Gas - Why did the government prepare for gas attacks? Main page

Source 1

By September 1939 nearly everybody in the country had been issued with a gas mask (38 million). People were instructed to carry their gas masks at all times in case of attack. Adults had masks that looked like a pig-snout and the children's were soon given nicknames such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Even babies had gas masks that they could be placed inside.

There was a genuine fear that the Germans would use gas, probably launched from aeroplanes or boats. Gas had been used on the battlefields during the First World War with terrible results but had not been used on civilian populations. Lots of work places had tests where members of staff had to wear a mask while working for 15 minutes or more and schools held frequent practices.

In the end gas was never used against the British, so the effectiveness of the preparations was never tested.

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