This sign measuring approx 33cm by 43cm recently cropped up on an auction site. With so many reproductions and out right forgeries on the market it's often difficult to determine the originality of items such as this. The maker "Franco Signs" is a well known manufacturer that was based on Oxford Street, W1 in London from the mid-1930s.
Below are two fake Air Raid Shelter signs currently up on eBay. The seller has dozens of shedmade wooden signs from all sorts of areas across Europe (British and German). He adds spurious details on provenance - usually about salvaging or rescuing the signage from a factory in such-and-such a year - all utter bollocks. I'm amazed anyone would fall for such blatant fakes but it appears he's regularly selling this garbage.
Here are the four common ARP plaques or wall signs that are regularly sold as originals. These light weight cast aluminium signs have been doing the rounds for many years now. One is particularly egregious having two crowns on it and another replicates the use of "ARP" twice. Some have been painted, some sanded and shined. A few even have spurious marks on the back in an attempt to prove originality. There are even a few examples in brass rather than aluminium. As far as I can tell there are no original photos showing any of these designs being used during the war. They often appear on eBay (from the same sellers...there's a clue to authenticity...) and have filtered through to auction houses and regularly crop up on militaria websites. Prices vary but usually they sell in mid twenties but have been known to go for a lot more.
This lovely sign recently cropped up on an auction site, It's a dark green enamel.
I initially had some doubts about this ARP Warden sign but I have been told it is a known design from the war.
A somewhat rare sign for a Wardens' Post. Not very many have the Civil Defence added. I believe this to be a wartime dated sign but cannot 100% be certain.
During the war thousands of different signs were manufactured for the various ATP and Civil Defence Services. Most have survived due to being well made from enamel. This Head Warden sign is one of the rarer ones.
There's been a number of fake (claimed to be original) ARP plaques and door signs on the market for a number of years. The more common ones are the circular and rectangular ARP Warden plaques surmounted by a crown. They are very light compared to the originals. The below fake has been posted on eBay several times. The giveaway here is that someone didn't do their research. There is no such thing as an "Air Raid Warden Post"... there's an "Air Raid Wardens' Post". There was always more than one person at a post. Also, back in the day, grammar and punctuation was much more stringently followed. If you find a sign with the missing apostrophe chances are it's a fake/reproduction. Stating something is a repro is fine, but calling the below 'original' is simply lying.
A very scarce enamel sign is currently up on eBay. I've not seen this wording on a sign before and I imagine that it'll go for a packet.
A nice piece of memorabilia from WW2. An 'Air Raid Warden' sign used outside the home of a warden in St Mary Cray, south east London.
This ARP Air Raid Warden enamel door plaque (currently on auction on eBay) is in fantastic condition. Many thousands of similar door plaques, in various designs, were manufactured both before and during the war.
Clearly understanding the and reacting to the siren could save your life. Many businesses put up signs - such as the one below - to educate their workers about the new air raid sirens.
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.
Another sign cropped up on eBay in October 2019.
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.
The German SD2 (Sprengbombe Dickwandig 2Kg) butterfly bomb was a small 2 kg anti-personnel device capable of killing or causing serious injury. The early cluster bomb was used extensively on the Eastern Front but only a relatively small number were dropped on British towns and cities in East Anglia and the North East. They were first dropped on Ipswich in 1940, and later dropped on Kingston upon Hull, Grimsby and Cleethorpes in June 1943, amongst various other targets in the United Kingdom. One of the hardest hit towns was Grimsby and the local area where approximately 3,000 were dropped and about 100 people were killed.
More information about butterfly bombs
Preparations for the likely bombing of military installations, industrial facilities and civilian populations led to the creation of many thousands of temporary and permanent air raid shelters. For people caught outside when the siren sounded they were guided to the nearest shelter by the ubiquitous 'Shelter' signs. These would often convey the distance to the shelter in yards and also sometimes the number of people the shelter could accommodate. There were obviously many hundreds of thousands of these enamel signs manufactured. Some are double sided so they could be used from any direction. Following the war many would stay in situ for many years and others were removed and thrown away. Those that remain are highly collectable and can reach many hundreds of pounds at auction.
During the second world war dozens of different designs for ARP signs were created. This is a high quality chromium plated version. Most were for positioning on doors and some for ARP posts. They are highly sought after collectables and often faked these days.
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