An early war photograph showing wardens in bluette overalls and drivers' coats. As they all appear to have standard issue berets this may well be into 1941 but before the allocation of battledress. A messenger sits at the front and oddly what looks like a Catholic priest sits in the centre.
Photo from RAF Museum
Came across this photo recently of wardens on one of the Channel Islands. Thought to have taken in 1940 the photo shows a group of mainly white-helmeted ARP wardens with one gentlemen in the centre with a helmet bearing 'ARP'. It's quite rare to see ARP on a helmet (I have seen in appear more often for wardens in Canada and Australia).
An amazing photograph that captures the moment rescue services retrieve the victim of a V1 incident on 23 July 1944. A lot of white helmets and an ambulance (A) and light rescue (LR) member. It appears that some of the helmet insignia and area markings have been obscured by a censor to prevent knowing the location of the incident. There's a MO on the far left and the helmet at the left extreme appears to have two arrows on the side. In the centre is man wearing a beret with what looks like ARP on it (possibly a reused breast badge).
Incident Officers attended air raid incidents and managed the various services as they attended to the incident. They were the central point in ensuring that all the available resources were dealing with the situation at hand. If needed they could call up additional resources or redirect newly arrived teams back to base if he/she thought the incident was being dealt with sufficiently well. The sign on the photo below was erected at incidents so the IO could be easily found. The flag below the sign is usually blue in colour (and sometimes in blue and white checks) and the IO sometimes wore a plain blue helmet colour to stand out from other members of the CD services.
I'd like to thank a friend of mine, Chris, for sending me this photo. This is a photo of a V1 incident along Tottenham Court Road in London. If you look at the chap on the far left he appears to be in bluette overalls but has an American-shaped helmet on. I recall reading of a V1 incident in Aldwych in which passing American MPs were involved but they were in full American uniform. Would appear this fellow has 'acquired' a Yank helmet some how.
It's quite rare to see Fire Guard armbands being worn but this photo from Getty has a plethora of them. Not a great deal of information comes with the photo but it does show Zuckerman helmets and standard Mk. II helmets being worn,
A very nice portrait of ambulance drivers in March 1940 - sadly location unknown. The enormous letters behind them is rather amazing.
There's not a lot of information about this group portrait of wardens but I assume it's very early war (possibly pre-war) going by the lack of uniforms. They appear to have the basics issued to wardens of a tin helmet, gas mask carrier, armband and lapel badge, Location sadly unknown.
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.
The below picture shows London Auxiliary Ambulance Service members Mrs Armitage (left) and Miss Leverton at Buckingham Palace. after being awarded the British Empire Medal by the King, 7 October 1941.
A number of photos have cropped on eBay showing members of an ARP Wardens' Post larking about at their brick post. The lack of uniforms probably makes this an early or possibly pre-war photograph.
I believe this photo is prior to the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939. An interesting view of people habding out information about ARP and enrolment forms.
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.
Civil Defence and ARP services could spend a number of hours dealing with an air raid incident. There was the need to dig out trapped people in bombed buildings but also the need to fix broken utilities. To ensure these personnel were fed and watered every local authority had mobile canteens that could attend an incident and dole out copious amounts of tea to the civil defence services. This canteen is from Colne in Lancashire.
Possibly a very early war portrait going by the distinct lack of uniforms for the men. A few have the bluette overalls but most are in civvies. A couple of the ladies have the ambulance drivers' coat (which I believe was available before the bluette).
Volunteers on the WVS manned hundreds of mobile canteens during the war. This shot shows several WVS volunteers with their canteen.
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 a few different angles of this advertising billboard on Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. This is an interesting angle with one of the Landseer lions front and centre.
The Lord Mayor's National Air Raid Distress Fund provided for the relief of suffering and distress resulting from enemy air raids in the UK.
It assisted in setting up new homes when the loss of goods and possessions was not covered by Government compensation and where special distress was shown. It also helped small shopkeepers to reestablish their businesses. It made grants towards education, apprenticeships and the general welfare of children who had been deprived by raids of their normal opportunities through being orphaned, or through personal injury or loss sustained by their parents. It provided new clothing (in exchange for coupons). Those in need were requested to apply to their local town hall or council offices.
A nice study of three home front servicemen - ARP, AFS and Home Guard. The chap on the left wears the standard issue bluette overalls, with an unmarked helmet, red cross armband and what looks to be a first aid satchel of some description.
Very interesting pair of portraits of a member of the Westminister ARP Service. I thought initially she was wearing the bluette overalls but the position of the ARP buttons looks to be two double rows - so I'm thinking the driver's coat. The ARP badge, Westminster area marking and medal ribbon are not usually shown worn on the drivers' coat. I'm unsure of the medal ribbon - they look like the trio for WW1. If anyone can identify those I would be very grateful.
Of interest she seems to be wearing a very similar shirt to that worn by Barbara Nixon.
Two members of the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) carry a dog in an 'Animal Ambulance'. Photo said to be from 1940.
A rather peculiar propaganda photograph showing a warden wearing a home-made rabbit fur waistcoat. Not an item often seen on the re-enacting scene... Looks like the warden has a rare piped side cap with ARP badge on.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.