No2 Anti Gas Ointment Jar

At the outbreak of World War 2 the British Army issued its troops with glass jars containing Anti-Gas ointment:imageThese jars are made of a glass like pot, in either white or brown, and have a pressed metal lid with details and instructions printed on the top:

imageInside the jar is a white cream:imageThis is a mixture of Chloramine-T and a vanishing cream (stearic acid, an alkali, polyol and water). The government provided information on the anti-gas ointment to troops:

Anti-Gas ointment No 2. Consists of a vanishing cream base containing Chloramine T.

It is effective against both mustard gas and lewisite. In both cases speedy application is essential, and this is of even more importance for lewisite than for mustard gas. In the case of lewisite contamination, immediate application is necessary to ensure complete neutralisation of the effects, but later applications will still mitigate the severity of any burn which may develop.

The ointment should be applied to the contaminated area in small quantities and thoroughly rubbed in until it vanishes. It should be rubbed in for at least one minute.

It is possible to use No. 2 Ointment as a prophylactic against the vapour of mustard gas or lewisite (i.e. it can be applied to the skin before exposure to blister gas vapour occurs) but it has some irritant effect if repeatedly applied, especially on areas covered by clothing. It should therefore only be used in this manner by someone who knows that he is about to enter an area where he will be exposed to mustard gas or lewisite vapour.

Since the ointment is made with a vanishing cream base containing water, it tends to dry during storage, therefore containers must be airtight and should not be opened until required for use.

There should be a filling date on the underside of the jar lid, but it is obscured on this example and I am not about to start scraping off the ointment to find it. These jars were replaced by lead tubes of ointment for frontline troops (see here), but continued to be issued to civil defence and police personnel throughout the war. Frequently early war photographs of troops have a tell tale circle visible on their gas mask haversacks where the jar is being carried:image

1 thought on “No2 Anti Gas Ointment Jar

  1. Del Sig

    The following You Tube video was of a Russian Battlefield excavation. The grave was of an German SS Soldier, at 32:31 they recover a jar of Antigas #2 from the Nazi.
    Since the West wasn’t in the business of supplying axis forces, I must assume the jar was taken from a British Soldier and given to the SS.

    Reply

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