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Homepage. This page: A fascinating collection of photos featuring vehicles used by a wartime ARP Casualty Service.

ARP Casualty Services vehicles.

Adrian discovered this set of photographs within an old family album, and got in touch hoping that the vehicles - all used by the Watford ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Casualty Services during WW2 - could be identified. Rather than split them across different make/model photo pages, it seemed more appropriate to group them together as ARP vehicles. Adrian adds the following information:
"I think that even before war broke out, locally-administered ARP Casualty Services groups were established, utilising St John's Ambulance and Red Cross folk. My father and grandfather were part of the Watford unit. I remember my father saying one of the cars they were allocated and adapted into an ambulance was American ... now I wish I'd taken more notice of this and many other conversations."

1937 Vauxhall 25hp ARP ambulance.

The first of Adrian's photographs shows a circa 1937 Vauxhall, registration DJH 447, converted into an ambulance. Initially I'd thought it may be based on a 14hp chassis, but the wheelbase, and profile of the front wings, suggest a 25hp Vauxhall was used as the basis for this conversion. Photos elsewhere show a similar vehicle, coachbuilt by Herbert Lomas.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Vauxhall 25hp ambulance with the ARP service

Lomas ambulance.

Trevor contacted me after finding this page online. He confirms that the Vauxhall-based ambulance shown above was indeed built by Herbert Lomas, in addition he was able to provide scans from the company's ledger that describe the order for this exact same vehicle, in 1937. The vehicle's description includes the fitment of a rear floodlight, various Lomas fittings (for instance their own design of stretcher), a Winkworth bell, and "Borough of Watford" livery. He adds:
Details of the Lomas ambulance order
"Love the site, and I was delighted to see the items on the Watford ARP ambulance, vintage ambulances being my thing! Thought you might like a little more info on the Vauxhall 25, regn DJH447. This is definitely bodied by Herbert Lomas Ltd, and I attach a scan of its actual order form from the Lomas ledger, which is in my possession. You will see that the chassis cab came directly from Vauxhall Motors, to be bodied from new, not a converted car. The order was placed with Lomas on 26th May 1937, and the completed vehicle delivered to the "Borough of Watford" on 11th Sept 1937. Cost of the body was 268 and 4 shillings!! The regn number DJH was first issued in July 1937, so that fits with the delivery time. As this was a full 2 years before the war, I would believe that it was initially bought as the town ambulance (quite common pre-NHS) and only got co-opted into ARP service on the outbreak of war. Hope this is of some interest, regards, Trevor Deakin."
Brilliant, thanks for getting in touch and sending the scans over.

1935 Chrysler Airstream.

All of these images were found on a single page in an album, the group titled as "Casualty Service 1941". The following photographs feature a converted Chrysler Airstream from 1935, registration CCD 231, again used by ARP Casualty Services in Watford. Whether this vehicle started out in life as a saloon before being cut down, or was supplied as a chassis and cab, I'm not sure. Either way, it's a magnificent looking vehicle, equipped with black-out equipment as it would have seen regular use at night, during air raids. Both headlamps are fitted with (non-matching) black-out masks, while the bumpers, and wing edges, are all painted white.
Interestingly, another American vehicle with similarly-converted bodywork can just be seen in the background - a Packard, unless I'm mistaken.
1935 Chrysler used during the war
Photograph number three shows the same Chrysler Airstream, with various ARP attendants and/or drivers stood alongside the car. Part of the ARP Ambulance Attendant's duties was to help people injured during the bombings, recover casualties, and issue first aid. My guess is that these photographs were taken on delivery of the Chrysler, as I'd expect the shiny chrome-plated hubcaps to be painted over when the car was in service.
ARP ambulance in WW2
Next, a similar side-on view of the modified Chrysler.
Watford Air Raid Precautions
A young lady is shown sat behind the wheel of the (RHD) Chrysler.
Lady ambulance driver
The lad sat on the front bumper of the Chrysler is Adrian's father, Francis Harry Randall, aged 18 or 19 at the time of this photo.
Front view of the Chrysler
The final photo in Adrian's collection shows a chap in a makeshift workshop, with a pre-war Standard Flying 12 in the foreground. The back end of a motorcycle (reg. JMP 592 - 1938 issue) can also be seen. Maybe the car belonged to an ARP volunteer?
Standard Flying 12 car in the war
A very big thanks to Adrian for allowing me to share his photographs on the site. If anyone can shed more light on the vehicles, or the individuals, shown above, please get in touch and I'll update this page accordingly.
Return to Page 14 in the classic & vintage vehicle photo gallery.

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