Civil Defence Reserve (Mobile Reserve & Regional Columns) during WW2
The first Mobile Reserve force was formed in Kent in 1940. It contained approximately 200 personnel (drawn from Ambulance, Decontamination, First Aid and Rescue squads) and vehicles that could quickly assist areas overwhelmed by an air raid. As more counties followed suit, the Civil Defence Reserve was formalised in July 1941 under the control of the Regional Commissioners and known as Regional Columns. By 1943 there were 14 such units spread across the UK.
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Civil Defence Reserve Senior Ranks Shoulder Straps
With the Civil Defence Reserve (CDR), from late 1944, officers wore special markings on their shoulder straps to denote seniority:
Commandant - Single Crown
Deputy Commandant - Three Stars
Adjutant/Quartermaster - Three Stars
Senior Group Officer - Two Stars
Group Officer - One Star
Civil Defence Reserve Breast Badge
This would appear to be an unofficial breast badge manufactured for the First Company of Kent CC Mobile Reserve.
Civil Defence Reserve Shoulder Titles
A number of shoulder titles were manufactured for mobile reserve and regional columns. There is photographic evidence of these badges also being worn on the right breast pocket.
Civil Defence Reserve Beret Badge
Civil Defence Reserve Overseas Column
In December 1944 a request was made to the Civil Defence Services for a volunteer column to assist with V1 and V2 incidents in Antwerp, Belgium. Although the city had been liberated in the autumn of 1944, is was a regular target for German V-weapons. The newly created Civil Defence Reserve Overseas Column arrived in Belgium in early January and then began to assist the local Belgian forces. During their time there they sadly lost one member of their corps whilst trying to rescue civilians in a bombed building. Uniquely amongst Civil Defence personnel, members of the Overseas Column were also allowed to where the flash of the 21st Army Group - a red shield with blue cross. The Overseas Column returned to the UK in May 1945.
Civil Defence Reserve Overseas Column shoulder title
Specially trained Civil Defence workers form a convoy of vehicles including utility vans, ambulances and cleansing vehicles which rush to the scene of a blitz attack to provide aid. The workers remain on this special force for no more than four weeks after which they return to their normal depot.