Research on gas masks
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Gas masks were issued to all British civilians at the start of World War 2. In Britain fear was around because the British government thought that the Nazi German bombers would drop poison gas bombs. At the start of the war some citizens had not been issued with a gas mask. In a government document "If war should come" the explanation for this was that district leaders might have decided to keep gas masks in storage until they decided that an emergency situation had developed. However, the public was told to tell their local Air Raid Warden if they had not been issued with a gas mask and neighbours had. It was the responsibility of air raid wardens to ensure that everybody had been issued with a gas mask. Babies had special gas masks made for them which would be issued only in an emergency. These gas masks were also known as ‘Mickey Mouse’ gas masks to make them seem less scary. In school the children and teachers took regular gas drills. The children found it extremely hard to take the drills seriously, as when they breathed out it made noises. In case of a gas attack the air wardens would sound the gas rattle.
Why they were used
In World War 1, gas was used greatly and many soldiers had died or been injured in gas attacks. Therefore they thought it would be used in World was 2. Mustard gas was the ultimate deadly chemical used in World War 1. It was so powerful that only small amounts needed to be added to weapons like high explosive shells to have devastating effects. Due to this gas masks were made to help ordinary people in Britain protected.
What were the gas masks like
The gas masks were made of black rubber which became hot and smelly. It was very hard to breathe when wearing the masks. When you breathed in the air was sucked through the filter to take out the gas. When you breathed out the whole mask was pushed away from your face to let the air out.
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