The gas mask made especially for babies and infants up to the age of two was developed in 1938. It covered the majority of the child and required someone to use the manual pump on the side to activate the filter. Sometimes called a 'baby helmet', the lower canvas section that tied around the child was rubberised to prevent poison gas seeping into the interior. Various bodies demonstrated the use of this gas mask to ensure parents knew exactly how to use the gas mask in an emergency. Also manufactured was a gas-proof pram.
British Pathé also made a short film about the gas masks.
A fantastic shot of Traflagar Square with a sign pointing to the air raid shelter on the north side of the square - this could hold 800 people. The boarded up building contains the equestrian statue of Charles I.
Probably early in the war, this photo shows dignitaries being shown around the Marconi Wireless New Street factory in Chelmsford, Essex (possibly this factory). The helmet and armband markings are specific to this factory's ARP team. The gentleman on the far right has an armband that features MW and TC (combined) - Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company - and CONTROL added to it. A previous MW armband appeared at auction and can be seen on this blog post.
Additional research provided by members of the WW2 Civil Defence Re-enactors FB page.
A wonderful photo of a large group of CD personnel raising their helmets at a parade. Towards the right are members of London's Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS).
A rescue squad gather around a rescued dog they have pulled from the rubble of a blitzed house. Of interest in the party leader in the white helmet to the right. He is wearing the standard bluette overalls and has both the ARP breast badge and the 'R London' badge on his pocket. Not many photos show both these badges being worn.
Probably taken earlier in the war by the use of W on their helmets rather than DC, this photo is from the Worcester area. Alas there's little more information about what is happening but it it a good reference photo of the gas clothing issued to those who were to deal with chemical weapons.
Source: Changing Faces of Worcester
Whilst most Anderson shelters were dug into a spot in the garden this particular shelter appears to have received a tad more attention than usually seen...
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.
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.
Here's a montage of a Cardiff Corporation ambulance and interior probably made for a magazine editorial. If you know more about the vehicle shown please let me know.
A nice group study of the ARP County Control staff for the Holland area in southeast Lincolnshire. Probably taken towards the end of the war (or shortly thereafter) going by the five war service chevrons on display. Odd to see all but one in the Pattern 58A austerity battledress. Perhaps they managed to get hold of battledress from stock for the photo opportunity. One chap sat in the front (the only man not in Pattern 58A) has the late war CD beret badge. There does appear to be some sort of insignia on the base of the epaulettes of a few members - I am uncertain what that might be at this time.
Photo courtesy of Phil Marris whose great uncle, Harold Colquhoun Marris OBE, is sat in the centre and was County Controller.
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 group portrait, probably taken when the Civil Defence Service was disbanded in May 1945, of Wardens in the Framlingham area of Suffolk. Third from left on the middle row is Thomas Britton who was a Section Controller, Head Warden and Local Anti-Gas Instructor (he appears to have his instructor's badge on the flap of his right breast pocket).
Photo courtesy of Jon Bailey.
The Girl Guides (and also the Brownies) were heavily involved in assisting with the war effort. From 1938 the group planned how it could assist in the event of war breaking out. During the war Girl Guides assisted at First Aid Posts and Rest Centres. helping evacuees and also as messengers at ARP posts. From December 1940 Girl Guides were able to wear the Civil Defence armband when engaged on voluntary support of the service or WVS.
I am indebted to Karen Wiles for the following images - learn more at Doing Their Bit.
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.
One of the lesser seen helmet markings is that related to decontamination of food stores following a chemical attack. An immense amount of preparation went into dealing with expected chemical/poison weapon attacks. Decontamination Squads were to deal directly with the chemical weapons but aside from them specialists were trained to provide direct support in managing food stocks that may have been affected. Another part of the system was the Food Analyst who had the rather unfortunate helmet marking of "FOOD ANAL". I don't have much information about the photo and cannot ascertain for sure it is an original wartime photograph.
It's always interesting to see the uniform regulations being bent. This pretty standard group portrait of (probably) wardens features a lady on the bottom left wearing a male battledress. It's rare but not unheard of to see period photos of females having managed to get hold of a battledress. Apart from that it's a pretty standard photo of uniforms and insignia. Appears that the majority of berets have the printed CD in a yellow circle. That's a bit unusual as those with ARP badges usually fixed them to their berets. There's a member of the Home Guard lurking in the photo as well...
A group photograph of civil defence personnel wearing both types of ARP Pattern battledress - the first issue and the the later austerity (with exposed buttons). Oddly, this photo shows some men only displaying an area marking in the place where the CD breast badge would normally be. Alas I cannot make out the area name though the photo appears to come from Cumbria. Probably a case of the local authority have some difficulty in sourcing the badges.
A fantastic group shot of a number of Rescue squads from the Camberwell area of south London. All appear to be in bluette overalls and the distinct lack of battledress dates this before the autumn of 1941.
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
A late war (going by the number of war chevrons) group portrait of a group of wardens. Alas the quality of the image isn't great and it is difficult to pick out the insignia, especially the odd looking badge on the right lower sleeve of a number of the gents in the front row. Possibly IOs and a smaller badge.
A group of wardens pose for a group shot. All in bluette overalls so probably in the few couple of years of the war. At the centre looks to be a Head Warden with a white helmet and single black diamond above the 'W'.
A very smart group of wardens from the Leyton area pose for a group photo. I believe the two men sat in the middle have Incident Officer badges on their left sleeve and I think the right sleeve may have 'Instructor' on them. One has three bars for a District Warden and the other two bars for an officer. Looks like a number have the printed beret badge.
© Vestry House Museum
A very interesting photo of a wardens' post right at the start of the war. This Post 22 was located in Brighton going by the information on the reverse.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.