To generations of squaddies the instructions ‘blot, bang, rub’ will be ingrained into their psyche. Part of their personal decontamination sets, every soldier was issued with a ‘Decontamination Kit, Personal’ stored in a paper wallet that folded up into a little packet about 2”x3”:When issued these were sealed in plastic to protect them and prolong their shelf life. Each wallet opens out into a long strip:Inside are four individual white packets:Each packet contains a small quantity of Calcium Montmorrillonite, a highly absorbent powder better known as Fuller’s Earth. This powder is used to soak up chemical agents and decontaminate equipment. It is issued inside a small cloth bag inside each sachet. The top of the pad is blotted over the contamination, the pad is then turned over and banged hard to release the powder and this powder is then rubbed over the area. Fuller instructions on its use are printed on the packet:These read:
1. Tear off edge of one sachet and take out pad. 2. Hold pad by inserting three or four fingers through the centre. 3. Rapidly blot area with the pad, then bang the pad on the suspect surface for about 30 seconds so as to cover the area liberally with powder. Follow this by rubbing with the pad to spread the powder over the whole area, especially into folds and creases in the skin, for example behind the ears and between the fingers. BLOT-BANG-RUB 4. Apply a similar procedure to boots, weapons and equipment using further pads where necessary. 5. Ordinary gloves should be discarded before starting decontamination. Re-decontaminate the hands repeatedly during personal decontamination, and as the last action always decontaminate the hands again. 6. Always be alert to the development of symptoms even after decontamination.
This particular packet dates back to January 1981:Since then there have been at least two further marks of this piece of equipment, although I am not aware of how they differ from one another.
Here we see a soldier carrying out his personal decontamination drills in the field: