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Poison gas identification kit, United Kingdom, 1935-1945

Poison gas identification kits were issued to civil defence personnel during the Second World War. These individuals were usually ARP (Air Raid Precaution) wardens and the kits trained them to identify a range of dangerous gases. This kit contains eight small labelled glass bottles and some sachets of chemicals in a leatherette case. The wider civilian population were issued gas masks as protection against potentially fatal gas attacks. They were also given pamphlets describing characteristic smells of different gases. Gas attacks were to be signalled by air raid wardens using large wooden rattles which produced a loud ‘clacking’ sound. In the post war period, many of these were used by football fans around the country. Poison gases such as mustard gas were used to great effect during the First World War (1914-1918). They were outlawed in the Treaty of Versailles which formally ended the conflict. However, they were expected to be used against civilians during the Second World War. Fortunately, this never happened.

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Glossary: gas identification kit

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Glossary: World War Two

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