This portrait shows the essential clothing required by members of the decontamination squads. With special gas-proof clothing and special gas cape to the helmet, these civil defence personnel were trained to deal with the hazardous chemicals that German bombs might contain. A great deal of training was undertaken to deal with the various types of chemical. Thankfully, no-one was ever called upon to deal with an chemical weapons. The hand bell was to be sounded when any chemical weapons had been safely dealt with (the opposite of this was the gas rattle used to warn of the use of chemical bombs.) The chap is wearing the standard Mk. II helmet with 'W' for Warden; later on these squads had DC ( for Decontamination) on their helmets.
An interesting photograph of two members of a London County Council LAAS ambulance. The lady (probably the driver) is wearing the standard issue drivers' coat with peaked cap (and a rather fetching dark shirt and light tie). The gentleman is wearing bluette overalls with a LAAS badge above the right pocket and standard black Mk. II helmet with white, two-inch high, letter 'A'. The ambulance is a Bedford.
For all the hundreds of thousands of ARP lapel badges issued they appear infrequently on portraits. This photo of a GPO post man (or postal worker) and first world war veteran shows him in his GPO uniform with a silver ARP badge on his lapel. Interesting to see a toothbrush moustache worn - this particular style seems to have disappeared post war for some reason...
A collection of gas masks in cardboard boxes and leatherette carriers hanging from hooks at a nursery school for displaced children in London.
This photo shows a line up of the new uniforms being issued to the civil defence services (from left):
Ambulance driver - ARP Pattern 43 drivers' coat and ARP Pattern 45 drivers' ski cap
First aid reporter - ARP Pattern 47 bluette wrapover
Female raid warden - ARP Pattern 42 women's warden's coat and ARP Pattern 44 felt hat
First aid nurse - ARP Pattern 46 nursing overall
Male raid warden - ARP Pattern 41 bluette overalls and helmet
I have seen this advertising boarding from another angle but came across this shot on Getty.
ARP Post F at Ilfracombe Hospital. The gentleman centre has his silver ARP badge whilst the chap at the back has a most unusual helmet marking.
Another rarely seen but fantastic photo from the Getty archives. The well sand-bagged ARP Post in Holborn, central London with a warden outside. The photo is dated 14 September 1939 so no official uniform was available at this time.
A most interesting group portrait from the IWM archives. Listed as "Group portrait of the ARP Rescue and Demolition Teams from Brigham, Middlesbrough and Bridlington. Tom Alderson GC is in civilian clothes sitting on the Mayor's right."
Rare to see the Repair Party/Road helmets (marked RP/R). A few appear to have specific armbands and the standard Civil Defence blue with gold lettering is being worn. There is a chap with a white helmet and three diamonds with a specific role I cannot quite make out. Given that everyone is in bluette overalls I would safely say the photo in pre-Summer 1941.
Six ambulance drivers from Sheffield in front of their vehicles. They all wear the ARP Pattern 71 serge jacket with ARP Pattern 73 slacks.
I picked this rather interesting post card up on eBay for a few quid. It features a large group consisting of:
1) At the back (probably) members of an ARP First Aid Post or First Aid Party. Most have been trained by the St. John Ambulance Association going by the badge on the right breast pocket. All are wearing the serge battledress apart from a couple of chaps top row who are wearing bluette overalls.
2) A line of nurses, some wearing the distinct St. John emblem on their uniform front and one NA.
3) Ahead of these nurses are five ambulance drivers in their distinct drivers' coats.
4) At the bottom are a row of ARP Nursing Auxiliaries (ARP NA) They have the blue uniform with the red embroidered ARP on the front.
Overall, a very nice mix of personnel detailing core first aid and hospital members.
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".
An interesting early war photograph of a warden at home with his family. He has his silver ARP badge on his lapel and on his table is his gas mask. On the rear wall hangs his helmet and off the curtain rail above the door hang his Pattern 41 bluette combination suit overalls.
At Chatham Dockyard's Salute to the '40s they have a blitzed house on show. It's the perfect place for ARP and Civil Defence re-enactors to get a great period looking photo. The re-enactor here is Chris; he has aided me immensely this year with information about ARP and Civil Defence Services during WW2.
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.
A nice portrait of a member of the Civil Defence in her standard issue uniform of felt hat worn with ARP Pattern 71 Jacket and ARP Patter 72 Skirt.
A fabulous photo of an ARP mobile canteen belonging to E District in Northern Ireland.
Photograph © PRONI Reference: CAB/3/G/15/14
An exceedingly well sandbagged WW2 Air Raid Precautions (ARP) office on Yarmouth Road in North Walsham, Norfolk.
Photograph from North Walsham & District Community Archive.
This photo clearly shows the awful reality of the impact of a bombing incident. Survivors make their way through the rubble of their homes as an ARP warden guides them.
Alas, there was little information about this actual incident. Given the day time setting I would imagine it is either from a V1 or V2 incident later in the war.
A nice photograph of a member of the Home Guard with a local Air Raid Warden. Probably early in the war given the unofficial overalls on the warden.
An erly war photograph showing Doris Waddington wearing a warden's helmet outside a wardens' post. The interesting aspect is the large "ARP WARDEN" sign affixed to the wall.
One of the duties of an air raid warden was to ensure everyone in his area od responsibility both had and knew how to use their gas mask.
An interesting photograph showing a large number of despatch riders. Their helmets feature the "DR" for their role within the CD services.
This wonderful photograph of nurses also shows a scarce ARP chaplain's helmet. A similar armband was also issued.
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.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.