It's rare to come across a completely new Civil Defence badge such as the one below. There are always new industrial ARP badges appearing as so many companies had them produced but a CD badge for a specific region is very rare. This Civil Defence Midland Region badge with motto is currently on auction on eBay.
Although not especially rare, a couple of Bomb Reconnaissance Armbands have appeared on eBay this week.
There is one on its own. And also another armband plus a Warden shoulder title, Liverpool area marking and single officer rank badge.
A very rare cap/beret badge for "Liverpool Wardens Service".
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 wonderful photo from Getty Images showing the uniform of London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS) personnel.. The description is "18th October 1940, London, England, Queen Elizabeth chats to a woman Ambulance driver during her tour of inspection of Ambulance ARP depots in London".
Prior to be occupied by the Germans om 30 June 1940, the Channel Islands prepared for war like much of the rest of the UK. ARP wardens were trained and this badge was available to be worn on civilian clothing. The badge features the coat of arms of Jersey - a red shield with three gold leopards (lions passant guardant). It derives from the seal granted to the island’s bailiff by Edward I in 1279. Quite a rear badge these days but they crop up from time to time. Photo from warrelics.eu
A huge variety of lapel badges were manufactured during the war to show a person was 'doing their bit' towards the war effort. For those ARP warden not in uniform a whole myriad of lapel badges were available. The one below combines a commonly seen ARP badge with a good luck charm of the horseshoe..
During the second world war a number of vehicles were requisitioned for use as ARP transport. To communicate that the car was on ARP duty a mascot was often attached to the front bumper. The below example appears to have had black added at some time - the original was probably just plain chrome. This item was made by the Medal Co. of Birmingham.
This photo was taken at Christmas in 1944 and shows the owner of a toy shop who would donate gifts to children in the Paddington area of London. The post warden (going by the star above chevrons) has five war service chevrons on his sleeve so was in the service very early on. He also has a badge on his right breast pocket that was new to me. It appears to be a FIRST AID badge for the LCC (London County Council). I have tried searching for this online but as yet have no come across this variety. Would be interesting to know the colours of the badge.
Photo was kindly sent to me by Chris Ransted.
I visited Abergavenny flea market today and found a number of home front badges which were all at remarkably low prices. It's rare these days to come across a badge I have never seen before but this small blue and red enamel lapel badge also had a white cross attached to the bottom. It has a pin brooch back. At this time I have no idea what this represents.
UPDATE: members from a badge forum thought the cross - a saltire - could be a good luck symbol or possibly related to the badge coming from Scotland.
A couple of nice items from Beckenham in south east London. An enamel wardens' post sign and an original local area marking for the bluette overalls.
An interesting small badge for the Birmingham Socialist ARP Canteen Fund. Alas, it's proved extremely difficult to find more information about this group.
This photo shows a member of the Civil Defence Service taking a call at an underground facility somewhere in London. The most curious aspect of the photo is the special breast badge that has the CD emblem combined with "NEW TUBE SHELTERS". This is something I have not come across before, If you have any further information please leave a reply.
One of the rarer ARP badges was that issued in the Straits Settlements (which was the four areas of Malacca, Dinding, Penang and Singapore. Read a history of the ARP badge.
A nice selection of original Fire Guard insignia has appeared on eBay. Some nice examples of shoulder titles that are getting quite scare now.
As part of the uniform issued to wardens the greatcoat was of great use during the nights when on duty. This early issue greatcoat (labelled as Overcoat) has the double yellow rank chevrons of a senior warden.
During the second war war literally thousands of different industrial ARP badges were manufactured. Businesses usually had their own company name emblazoned on the badges. As a cheaper option, generic badges were available. This ARP factory service badge is quite common but remains one of my favourite designs.
An interesting page from the files at the National Archives shows that when the new serge uniforms (battledress) was introduced in 1941 it was issued to orderlies on Casualty Evacuation Trains. They previously had insignia with 'HT' for Hospital Train but this was changed to the 'CET' badge shown in the group of badges that sold at auction. Must be a very scarce badge.
An interesting photo of a Civil Defence reserve member. The insignia on his right pocket appears to be the badge often seen placed on the upper sleeve of most mobile reserve columns.
These "Communications" shoulder titles were picked up by a friend at War & Peace Show. The printed manufacture is identical to those made during the war. However, there is no mention of this shoulder title in any of the files, bulletins or booklets I have seen. It could be a very late war edition and if you have any further information please do contact me.
An interesting parade photograph of Civil Defence members in Lenton, Nottinghamshire. Interesting to see that only a few have the area marking of 'NOTTINGHAM' under the CD breast badge - and it is unbordered. The officer has a yellow-piped side cap.
Images courtesy of Lenton Times.
A lot of thought and effort went into creating the badges worn by Civil Defence Services in WW2. The initial colour of red badges was thought to be too closely aligned with the fire services and so the gold and blue badges were created when the new serge uniforms were issued in the autumn of 1941.
There were many discussions about prospective badges and the design below was for a metal ARP cal badge. Similar in many ways to the RAF badge this would have been affixed with two lugs and a split pin. However, due to reasons of economy and the fact that the new service was to be known as the Civil Defence Services this particular badge was created.
With the introduction of the serge battledress blouse and the women's tunic, the new CD breast badge was sewn onto the uniform before being issued. The badge was the 'old gold embroidered variety. As can be seen from the photo below, taken from a National Archives file, there were differences in how contractors manufactured the badge. To ensure the crown did look insipid, manufacturers were instructed to use black thread to pick out detail. These two examples show the differences in process.
An interesting piece of info in the Badges of Rank files at the National Archives is that there were four different manufacturing options considered for badges in October 1941: Embroidered, Calico Printed, Woven & Screen Printed.
All types were available at the same time. It was a decision to go with embroidered for the first batch but as more and more badges were needed the printed variety was ordered.
Each had merits and demerits - Embroidered looked better and could put up with wear and tear better; CPA (Calico Printers Association) was cheap but frayed. Woven was quick to produce. Screen Printed very fast production but faded.
Across Civil Defence Region 5 - which was the 28 metropolitan boroughs of London, most local authorities had area markings with their own name (e.g. Lewisham, Kingston, West Ham). The below photo shows the rarer "London" area marking. I'm unsure where this badge was issued, but possibly the outer boroughs may have issued the badge.
UPDATE: I have been informed that "LONDON" was an area marking used by the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS).
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.