Tag Archives: Gas

Diary entries which mention the military use of gas during the war.

24 December 1917; Monday

Awake about 3.30 and heard shells going over. Some of them pretty near and a few gas shells amongst them. Had our respirators on for a few minutes. Had to keep awake until nearly 6 o’clock. Murrill brought us our breakfast into bed and we didn’t get up until 9.30. Not much to do. I saw the train1 off. Received orders to pack up and go to headquarters. All got away before tea but Sergeant Powell and myself. We had to wait until 8 o’clock at night before the cart came for the last of the things. Someone stole a *’s stuff and we searched high and low for it. Had a long discussion last thing on chance†, * and Christmas. Talked until nearly midnight. Very cold and rather wet at night. Holman made some tea and Harvey looked after the equipment while we went for it.


  1. The train: See 22 December

1 October 1917; Monday

Up about midnight running up the canal bank after an officer. His man had taken him down the tunnel and he was quite dead when brought down. His first time up the line. Had two gas alarms in the night and some gassed artillerymen in in the night. Rather a busy time and we were fed up after it. Went round the aid posts in the morning with the 57th officer and Lee Hughes. Two German planes flying extremely low.

14 August 1917; Tuesday

Up about 7 o’clock. Cleaned up stuff in the panniers until about dinnertime. Went up for a bath before dinner. Worked an hour or so in the afternoon. Went out with John Dory at night. It rained heavily and compelled us to return. Had long talk up the river side. Had some eggs in the farmhouse last thing.

Received letter from Ranald MacDonald saying that he is in hospital at Boulogne slightly gassed.

13 August 1917; Monday

Up at about 7 o’clock. On fatigue in the morning. Pay parade at 11 o’clock. Box respirator1 and clothes inspection at 2 o’clock. A few chaps drunk on parade and got into trouble for it. Lovely day. Had walk with Dory at night on to the top of the ridge. Had eggs for supper at the farm house.


  1. A box respirator was a kind of gas mask using  a two-piece design with a mouthpiece connected via a hose to a box filter. Two types of box respirator were used, the large box respirator (LBR), which was ultimately deemed too bulky for use by infantry, and the small box respirator (SBR). It is unclear which type of box respirator was issued to ALL although it seems likely to have been the SBR which would have been more suited for use by stretcher bearers in trenches. See also Chemical Weapons in World War I at Wikipedia. 

22 March 1917; Thursday

Up at 7 o’clock and on duty at 7.30. Kept busy all day. A bit of tension but only a few patients in. Went to Locre1 at night with Sergeant Powell and Ike Taylor at night and saw part 3 and 4 of the Somme pictures. Had a snack at the YM hall.

Gas helmet parade.


  1. Locre: now (Flemish) Loker (B), 3km SSW. of La Clytte/Klijte (A), Michelin square I3.