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 This red on black variety was superseded by the old gold yellow from the end of 1941.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.
I had a spare hour over the weekend and I finally made up a chart for the position of the main insignia found on CD battledress after its introduction. The prescribed locations were detailed in ARP Memo 17. I'll look into doing the ladies ARP Pattern 71 tunic in the future.
It is sometimes curious that an item you've never seen before appears on eBay and then another crops up shortly after. The token on the left appeared first (and sold for £27). I'm not sure what the token was used for to be honest. The one on the right was recently listed but appears to be somewhat less well made. It's almost like a reproduction - the quality is poorer and the numbers look more like those from a modern stamping set.
Just cropped up on eBay is this Warden's BD blouse with a 1942 (letter O) date stamp made by Montague Burton. Has a Leicestershire area marking and war service chevrons and the CD breast badge looks to be the type that were sewn to the jacket before issue. The rarest item is a red wound stripe - for someone wounded in the First World War and goes with the medal ribbon bar. A nice jacket with minor mothing.
The very rare badge cropped up on eBay. I've never seen this badge before and it's an odd mix of ARP and Housewives Service. It's sure to get the collectors salivating and it'll go for a bomb I imagine.
This area marking for Coventry is currently on eBay. The type of manufacture, without a border in this case, makes this a second world war and not post war type.
This interesting photograph appears to show a District Warden from Holborn in central London assisting a child with her 'Mickey Mouse' style gas mask. The most peculiar part of his uniform is the placement of the three bars of rank on the lower sleeve. I am assuming these are the yellow bars to denote a district (sometimes called divisional warden). They usually appear at the top of the sleeve. The warden's jacket is somewhat peculiar as well. I thought it was a standard issue battledress but this jacket has chrome buttons to cuff and epaulette - standard issue had revolving shank to epaulettes and a black plastic button to the cuff closure. The area title for Holborn is above the pocket (even above his first world war medal ribbon trio). I think the main badge is the ARP red on black breast badge but I cannot make it out for certain. He also does not have any shoulder titles. The helmet is a standard issue one for a district warden - a single black stripe. He is also wearing a Civil Defence armband which is against the usually prescribed use(they were to be worn over civilian clothes). All-in-all a most peculiar uniform.
This portrait of civil defence personnel from Ipswich is probably one of the smartest groups i Iave come across. Everyone appears have to have their badges, lanyards and qualifications in the textbook locations. Nearly everyone is wearing their beret in the correct fashion (apart from Stanley three in from the top left...). A number are wearing war service chevrons, St John circular qualification badges on right breast pocket and there is a bomb reconnaissance badge right in the middle front. There appears a smattering of Home Guard that may have been attached to ARP duties in the area.
This staged photo used for propaganda purposes shows an ambulance driver about to set off to an incident. It's a well known photo but of interest is the extra insignia flash below the Ambulance shoulder title. I believe this to be the red cross on a white field symbol for the City of London (symbol has a sword in the upper left quadrant but this image doesn't show this).
An interesting group portrait from Dartford. All the battledress jackets have the ARP breast badge which is somewhat unusual (local authorities were ti use any stock up before releasing the CD breast badge). The standard location for their yellow lanyards in on the right shoulder (though one has on the left!). Two gentlemen at the front appear to have their St John Ambulance badges on the lower right forearm (the usual place in the right breast pocket). Nice to see two ambulance drivers in their standard uniform. There is a smattering of double yellow chevron ranks badges. The last oddity is the gentleman in the front, second right. He has a side cap on (looks to have two small ARP chrome buttons to front but no other insignia and appears to have no piping) but also appears to have some form of shoulder board - most unusual indeed.
Photo courtesy of Steven Lewis (Fickr)
A Post Warden checks on the inhabitants of a London air raid shelter. He has applied his rank insignia onto his greatcoat.
I've seen some blue ARP cufflinks previously but this is the first time I have seen them in red. They are chrome and enamel and not silver as there are no hallmarks.
A nabbed this silver ARP badge on eBay for a fiver recently. Though quite unofficial a number of silver makers manufactured these smaller versions of the lapel badge. This example is by Bl,Bs, (Bendall Brothers) and has the Birmingham anchor and silver lion marks. The date letter is an O which corresponds for Birmingham to 1938 and goes to show they were being made very early on.
Read a history of the ARP badge
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.