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Gas alert rattle, England, 1917

To give troops time to put on any protective clothing during gas attacks, this rattle would have been used to give a loud warning – although even this rattle’s noise may not have been heard over the noise of battle. Gas warfare was first used by the German Army in 1915 – although quite quickly it became a weapon used by all sides. The gases varied in their effects, but ‘Mustard gas’, which caused blindness and burns to the skin, was particularly feared.

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Glossary: rattle

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Glossary: mustard gas

A poisonous gas first used in warfare by the German Army in 1917 at Ypres, France. The symptoms of mustard gas poisoning include mustard-coloured blisters and severe burns.