‘Diary of development of British respirator’, 1915-1919

Selected by Patricia Methven, Director of Archives & Information Management


‘Diary of development of British respirator’, 1915-1919.


Albeit visually dull, this six page text charts British attempts to protect millions of men from the initially disabling, eventually lethal, gas attacks on the Western Front. It reflects the roles of serving and non-serving scientists seeking to develop methods of protection and neutralisation, guidance offered and withdrawn because experience suggested better approaches or the threat had changed, the early call to women on the Home Front to make a million cotton pads for the troops, the gathering of useful practical experience in the field, analysis of captured respirators and orders placed for hundreds of thousands of units to be supplied. As such it is an ultimately moving account of a dedicated endeavour led by Foulkes to address one of the evils of modern warfare.

Ref: Foulkes 6/44


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