Original British WWII A.R.P Warden Wood Gas Rattle Marked by W. Clements & Son
Original Item: Only One Available. Second World War period British Air Raid Precautions (ARP) warden's gas rattle. If a gas attack was suspected warning was given locally by means of the ARP warden's hand rattle and the all clear was announced through the ringing of hand bells.
Air Raid Precautions (ARP) was an organization in the United Kingdom set up in 1937 dedicated to the protection of civilians from the danger of . It included the Raid Wardens' Service that was to report on bombing incidents. Every local council was responsible for organising ARP wardens, messengers, ambulance drivers, rescue parties and liaison with police and fire brigades.
From 1 September 1939, ARP Wardens enforced the "blackout". Heavy curtains and shutters were required on all private residences, commercial premises, and factories to prevent light escaping and so making them a possible target for enemy bombers to locate their targets. With increased enemy bombing during the Blitz, the ARP services were central in reporting and dealing with bombing incidents. They managed the air raid sirens and ensured people were directed to shelters.
Air Raid Precautions had Gas decontamination specialists to deal with and clean up incidents involving chemical and gas weapons.
In early 1945 after the German collapse at the Battle of the Bulge and being in full retreat from the Red Army in the east there was serious concern that Hitler in his final madness might resort to poison gas as a last ditch measure. The writing was on the wall for the Nazi elite and frankly nobody felt there was any hope of them surrendering in any honorable fashion so all contingencies had to be allowed for.
Gas Masks had been required equipment from the outbreak of the war but where had all the wooden gas rattles from WW1 gone? The answer was a swift production run in late 1944 to early 1945.
This is one of those rare last minute WW2 gas rattles, larger and more rugged than the WW1 equivalent. The rotating Star now had eight arms and the construction was massive and without any of the old school craftsmanship. Our example is clearly marked-
W. Clements & Son
As it turned out gas was not used, probably because the Germans left it all too late and the horrendous casualties that might have been created were left to be dealt with by Hitler's "People's Army of old men and young boys.
Fortunately never used in battle this gas rattle remains ready to serve.
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