Fears of gas attack
Gas had been used with terrifying effects in World War One by both sides. In the end, no gas attacks took place in the air raids, but everyone had been issued with gas masks, and carried them in case of danger. Children and babies had their own 'styles'. A set of cigarette cards of the time suggested a method of making a door safe. One wonders how effective this would have been.
The next three recollections are from The War Years, and are used with permission)
Maureen McCusker (from Dolphin Lane school)
A cardboard box holding a gas mask was a necessity. We had to hold them up after registration and a handkerchief in the other hand – much importance was put on having a clean hanky – sometimes even pinned to our jumper.
Eunice Essex (née Nicolle)
I remember we attended school either mornings or afternoons and we were encouraged to wear our gas masks. My sister Brenda was seven and she hated it. She would not put it on if she could get out of it. I remember how horrible and smelly they were – like very strong rubber. Younger children had masks like Mickey Mouse.
Margaret Linforth (née Manning)
When the war first started we didn’t have to come to school for a few weeks. Then we must remember to bring our gas masks and we must wear our ‘Identity Tags’ round our necks!!
Information from a set of Churchman's cigarette cards by Peter Risbey