4000 year old woman
1 Elmsleigh Road, Staines-upon-Thames, TW18 4PM. United Kingdom
Phone: 01784 461 804
Email: staff@spelthornemuseum.org.uk

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ARP Wardens' Rattle

In September 1935, Stanley Baldwin the Prime Minister, issued a circular entitled Air Raid Precautions ~ARP~ which suggested local authorities should make plans to protect their people in the event of a war. This included the building of public air raid shelters. (Anderson or Morrison.)

In April 1937, two years before WW2 began, the government created an Air Raid Wardens' Service and recruited around 200,000 volunteers. By the end of the war there had been 1.4 million ARP wardens in Britain, mostly part time volunteers who had other full time day jobs.

These volunteers were known as Air Raid Precaution Wardens and their main role was to protect civilians from the danger of air~raids. They would patrol the streets during blackouts, to ensure that no light was visible. If a light was seen, the warden would alert the householder and they would have to cover the chink of light. Often the warden would do this by shouting loudly!

The ARP Wardens were issued with a helmet with the letter 'W' upon it, a whistle and/or a wooden rattle, a hooded torch and canteen of water.

Our Rattle would have been used to warn people of a gas-attack. The Warden would go through all streets in the sector which may be affected, sounding the rattles more or less continuously.