Alternative Name(s): Hat, Uniform

Metal helmet inscribed 'NES/W', most likely worn by a National Emergency Services warden. National Emergency Services wardens were trained to respond to a wide range of emergency situations during World War II, including floods, fires or epidemics, unlike the ARP (Air Raid Precautions) wardens, who had a specific area of responsibility. (National Emergency Service (1939, May 12). South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus (NSW: 1900 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from

The National Emergency Services was established by the Commonwealth Government even before Australian became part of World War II. The Victorian National Emergency Services Committee first met on 21 March 1939 and quickly acknowledged the need to co-operate with other states and the Commonwealth in their work. They considered the practicalities of large-scale evacuations of citizens, including transport, medical staff, decontamination, food, blackouts and air raid warnings. The National Emergency Services Committee of Victoria saw itself as an oversight body, devolving responsibility to organisations such as a 'new State department to direct anti-aircraft activities'. (The Argus, 21 March 1929). Wardens included school teachers, presumably because they were considered respected community members.

Physical Description

Metal helmet, probably steel, with brim around, varnished or painted, with yellow stencil on front. Inside helmet is a metal and leather structure which would fit closely to the head of the wearer, protecting them from impact. An elasticized chin strap is fastened at each side.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Home & Community

  • Date Used

    National Emergency Services, Australia, circa 1939-1945

  • Inscriptions

    Stencilled on front: 'NES / W'.

  • Classification

    Military history, Civilian life, Equipment

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • References

    (PROTECTING CIVILIANS Emergency Plans (1939, March 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 2. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from [Link 1] also (1939, March 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 2. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from [Link 2] Further research will determine the link between the National Emergency Services and the State Emergency Council for Civil Defence (Victoria), responsible for Air Raid Precautions during the war. The State Emergency Council for Civil Defence was established around April 1939, and hastily reassured the 'VAD, VSD, Defence League and other movements' that it would not encroach upon their 'valuable work'. (Many Keen To Help In Defence Measures (1939, April 11). News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from [Link 3])

  • Keywords

    Air Raid Precautions, Civilian, Military History, World War II, 1939-1945