Civil Defence services had largely been wound up at the end of the Second World War. In 1949 however they were restarted, the impending threat of nuclear attack from the USSR and it’s vassal states requiring the introduction of some form of local support to civilians in case of war. This new Civil Defence service had a number of pieces of insignia, some of which we have looked at before. The designs of the post war Civil Defence service are different from wartime badges, but are frequently muddled up by collectors and dealers. Tonight we are looking at a number of little enamelled badges:These badges have a central motif of a lion, surrounded by ‘Civil Defence Corps’ on a blue enamelled field. They are topped by a crown; either the King’s crown indicating they are from between 1949 and 1953, or the more bulbous Queen’s crown introduced after Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne:The badges are offered with either lapel or brooch type fittings:The lapel fittings were for men, fashions of the day meant most men wore suits with a button hole on the lapel for these badges. The women have a pin fastener that could be attached to a piece of clothing or a hat easily.
The Civil Defence Corps (CDC) was a civilian volunteer organisation established in Great Britain in 1949 to mobilise and take local control of the affected area in the aftermath of a major national emergency, principally envisaged as being a Cold War nuclear attack. By March 1956, the Civil Defence Corps had 330,000 personnel. It was stood down in Great Britain in 1968, although two Civil Defence Corps still operate within the British Isles, namely the Isle of Man Civil Defence Corps and Civil Defence Ireland (Republic of Ireland). Many other countries maintain a national Civil Defence Corps, usually having a wide brief for assisting in large scale civil emergencies such as flood, earthquake, invasion, or civil disorder.
You will note that the Queen’s crown example above has the letters ‘ICDS’. This stands for the ‘Industrial Civil Defence Service’ and were units based around factories and industry rather than civilian population centres.
The Industrial Civil Defence Service was a similar organisation to the Civil Defence Corps, but separate from it. Every industrial or commercial undertaking which employed two hundred or more people could form a civil defence unit to protect its own property and staff. These units were organised in a similar way to the Civil Defence Corps, with Headquarters, Warden, Rescue, First Aid and Fire Guard Sections. The Fire Guard Section manned fire points and smaller fire appliances. Each unit had its own control post, and groups of units could form a group control post. Group control posts and control posts in larger factories had the status of warden posts in their own right, whereas smaller units answered to their local Civil Defence Corps warden post.