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ARP WARDEN

rebecca52

Brummie babby
My grandfather William Rowe was a full time Head Warden in the ARP ( I think for the Villa Cross area )during WW2. He lived in Lozells so presumably this was the area in which he worked. My father used to tell me that his father rescued some people from bombed out cellars and that his picture was in the paper because of this . I have never been able to find this or indeed any more information about his service. Has anyone got any suggestions as to where I might start looking? Thanks
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
It is disappointing, Rebecca, that members are finding it difficult to give you any guidance on this. It all points to the fact that tracing members of WW2 Home Front services (volunteers or paid) and what they did is very difficult. Few records exist and I am certainly not aware of any for ARP personnel. (It's slightly easier for the Home Guard, but not much).

From what you have been told, it sounds likely that there is some newspaper article somewhere which makes reference to your grandfather. I'm no expert on newspaper searches but I think in this case, all you can do is keep trying within the online archives which are available to us (normally subject to a subscription, unfortunately). Bear in mind, though, that any report from that time will give no information about the location of the incident, for security reasons. With a bit of luck, though, your grandfather's name could well be mentioned.

In view of the absence of official records I think that the best thing for you to do is to approach the situation from the other direction – in other words, forget for the time being trying to track your grandfather himself down but, rather, look at the incidents where he might well have been involved, and in particular those adjacent to the area where he is known to have served.

One book I have in mind is Michael Minton's "Heroes of the Birmingham Air Raids. There are no doubt others. The trouble with any book of that sort is that many brave men are mentioned and commemorated; but beyond them there are many others whose own acts of bravery at the same time were either wholly unknown or were never recorded. Unfortunately your grandfather's name does not appear in the book I have mentioned. But it DOES provide a lot of information about what he and many others must have experienced. Perhaps members can suggest other sources.

Online research of course is another possibility. I have at least one page in my Home Guard website which gives a lot of detail about one Villa Cross incident, here: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences40staffshg.htm . (There are others in the same website). There must have been many other similar incidents in the neighbourhood and there will be information about them, somewhere or other. Official incident reports survive. There can't have been many of these dreadful events in which your grandfather was not involved.

Keep at it – you may stumble across something which relates more specifically to your grandfather. Please let us know of any progress.

Chris
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
maybe some of our members who are subscribed to the british newspaper archives would kindly have a look to see if there was anything written about william rowe from lozells who save people from a cellar during a bomb blast...fingers crossed

lyn
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks, Lyn. It would also be useful to have members’ suggestions about the best books they have encountered on the subject of the Birmingham Blitz. This would be useful to Rebecca and no doubt other members in the future.

Chris
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Of course, he might well have appeared but wasn’t named. Perhaps part of a group of rescue workers. The location would also have been unstated - and even which city (although the fact of its appearing in a Birmingham newspaper might have been a bit of a clue!)

If, as it seems, he wasn’t named this is going to be a bit of a needle in a haystack for Rebecca. And would need her to be able to recognise her grandfather in a grainy photograph.

Chris
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Rebecca,

I'm sorry to say that an online newspaper search of Birmingham between September 1939 and December 1945 for William Rowe did not produce a single entry.

Maurice
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
A difficult one, Pete. You can specify the exact word Rowe, but it still churns out Colmore Row and Easy Row, both of which had suppliers of ARP-related gear from mattresses downwards. Asking it to exclude "Row " with the space, produces nothing. And there are hundreds of companies trying to recruit ARP people, such as factories and cinemas, so you get all that dross as well. Searching on the phrase ARP Warden produces nothing either. As Chris says above, the naming of individual wardens is as rare as hen's teeth.

But (and there's always a but), if his wife's name was Florence and they lived at 188 Clifford Street, then here they are on the 1939 Register. He is shown as an assistant in a grocers, but if you look in the right hand margin, you will see that William is named as a Head ARP Warden and Florence as an ARP Warden. Frankly, I think this is as much as Rebecca is likely to find as the papers at the time did not tend to name rescuers for security purposes, as Chris has said. I've attached this as a file.

Maurice :cool:
 

Attachments

rebecca52

Brummie babby
maybe some of our members who are subscribed to the british newspaper archives would kindly have a look to see if there was anything written about william rowe from lozells who save people from a cellar during a bomb blast...fingers crossed

lyn
thank you. thats a good idea.
 

rebecca52

Brummie babby
A difficult one, Pete. You can specify the exact word Rowe, but it still churns out Colmore Row and Easy Row, both of which had suppliers of ARP-related gear from mattresses downwards. Asking it to exclude "Row " with the space, produces nothing. And there are hundreds of companies trying to recruit ARP people, such as factories and cinemas, so you get all that dross as well. Searching on the phrase ARP Warden produces nothing either. As Chris says above, the naming of individual wardens is as rare as hen's teeth.

But (and there's always a but), if his wife's name was Florence and they lived at 188 Clifford Street, then here they are on the 1939 Register. He is shown as an assistant in a grocers, but if you look in the right hand margin, you will see that William is named as a Head ARP Warden and Florence as an ARP Warden. Frankly, I think this is as much as Rebecca is likely to find as the papers at the time did not tend to name rescuers for security purposes, as Chris has said. I've attached this as a file.

Maurice :cool:
 

rebecca52

Brummie babby
Thank you. That is my grandfather and I had already found him on the 1939 register. I was just hoping to get a bit more information!
 
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