Anti-Gas Aide Memoire

Soldiers in the Second World War received comprehensive training on gases they might encounter in wartime, how to recognise them and their immediate action drills regarding donning respirators and protective clothing. It was however recognised that this information would not be easily retained by all recruits and so printed literature was also available to support this training. As well as comprehensive pamphlets on the subject, handy little aide memoires printed on a single small square of paper were also provided that could be carried inside a soldier’s AB64 paybook and so would always be at hand to refresh his memory about what he should do.

Various different aide memoires were published over the war years, some with illustrations on them. This example from 1941 however is a little simpler and just has text. The front of the form has details on how to decontaminate both yourself and your equipment:

The rear covers the different gas alarms that might be encountered, what they mean and what action a soldier should take:

As with all British military paperwork, it is worth noting the small print at the bottom of this side that indicates that this aide memoire was printed in February of 1941 and was one of a print run of 3.5 million copies- presumably enough to equip the whole army with many hundreds of thousands spare to keep in inventory.

One comment

  1. Interesting. I often wonder what the Army did until 1983 when the comprehensive Survive to Fight manual came out. Are there more Aide Memoires like this covering the 50s to 80s period ? Was the Army more hands on with the training in those days and only adopted the NBC manuals later ? I’d ask on ARRSE but they usually mistake me for a Communist, Freemason or Journalist.

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