This scene at the museum depicts the uniforms worn by Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Wardens during the second world war.
The ARP section was an organisation in the United Kingdom set up in 1937. It's role was to provide protection to civilians from the danger of air raids, this also included the Air Raid Wardens' Service that reported on bombing incidents.
ARP wardens, messengers, ambulance drivers, rescue parties, and any liaison required with police and fire brigades was organised by local councils. Most wardens were part-time volunteers who carried out their ARP duties alongside their full-time jobs.
In the aftermath of a raid, ARP wardens would often be first on the scene, carrying out first-aid if there were minor casualties, putting out any small fires and helping to organise the emergency response.
From 1 September 1939, ARP Wardens also enforced the blackout. To reduce the possibility of becoming targets for enemy bombers, all private residences were required to have heavy curtains and commercial premises shutters to prevent light escaping.
During the Blitz, the ARP services were central in reporting and dealing with the increase in enemy bombing incidents. When an air raid warning had been raised, they managed the air raid sirens and directed people to the air raid shelters.
In 1941 the organisation's name was officially changed to the Civil Defence Service to reflect the wider range of duties it now performed. During World Ward Two about 1.4 million men and women served within the The Civil Defence Service, of these, 7,000 lost their lives in the pursuit of their duty.
At the height of the Blitz, over 127,000 full-time personnel were involved, but by the end of 1943 this had dropped to 70,000. The Civil Defence Service was stood down towards the end of the war in Europe on 2 May 1945.
Uniform items from right to left: -
- Item #2 - Auxiliary Fireman Overalls - Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) Brentwood circ.1939
- Item #5 - National Fire Service Fireman uniform Number 11 Fire Force circ. 1944
- Item #1 - NFS Fire Woman Wearing a Greatcoat and Forage Cap circ. 1944
- Item #7 - ARP rescue section overall 1940
- Item #4 - Civilian woman wearing a SFP helmet(Special Fire Patrol or Street Fire party) circ. 1941
- Item #8 - Civil defence rescue section overall with Bloman Hose Mask 1944