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.
With the threat of war in the summer of 1939 building, a number of exercises were held to determine the effectiveness of the blackout. Trials like the one below were made across London to ascertain the effectiveness of the warden service to ensure the blackout regulations were followed. RAF aircraft flew over the 'blacked out' areas and reported that a lot of light was to be seen - especially when pub doors were regularly used.
An Irish Guardsman (two rows of four buttons on his tunic) patrols outside Marlborough House in London, the residence of the queen dowager, Mary of Teck (King George V's mother). Next to his sentry box in a Consol air raid shelter.
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 is a most rare helmet and armband issued to liaison staff working for the Civil Defence services. I've to fully ascertain the role of this liaison officer.
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.
A single page note from the Ministry of Home Security providing updated guidance and information about Fire Guard practice.
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 warden's appointment card that appears to have had a photo of the holder attached.
Given that ARP appears on all sorts of items, it appears infrequently on helmets. The below image is one of the few I have seen that clearly shows ARP on a helmet. The actaul wording to this (most likely staged) 1941 photo is:
"The good neighbour. Besides their function as the eyes and ears of the Control Centre in the field the wardens had another, equally important, that of the 'good neighbour' in the blitz, earning and keeping the people's confidence. In this role the work of the women wardens was outstanding. One warden in every six was a woman."
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.
An interesting poster for recruiting stretcher parties in the ARP service.
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.
Another air raid item from Lindsey County Council in Lincolnshire. This armband is for the Air Raid Welfare that would help assist people bombed out of their homes. Lindsey County Council was quite prolific is getting all sorts of badges, armbands and insignia manufactured. Armband is currently on eBay.
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.
A very rare London Auxiliary Ambulance Service (LAAS) First Aid satchel and contents. I've not seen another of these but there must have been quite a few used by the service.
An interesting ID card from the Louth area of Lincolnshire (part of the Lindsey area). It would appear that the Lindsey area was quite active in the creation of badges during the war as I have and have seen a number with Lindsey on them.
I've seen some blue ARP cufflinks previously but this is the first time I have seen them in red. They are chrome and enamel and not silver as there are no hallmarks.
News about interesting insignia, ARP related info and period photos that turn up.