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WWII BABY'S GAS HELMET, 1939
Baby's gas protection, the baby was placed inside the chamber and a flap was folded round between the baby's legs, once inside it was essential to pump fresh air inside the chamber to help the baby breathe.
Stories have been heard of mothers leaving their babies for too long without pumping, this then led to fatal consequences.
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- My father was a bit of a hoarder as were many of his generation born before World War 1. When I cleared the family home in Cheltenham in the 1990's, I found one of these in the loft in a cardboard box. It was stamped inside with "Avon 1", possibly reference to the issue area? It had been in the house since my older brother was born in 1942. My sister, born in 1938, told me it had never needed to be used, thank heavens. I brought it back to my home in Cheltenham where it has been stored in the garage ever since. Today it is joining a collection of the RAF Association in Melksham. On the outside is a metal plaque with the following inscription: "Government property. Anyone who has it in his possession is responsible in law for using care to keep it in good condition. It is to be returned to the Local Authority in whose area the possessor may be at any time either on request or when no longer required." After nearly 80 years this may be difficult.
.......... Janice Cooper, Cheltenham Gloucestershire, 13th of October 2018
- The home guard leader brought each of us a gas mask. I was 4 years old, I remember him picking up my baby sister and pushing her inside the babies gas mask. She was terrified and screamed so I hated that man on her behalf. We never needed these masks.
.......... Doris Saunders, Herefordshire, 12th of March 2015
- As a 7yr old I watch mother practising putting my baby sister in this device. I worried like mad that she would be gassed because she wouldn't have time to put her own on after looking after my sister; alternatively worrying that my sister would be gassed while mum was putting hers on.
.......... Arthur Nicol, Christchurch, Dorset. UK, 11th of April 2012