I had a spare hour over the weekend and I finally made up a chart for the position of the main insignia found on CD battledress after its introduction. The prescribed locations were detailed in ARP Memo 17. I'll look into doing the ladies ARP Pattern 71 tunic in the future.
Just cropped up on eBay is this Warden's BD blouse with a 1942 (letter O) date stamp made by Montague Burton. Has a Leicestershire area marking and war service chevrons and the CD breast badge looks to be the type that were sewn to the jacket before issue. The rarest item is a red wound stripe - for someone wounded in the First World War and goes with the medal ribbon bar. A nice jacket with minor mothing.
A very nice portrait of ambulance drivers in March 1940 - sadly location unknown. The enormous letters behind them is rather amazing.
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.
Currently up for auction on eBay is this 1943-dated battledress blouse. This austerity pattern with the exposed buttons isn't as rare as the seller believes but it appears to be in mint condition and to be in a reasonable size. My experience with the labels on most battledress is that they often different to the figures stated. I've got two with vastly different size labels that fir me perfectly...
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.
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).
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 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.
A large majority of the ARP Pattern 57 & 59 serge battledress jackets came with the CD breast badge sewn to the left breast pocket. The below image shows an original jacket with the method most commonly used to attach the badge. Individuals in areas that provided area markings could sewn them beneath this badge.
Barbara Nixon in 1943. She was one of the first women to be employed as a full-time Air Raid Warden in London. She was also an Instructor (badge on her collar) and Incident Officer (I.O. badge seen on her right sleeve). She was the author of "Raiders Overhead", an invaluable account of the Blitz in London. She is wearing the standard ARP Pattern 71 serge jacket/tunic and a rather snazzy (and unofficial) check shirt.
An interesting photo showing the rescue of a dog. The white helmet on the right is most interesting as he has both the ARP breast badge as well as the 'R London' badge on the pocket of his bluette overalls. The photo is said to be from 1940 which tallies with the overalls and lack of the serge battledress. I currently don't know the exact date that the 'R London' badge was introduced but going by this photo is was quite early in the war.
A very good quality portrait of an air raid warden in the early bluette overalls. The area marking title is for Walthamstow.
I'd like to thank Stevan Chambers for contacting me and allowing me to share this photo of an original WW2 St John Ambulance Brigade uniform. The yellow ARP sleeve patch turns up from time to time but it is excellent to see this on an actual uniform. Next challenge is to find a WW2 photo of it being worn. Visit original Instagram post
A somewhat peculiar serge jacket has appeared on eBay. I initially thought it was an example of the austerity pattern serge jacket with the exposed buttons but the breasts pockets are not correct. ARP jackets do not have pleats on the pockets (no breast badge could be affixed to jackets with pocket pleats like this). The jacket has a CC41 label and a part manufacturer label with possibly 'Newfoundland' written on it. I'm assuming this is a work jacket similar to the civilian work jacket that can be seen on the IWM site. If you know more, please let me know.
A nice studio portrait of an ARP Senior Warden (two yellow chevrons to sleeve) possibly from the Birmingham area. She is wearing the standard issue ARP Pattern 71 serge jacket but has a private purchase side cap with two ARP chrome buttons to front closure.
This image is captioned as Mrs Iris Cynthia (no surname) of Kennington in the Lambeth borough of London but I cannot find any further information at this time.. It's very interesting as it is shows for the first time the use of District Wardens rank insignia (two red bars and diamond) on what initially looks like an ambulance drivers' coat. However, the buckle is not correct for that coat. It could be a private purchase wrap-over style item to which she has added insignia to. She has a 'DW' - District Warden - helmet.
A group of four ARP ambulance drivers wearing the standard issue drivers' coat and peaked cap. One is most certainly wearing the standard ATP silver badge but the others appear to have smaller cap badges, possibly smaller versions of the ARP badge.
A most peculiar set of overalls that belonged to a volunteer with the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS). I've not seen overalls in this design before and the bespoke badge is most interesting in the way that it can be removed fro the overalls.
UPDATE: It would appear that the original seller of this item has a somewhat notorious record of producing fake items. Thought the original boiler suit is vintage the badge and name (seems that have a proclivity for stamping white lettering on post-war boiler suits) have to be taken with a pinch of salt...
Members of Lambeth's ARP Civil Defence stand in front of a car that's collecting for the war effort. The chap and young fellow on the left are in the bluette overalls and the chap on the right has the overcoat and beret.
A nice group portrait of ARP wardens taken before the issue of battledress in the autumn of 1941. Standard bluette overalls and helmets with slung gas masks. Alas it is not possible to discern the area marking on their uniforms.
A late war group portrait of civil defence personnel from the Wolverhampton area. Looks like one chap at the front has at least four war service chevrons. Most have berets but one gentleman is wearing a private purchase side cap. There is a mix of badges on the headgear - most have the silver ARP badge but a few have the later embroidered badge. The highest rank is three chevrons with a star, probably a post warden. The chap top right looks to have an Incident Officer (I.O.) badge on his lower right sleeve.
The very interesting group portrait shows a group of London Auxiliary Ambulance Service personnel. The ladies are wearing the Pattern 71 serge jacket with Pattern 73 slacks. They all wear the peaked cap with LAAS badge. The men are in battledress (Pattern 59 and the austerity version with exposed buttons) and their berets also have the LAAS badge. Beneath the CD breast badge they are wearing the LONDON area marking (worn only by members of the LAAS).
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.