Civil Defence Service

Civil Defence Service

Civil Defence Service

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The Civil Defence Service was a civilian volunteer organisation established in Great Britain by the Home Office in 1935. During World War 2 in 1941 the use of Civil Defence replaced the pre-existing Air Raid Precautions (ARP). The Civil Defence Service included the pre-existing ARP as well as wardens, firemen (initially the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) and latterly the National Fire Service (NFS)), fire watchers, rescue, first aid post, stretcher party and industry. Over 1.9 million people served within the CD and nearly 2,400 lost their lives to enemy action.


The organisation of civil defence was the responsibility of the local authority. Volunteers were ascribed to different units depending on experience or training. Each local civil defence service was divided into several sections.

  • Wardens were responsible for local reconnaissance and reporting, and leadership, organisation, guidance and control of the general public. Wardens would also advise survivors of the locations of rest and food centres, and other welfare facilities.

  • Rescue Parties were required to assess and then access bombed out buildings and retrieve injured or dead people. In addition they would turn off gas, electricity and water supplies, and repair or pull down unsteady buildings,

  • Medical services included First Aid Parties who provided on the spot medical assistance. More serious injuries were passed to First Aid Posts by Stretcher Parties and to local hospitals by Ambulance......
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