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).
Going by the lack of bluette overalls this photo is probably a pre-war shot of a warden with the basic equipment they were issued with at that time - an unmarked black helmet, whistle, armband and respirator (with the basic respirator sack worn on his left hip). It appears he may have added his own binoculars to the kit (the case seen on his right hip).
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.
With the end of hostilities in Europe in Mat 1945 the Civil Defence Services were stood down. A large number of stand down photos were taken as mementos for those that served. This photo shows a large group belonging to a Rescue Squad from Essex.
A group of wardens photographed relaxing off duty. Given that the wardens are all wearing bluette overalls and none are wearing battledress the photo is probably pre-summer 1941.
Photo from Harringay Online Community.
George Rodger (19 March 1908 – 24 July 1995) was a British photojournalist noted for his work wartime photos of the blizes on Coventry and London as well as other home front studies. He later entered Bergen-Belsen concentration camp with the British Army and documented what he found there. A selection of his home front photos can be found on a site dedicated to his photos.
Photo copyright George Rodger
An ambulance party leader (white helmet) stands to attention before the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace. I doubt the Rolls Royce behind him is his...
An interesting photo showing members of a food decontamination squad 'cleaning' a large joint of meat of the residue from a gas attack. The photo details say the centre, located on the outskirts of Hornsey, was Britain's first dedicated decontamination centre. Not sure I'd be too happy tucking into that...
A small group of wardens pose in anti-gas jackets and trousers.
A group of civil defence personnel and civilians that may be from the Norfolk area. A nice portrait but I wonder what the gentleman on the far left is keeping on the chain in the bandage pocket of his battledress trousers...
A group of junior rank Civil Defence personnel pose for a group photo. Alas, I cannot make out the area marking.
Thought to be in Warwick, these photos show the local ARP/Civil Defence personnel on parade. Going by the uniforms one appears to be a summer shot and the other in the winter.
I've previously blogged about a badge for the St. Paul's Watch but came across this excellent post all about the fire-watchers that volunteered at the cathedral during the war. It gives a very detailed account of the duties involved and is well worth reading.
The St. Paul’s Watch at A London Inheritance
Image © The Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral
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.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.