards if facilities are available; but this is not essential. No rank other than those specified in Appendix 1 are authorised and no other markings of any description may be painted on helmets.”
It would appear therefore, that it was to be Zuckermans for everyone! Whilst all the official changes and nationwide instructions were being issued, regional and local variations continued. Region 6, headquartered in Reading, adopted stripes over the top of their Fire Guard helmets and in HSC 63/43 it was felt necessary to stress that stripes should run “parallel with the rim of the helmet” and not front-to-back (as in Region 6) suggesting that misinterpretation had been a challenge.
The Fire Guard was eventually stood down in September 1944 having experienced tremendous growth, change, a confusing leadership structure and the introduction of several helmet marking schemes along the way.
Adrian Blake, author of the book Helmets of the Home Front.
Information is sought regarding the below badge. If you have any knowledge of where this badge was issued please let me know. The plume of feathers may be taken from the county's coat of arms / emblem. The three ostrich feather plumes emerging from a coronet is often seen associated with the Prince of Wales so possibly a Welsh connection.
All the way from Canada this badge. Sent in by Scott this badge was amongst his grandfather's personal items. I have seen similar badges with green and blue enamel but this is a first for the red. I am assuming that the colours were used by different CD services (first aid probably using the red).
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