Cigarette cards publicise WW2 air raid precautions for keeping safe
For many years it was the practice for
cigarette manufacturers to put what
was called a 'cigarette card' inside each
packet of cigarettes. These had a picture on one side and information about the picture on the other side. There were various
themes to the cards, and children would pressurise adults to buy more cigarettes
so that they could collect complete sets. Consequently, there were numerous
cigarette cards in circulation. The theme on air raid precautions and keeping safe on the WW2 home front
was therefore ideal for continually reminding the public on safety issues. This
page starts by showing the cigarette cards on this theme with captions of the
accompanying text; then it shows how collections of cards were mounted in
Set of cigarette cards on protection from WW2 air raids
Below is a set of cigarette cards on the theme of protecting the home
front from the air raids of the Second World War. The set was produced by the cigarette
company 'Wills', in collaboration with the ARP (Air Raid Precautions), an organisation
dedicated to the protection of civilians from the danger of air-raids. The album
was photographed in Lincolnsfields Children's Centre in Bushey.
The album reinforces the messages in the Government's public 1939 leaflet describing the preparations 'if
war should come'.
The following pictures would be of a size to fit
into a packet of ten cigarettes.
Types of splinter-proof wall: brick; rubble in corrugate
iron and cardboard boxes of rubble, to protect against bomb blast.
Protecting walls and windows of a 'refuge room' with
sandbags stacked outside, to protect against bomb blast.
Equipping a 'refuge room': the area for living, eating,
drinking, reading and listening to the
Stage in the production of an
Anderson shelter in a back garden. This one has an extra gas-proof filtration
facility which can be worked by electrical or manual treadle labour.
French-style inflatable 'balloon' shelter. Said to be quick to inflate but expensive. [I think it very unlikely that it
would be quick to inflate!]
Putting out an incendiary bomb with water from a
Carrying water in buckets
in a human chain.
A type of manual pump for two people.
A hose-laying lorry.
Emergency heavy pump unit.
A medium-weight power pump in action.
A power pump for towing on a car trailer.
Gas mask (known as a respirator) for civilians.
How to put on and adjust a gas mask.
Air raid wardens with a civilian despatch driver.
Volunteer mobile corps of owner drivers.
A first aid party.
Civilian anti-gas school.
Mobile gas vans.
Decontamination workers in training.
Air Defence Control Room.
Anti-Aircraft search light.
A height finder for the Anti-Aircraft Gun Section.
A light-weight, portable fire extinguisher.
Putting out an incendiary bomb by scooping it into
a portable container.
Inside a gas-proofed shelter.
A light-weight power pump in action.
Supply depot for gas masks.
How to take off a gas mask.
Civilian duty gas mask.
Testing for gas contamination.
Pilots running to take off.
How to recognise an
incendiary bomb which causes
Gloucester Gauntlet interception fighter planes.
Gas mask for the services - with a longer active
period than civilian gas masks.
The badge of Air Raid Precautions, a civilian service.
Window of strengthened glass (left) and celluloid
(right) to prevent shattering.
Anti-Aircraft sound locator.
Cigarette card albums
Albums for the sets
of cards could be bought very cheaply from
tobacconists. There was a labelled
space for each card in the theme. Because sticking in the card obscured the
information on the back, the information was repeated below the space for
Left: The front cover of the cigarette card album on Air
Right: The inside front cover, with a message from the then
home secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, Bt.
Tap/click for larger, legible images
Layout of album pages.
If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo,
I would be pleased if you would contact me.
sources: early 20th century material
sources: ww2 home front and other material