Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Second World War Gas Mask

Air Raid Precaution cards from the Second World War
The cards above illustrate the use of the 'Gas Mask'

The official name of the 'Gas Mask' was the Civilian Respirator. One way of getting across message of air raid precautions to the public was by the use of cigarette cards. Three of these dealing with the Gas Mask or 'Civilian Respirator' can be see above.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

The cigarette cards seen above formed part of a series of fifty. One card would have been found in each packet of cigarettes, each one giving slightly different information. People could obtain an album from the tobacconist. The cards would be stuck into the album fairly easily as the reverse of the card was slightly adhesive. A friend gave me an envelope with several of these 'Air Raid Precautions' cards inside (no album). Unfortunately over the years some of them had stuck together and are unreadable. They appear to date from the early months of the war, and may even have been printed a little before war the declaration of war.

The three cards shown above provided the following information:

(Top): The Civilian Respirator

This respirator consists of a face-piece, to which is attached by means of a rubber band a metal box containing filters which will absorb all known war gases. The face-piece is held in poisition by means of web straps fitting around the head. When the respirator is fitted properly and the straps adjusted, it completely protects the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs. The strap should be pinned at the right tension, so that the respirator can be slipped on in an instant. This respirator will be issued free to the public.


(Bottom left): The Civilian Respirator - How to remove it

The picture shows the RIGHT way to take off the Civilian Respirator. This should be done by slipping the head harness forward from the back of the head. It is important that the respirator should be taken off in this way. The WRONG way to take it off is by taking hold of the metal box containing the filters and pulling the face-piece off the chin. By this method there is danger of bending and cracking the transparent window. If this window is cracked, the respirator is useless.

(Bottom right): Supply Depot for Respirators

This subject shows the examination of respirators at one of London's Regional Supply Depots, of which there are now three in existence to serve the needs of the Metropolis. Ten similar Regional Supply Depots are being constructed in the provinces. Respirators, after being suitably packed for long storage at these Depots are then to be moved to store centres. Each store centre is expected to house about 30,000 to 40,000 respirators, and its location is to be determined after consultation with local authorities. In the event of an emergency, respirators would be unpacked at the store centres, prepared for use, and issued to the public through distributing depots which would each handle about 4,000 respirators.


Wednesday, 16 March, 2011  

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