HC Deb 06 May 1915 vol 71 cc1272-3
Colonel WHITE

May I ask the Under-Secretary of State for War whether protective helmets or masks against asphyxiating gas have actually been issued to the troops at the front?


I only received the notice of my hon. and gallant Friend's question when I came into the House. I might perhaps be allowed to say that originally, when the Germans first introduced gas as a weapon of warfare, we sent out one million respirators which were supplied to us originally from the Admiralty. These respirators were not found to be quite so efficacious as we desired, and they were supplemented by another form of respirator, the cotton waste, which was saturated with a solution of carbonate of soda and hypo-sulphate of soda, being held in place by a veil. That is now being used by the troops. The question has arisen whether it would not be preferable to have a helmet such as is used by fishermen, which is made of woollen material, with the spaces for the eyes, the cotton waste inside being saturated with the same solution. Dr. Haldane has again gone to the front to conduct experiments with these various materials and methods. That is really all I can say.