Today’s finds have a definite theme to them, chemical and biological warfare. Since the First World War this form of warfare has caused terror amongst civilians and soldiers alike- despite any real evidence that it is an effective weapon of war.
Defence Against Gas book 1935
This little book predates the Second World War by a few years, but shows that throughout the interwar period defence against Gas was taken seriously by the War Office. The title sheet within the book dates it to 1935 and the price of 1/- indicates that it was not considered restricted material so was available for anyone to purchase and read:
Included in the book are a number of official amendments and updates- indicating an ongoing effort to improve knowledge on the defence against different gases:
Most of the pamphlet is words, however there are a few diagrams, including this intriguing one of modifications to the respirator haversack to allow it to be used by cavalry:
This frightening little mechanical computer dates from the cold war and was used to determine how long soldiers could be exposed to NBC material depending on the background radiation levels. The Calculator is stored in a green cover with the title ‘CALCULATOR RADIAC No 1’, the crows foot acceptance mark and the NATO stock number 6665-99-911-011 on the front:
Inside is a mechanical calculator consisting of three discs:
Instructions on its use are printed on the back, along with the previous owners details- a WO2 Wroe employed at the Defence NBC Centre:
The Defence NBC Centre is a facility at Winterbourne Gunner in Wiltshire and is responsible for training all personnel in CBRN matters
More details on the calculator can be found here: http://calculating.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/brl-radiac-calculators-1-and-2/ according to this site my calculator dates to the late 50s or early 60s.
Pralidoxomine Mesylate Tablets
This sealed pack of tablets dates from 1975 and contains four tubes of tablets used as an antidote to nerve agent in case of an attack. It was carried by troops in their respirator haversack and was only to be opened in times of need. The outer packet gives instructions on the use of the tablets and shows they were made by Glaxo- one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies of the period- now merged into the Glaxo Smith Klein Beecham conglomerate:
This autoject pen was also carried by troops as protection against nerve agents. It is a plastic pen identical in operation to those used by allergy sufferers. Inside it Atropine Sulphate:
Around the pen is a printed set of instructions and the whole thing is secured in a plastic packet to ensure it remains protected from any damage or contamination:
The pen is dated June 1976 and the contents worked against most phosphate based nerve agents. These pens are incredibly rare as most were handed back in and destroyed. I have never come across another one. Reassuringly the contents of both this pen and the tablets are more commonly used as medical treatments prescribed by doctors, however their use here illustrates a dark and frightening time in our recent past.