A.R.P Warden's whistle : Mrs G Furse-Roberts, British Women's Civil Defence Corps

Place Europe: United Kingdom, England, Greater London, London
Accession Number REL43317
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Nickel-plated brass, Polished cotton
Maker J Hudson & Co
Place made United Kingdom: England, West Midlands, Birmingham
Date made c 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

ARP (Air Raid Precaution) pattern nickel plated brass whistle with a long gold polished cotton cord attached to the ring at the top. The whistle is impressed with the following manufacturer's details: 'A.R.P. J.HUDSON & Co BARR ST. HOCKLEY BIRMINGHAM', and is further engraved, 'S.M.B.C.' .

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History / Summary

Air Raid Precautions whistle issued to Gabrielle Furse-Roberts, nee Barton, born 13 November 1890 at Gladesville, NSW. Gabrielle married George Furse-Roberts on 22 February 1912 at All-Saints, Galle, Ceylon, where he was a civil servant. They had two sons, Anthony and Adrian, who were both born in Australia, but no records can be located relating to the date of the Furse-Roberts' return to Australia. Gabrielle's two brothers, 1313 Private Anthony Nolan Barton, 7 Battalion and Second Lieutenant Francis Maxwell Barton, 13 Battalion, had both been killed in France in August 1916, in separate incidents.

In 1931, Gabrielle travelled to England in 1931 with her two sons after her separation or divorce from George. Her sons undertook tertiary education in England and remained there after the war.

During the Second World War, Gabrielle volunteered with the Civil Defence as an air-raid shelter-marshall in London, in charge of a shelter at Marylebone which housed 200 people every night. This is the uniform which she wore during that period. Shelter Marshalls (later known as Shelter Wardens) could be male or female, and were usually responsible for larger capacity shelters which may have been located either in large basements or in Underground stations. Their responsibilities included the maintenance of order, allocation of spaces, and the supply of first aid.

Throughout her life Gabrielle regularly returned to Australia to visit relatives. Reports of her activities in England in the Civil Defence appeared in the Australian press in 1941.