It's rare to see Civil Defence officers wearing peaked caps. This photo showing a CD group from Nuneaton has two officers wearing them. What service they originally came from is hard to determine. The man to the left has affixed his ARP badge to the cap. No piping can be seen so possibly the caps were police issue.
A couple of staged photos showing the new ARP Pattern 71 serge jacket that was being issued in the Summer/Autumn of 1941. One photo shows the slacks (ARP Pattern 73) and the other the skirt (ARP Pattern 72)
First Aid Post personnel from Preston pose for a group portrait. It would appear that the man in the middle (sat down) has two area markings below his CD breast badge. The bottom one is Preston but I cannot determine what the other one is.
Group portraits of Civil Defence volunteers are always interesting for throwing up details. This one has a Fire Watcher - FW - helmet tucked under the legs of the man at the front. A peculiarity on this photo is that it appears that the ranking members are only wearing chevrons on their right sleeves. Also, everyone is wearing a beret and it's not often that you see ladies wearing them.
Another interesting group portrait of First Aid Party CD personnel from Cornwall. Undated but after the summer of 1941. I have seen other photos of Civil Defence members from Cornwall and they all usually appear to show the special yellow county cap badge being worn.
The ladies are all wearing the Pattern 71 tunic with the drivers' cap. The gentlemen are in the serge battledress and berets and have a mixture of CD and ARP breast badges (commonly seen as local authorities used up existing stock of badges). The District Warden in the centre of bottom row appears to be the only person wearing a lanyard. Only one person appears to have a St. John qualification on his right pocket.
Image courtesy of Imprints of WWII.
A very nice study of Miss Frankie Whitten taking part in a parade of London County Council (LCC) Ambulance Drivers at Hyde Park, London, shortly after her wedding earlier that day at Caxton Hall Registry Office to Surgeon Lieutenant J D Thompson.
IWM HU 74991 Coypright
The Civil Defence battledress trousers came with a small pocket on the front right that could take a small a First Field Dressing. This is the only size bandage that would fit in this pocket.
As part of the uniform issued to wardens the greatcoat was of great use during the nights when on duty. This early issue greatcoat (labelled as Overcoat) has the double yellow rank chevrons of a senior warden.
A file from the National Archives details the process of adopting the early uniforms: Women Warden's Coat (Pattern 42), the bluette combination suit (Pattern 41) for men and the Woman Driver's (and Attendant's) coat (Pattern 43) and the hats (Patterns 44 & 45) The below image was in the files to give an overview of their look.
An interesting photo of a Civil Defence reserve member. The insignia on his right pocket appears to be the badge often seen placed on the upper sleeve of most mobile reserve columns.
This rather happy chap is probably showing off his brand new serge battledress and beret. Introduced from the autumn of 1941 is replaced the rather inferior bluette overalls. The only markings on the battledress is a Derbyshire local area marking. He has not yet attached his ARP badge to the beret.
A couple of nice portraits on the Alamy photo stock website. The gentleman is wearing the bluette overalls and his own beret (prior to the introduction of the CD beret in 1941). The lady is wearing the early driver's coat and a helmet with what appears to be the gas cape cover.
An interesting parade photograph of Civil Defence members in Lenton, Nottinghamshire. Interesting to see that only a few have the area marking of 'NOTTINGHAM' under the CD breast badge - and it is unbordered. The officer has a yellow-piped side cap.
Images courtesy of Lenton Times.
This portrait shows Edith Essery from Hartleopol in her Civil Defence ambulance uniform. Either an ambulance attendant or driver her ARP Pattern 71 serge uniform has an unofficial local rank badge. Two (narrow) yellow bars in the usual rank insignia for an officer (lowest senior officer rank) but these are much thicker than usually seen. The cap badge does not seem to be the silver ARP badge but is probably a locally produced example featuring a large 'A'.
Images from Hartlepool History Then And Now.
With the introduction of the serge battledress blouse and the women's tunic, the new CD breast badge was sewn onto the uniform before being issued. The badge was the 'old gold embroidered variety. As can be seen from the photo below, taken from a National Archives file, there were differences in how contractors manufactured the badge. To ensure the crown did look insipid, manufacturers were instructed to use black thread to pick out detail. These two examples show the differences in process.
Within a file at the National Archives is a large number of original ARP and Civil Defence badge samples. Also amongst these badges are a series of uniform portraits covering the serge uniforms for men and women as well as nursing uniforms. They provide an excellent reference material.
A very good condition, 1943-dated ARP Pattern 59a serge battledress in up for auction on eBay. The austerity (a) jacket featured exposed buttons that were quicker to manufacture. The blouse is a small size though.
A very good photo of a Stretcher Party. These men were responsible to extricating casualties out of bombed buildings and transporting them either to First Aid Posts or to ambulances for conveyance to the nearest hospital. Seeing as the members here are not wearing serge battledress the photograph was most likely taken pre-September 1941. The white helmets denote party leaders.
A group photograph of what appears to be a First Aid Post / Party (FAP). The men are in standard post-1941 serge battledress uniforms and the women are wearing the gabardine overcoat with special CD badge and red piping to the collars.
This document from the National Archives details the cost of the basic uniform for both men and women in the civil defence services. The cost of £4 in 1943 is roughly £180 in 2018.
Chief Warden Carter from Waltham Abbey. He was also the photographer for Group 7 during the Second World War. His serge battledress features the single think and single thin bars of a chief warden and he has the I.O. (Incident Officer) badge on his right sleeve.
The below document from September 1941 clearly shows that local authorities were to replace the bluette overalls (and women's drivers coats) with the new serge uniforms. However, the overalls did remain in use for the rest of the war. particularly by rescue squads.
This photograph shows an ARP Report & Control officer from the West Ham of London. His shoulder titles are the "CONTROL" variety and he has the two thin bars of an ARP officer. He is wearing the austerity pattern battledress (with exposed buttons) and the photo clearly shows his area marking for West Ham.
A very good portrait of an ambulance driver standing next to her vehicle. She's wearing the drivers' coat and ski cap.
The London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS) was run by the London County Council. It was initially called the London Volunteer Ambulance Service (until renamed the LAAS on the outbreak of war) and had 5,000 volunteer drivers and attendants. Each ambulance station in London was 'manned' by a staff of approximately 80 people and was run 24 hours a day. Many of their vehicles had been donated and converted into ambulances.
Early in the war the drivers were issued with the 'lancer' fronted blue coat but from 1941 they were issued with serge uniforms. CD issue badges replaced the previous LAAS issued hat, breast and shoulder badges.
A nice group shot of warden's towards the end of the war (going by the number of war service chevrons on show). The group is from Post 2A in Fetcham, Surrey. This chap in the centre, bottom row appears to have some insignia at the top of each sleeve - possibly Home Guard shoulder titles and also three bars - which is normally for a District Warden. He also has a peculiar single chevron on each sleeve - the chevron appears to have a distinct outline in a different colour. This single chevron on a senior rank battledress is new to me.
The chap at the back, second from left, appears to be wearing a couple of British Red Cross First Aid Proficiency medals, worn oddly, on his right pocket for some reason.
Also, a few berets don't have an ARP badge - not often seen. As the chap bottom right has no war service chevrons on his right sleeve he could have joined after '43 so didn't get issued one.
The group also wear the leather anklets - not often seen worn.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.