Mr Webb King was an Air Raid Warden during World War 2. These badges were found when his workshop was being cleared out, and so were donated to our society. The badges in our possession do not have the word WARDEN printed on them, like the image of the badge shown on the Darebin Heritage 'Air Raid Protection Services (ARP)' publication, or the image of a badge offered for sale on ebay. At this stage we are uncertain of why this is so. If anybody knows the answer then please leave a message on this site.
During World War 2 Australian municipalities were expected to take precautions against air raids, with the Government campaigning to recruit men over 45 to be volunteer Air Raid Wardens. It was also common for women to become wardens. Wardens carried gas masks, helmets, and rattles or whistles. The wardens received 7 to 8 one hour sessions of training, and their chief duty was to advise people of precautions to take, and to ensure those precautions were taken. Air Raid Precautions included air raid drills, shelters (usually trenches), first aid, fire fighting, rescue of 'gassed' persons, evacuation drills, demolition and repair squads, monitoring of blackouts.
Melbourne was deemed vulnerable to aerial attack because of its centralised port and industrial facilities and so Anti-aircraft guns were installed in Maribyrnong. By early 1942 more than 60,000 people voluntarily carried out Air Raid Precautions duties according to the Autobiography of Robert V. J. Padula OAM. As the threat diminished during 1943 and 1944 the need for air raid precautions was slowly reduced, and some shelters (trenches) were filled.
The two photos showing Air Raid Wardens are out of copyright and have been sourced from the 'Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria.' The image showing one warden on Swanston Street Melbourne has been cropped to remove extras not connected with the photo. Other sources of information for this report are: (1) http://bpadula.tripod.com/autobiography/id100.html, (2) https://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/underattack/mobilise/precautions.asp, (3) http://heritage.darebinlibraries.vic.gov.au/article/57.
The ARP badges are a historic reminder of the precautions that were taken in Victoria during the early years of World War 2. The precautions were an effort to minimise the harmful effects of a theoretical air raid. The war started to turn and so an air raid never came, however many people received valuable training in what precautions needed to be taken.
Pressed metal round badges with pins. Main feature of badges is the large whitish lettering ARP on a red background. A black outlined crown and the word VICTORIA in red on whitish background is also on the badges. At the bottom of the badges in black are the letters DC plus the numbers of the badges.
Inscriptions & markings
Serial Numbers of the badges are: DC 361, DC 362, DC 364, DC 368, DC 370, DC 374, DC 375, DC 376, DC 377, DC 379, DC 388, DC 389.
- 1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 3 Air Raid Precautions in Melbourne from the Autobiography of Robert V. J. Padula OAM.
- Darebin Heritage. Air Raid Protection Services (ARP). Description of the air raid precautions that were undertaken in both Preston and Northcote municipalities during World War 2.