This interesting helmet recently cropped up on an online auction site. Quite rare to see a white helmet with black band variety.
An interesting piece of Wardens' Service ephemera is this pressed cardboard identification card. Possibly attached to the owner's keys this was an additional form of identification if injured during duty.
This ARP-branded item recently appeared on eBay. I'd not seen this particular piece before but it ties into a few other ARP-related items I've seen such as an ashtray featuring the ARP logo.
A nice shot of two members of the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS) aiding a stretcher case. The LAAS shoulder title can be seen cleanly on the coat.
An interesting original message form showing the times of various raids. The colour coding used can be found here and here.
A group portrait, probably taken when the Civil Defence Service was disbanded in May 1945, of Wardens in the Framlingham area of Suffolk. Third from left on the middle row is Thomas Britton who was a Section Controller, Head Warden and Local Anti-Gas Instructor (he appears to have his instructor's badge on the flap of his right breast pocket).
Photo courtesy of Jon Bailey.
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.
A very interesting bespoke cap badge for the rescue service in Reading.
The Girl Guides (and also the Brownies) were heavily involved in assisting with the war effort. From 1938 the group planned how it could assist in the event of war breaking out. During the war Girl Guides assisted at First Aid Posts and Rest Centres. helping evacuees and also as messengers at ARP posts. From December 1940 Girl Guides were able to wear the Civil Defence armband when engaged on voluntary support of the service or WVS.
I am indebted to Karen Wiles for the following images - learn more at Doing Their Bit.
This group portrait (currently on eBay) shows a number of ARP/CD personnel and a boy scout. The lady sat in the centre at the bottom is most interesting. She is wearing the standard issue Pattern 71 tunic with a beret (not usually seen). Her insignia is very interesting: she is wearing an instructor's badge on her collar, a St John qualification on her right breast pocket and it would appear she also has the Life Saving badge on her lower left forearm (a most unusual place for this badge). Given her central position she is probably the most senior person in the group.
The gentleman next to her has five war service chevrons so this dates the photo towards the end of the war. His breast pocket badge is the red on black ARP type (rather then the more usual yellow on black CD version).
The majority of the other ladies have the Pattern 47 wrapover with red lined collars. They also are wearing the felt hat.
One of the lesser seen helmet markings is that related to decontamination of food stores following a chemical attack. An immense amount of preparation went into dealing with expected chemical/poison weapon attacks. Decontamination Squads were to deal directly with the chemical weapons but aside from them specialists were trained to provide direct support in managing food stocks that may have been affected. Another part of the system was the Food Analyst who had the rather unfortunate helmet marking of "FOOD ANAL". I don't have much information about the photo and cannot ascertain for sure it is an original wartime photograph.
This interesting badge is made from the standard issue CD breast badge and the local area marking badge for Gloucestershire. There's usually not enough space on the left-hand pocket of the battledress to accommodate both badges neatly so in this case it looks like the owner cut down the breast badge a little. An interesting bespoke badge that is currently for sale on World War Wonders.
These lamps/torches could be fitted to the brim of a helmet to give the wearer hands-free light when working. The battery pack could be clipped onto the wearer's belt and the wire usually run up the back and over the shoulder to the lamp head. They appear in many ARP equipment catalogues but few photographs exist showing them being worn. This example was posted on eBay for £70.
A rare Deputy Divisional Warden armband from Edinburgh. Text appears to be a deep blue in colour on a white cotton background with a buckle fastening,
Image: Museum of Edinburgh
It's always interesting to see the uniform regulations being bent. This pretty standard group portrait of (probably) wardens features a lady on the bottom left wearing a male battledress. It's rare but not unheard of to see period photos of females having managed to get hold of a battledress. Apart from that it's a pretty standard photo of uniforms and insignia. Appears that the majority of berets have the printed CD in a yellow circle. That's a bit unusual as those with ARP badges usually fixed them to their berets. There's a member of the Home Guard lurking in the photo as well...
A group photograph of civil defence personnel wearing both types of ARP Pattern battledress - the first issue and the the later austerity (with exposed buttons). Oddly, this photo shows some men only displaying an area marking in the place where the CD breast badge would normally be. Alas I cannot make out the area name though the photo appears to come from Cumbria. Probably a case of the local authority have some difficulty in sourcing the badges.
Much as ARP Wardens were issued with an appointment/warrant card, Fire Guards were also issued with identity cards to allow them access to buildings. This one is for the Borough of Wembley in north London.
A fantastic group shot of a number of Rescue squads from the Camberwell area of south London. All appear to be in bluette overalls and the distinct lack of battledress dates this before the autumn of 1941.
This ARP Pattern 57 battledress jacket and warrant card cropped up on eBay recently (with a price of £160). It's the first time I have seen a double area marking - one for the county of Staffordshire and one for the local area of Rowley Regis (southeast of Dudley). Very unusual to see the Rowley Regis badge sewn to the upper flap of the breast pocket. The CD breast badge appears to be the merrow edge variety that was attached to the jacket when made. The rank stripes don't appear to be the usual WW2 variety and look a bit like those that the Civil Defence Corps issued from 1948. Again, they may be original but hard to say. Oddly the lanyard is white - I would have again expected it to be yellow for Staffordshire. It appears that a metal Police type chain in connecting the whistle to the lanyard. The jacket also features four war service chevrons.
An appointment card for a warden in the County of Derby. Quite a simple card with the most basic information required.
A table chock full of boxed silver ARP badges awaiting presentations to members of the St John Ambulance Brigade by the Mayor at Reading Town Hall in May 1938. A special woven yellow on black ARP badge was later made available for St John volunteers to wear on their uniform and worn on the lower right sleeve.
Image: Reading Museum object number REDMG : 1980.36.A50.5
One of those interesting newsreel snippets used to educate the public about various wartime issues. This one is about the need to carry a gas mask at all times. Thankfully the need never arose to use them.
The most common air raid whistle found is the J. Hudson whistle that has "A.R.P." engraved on it. Also manufactured during the war was the Adie Bros. (Brothers) version that appeared in 1941, identical in design to the Hudson one. This company, also based in Birmingham, had previous government contracts for whistles and many appeared with the Ministry of Defence broad arrow - crows foot mark /|\ - and some with a year date.
In 1941 Adie Bros. received a contract for 40,000 ARP whistles (previously it appears that just Hudson has been manufacturing ARP whistles). Hudson's received a contract at the same time for 60,000. The reason for so many was that a change in how the alarm for the fall of incendiary bombs was to be made. Short blasts would indicate incendiaries. At this time whistles were now issued to all reserve wardens and fire guards/ fire watchers. Oddly, Supplementary Fire Parties did not get them. The Adie ARP whistle features the maker's name (ADIE BROS), city (BIRMINGHAM), royal cipher (GR VI) and year (1941). The 1941 ARP whistle omitted the MoD broad arrow as the contract came through the Ministry of Works & Buildings.
Read more about the history of ARP whistles
Something a little bit different here. These four boxed sets recently appeared on an online auction house. I've seen various individual figures appear on eBay and reach quite a lot of money. These look to be in A1 condition. I'm not entirely sure of the date of manufacture. Interesting items.
UPDATE: I'm told these were made by Taylor & Bryant and were produced pre-war around 1938.
I picked this rather rare medal bar up on eBay recently. I've seen a few other types of these medal bars but this specific anti-gas instructor was new to me. Given that the ARPS also appears it ties in closely with the ARPS Instructor badge that civil defence personnel could train for.
I am indebted to Steve Crookes for sending me this photo of a British Red Cross medal with interesting medal bars from his collection. This shows how the above bar would have been worn. Note the 1941 ARP medal bar.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.