PUT ON YOUR MASK, YOU DAMN
“After a while I became aware of a different sound…the
dull thud caused by gas shells. A moment later and I could smell the deadly
poison. I reached for my trusted gas mask and, much as I dreaded to do so,
pulled it on. The mask is safe, but it is the most uncomfortable thing I ever
experienced. If anyone wants to know how a gas mask feels, let him seize his
nose with a pair of fire tongs, bury his face in a hot feather pillow, then
seize a gas pipe with his teeth and breathe through it for a few hours while he
performs routine duties. It is safe, but, like the deadly poison which forced
its invention, it is not sane…”
July 1918, American Medical Officer near
Chateau-Thierry, France – PUT ON YOUR MASK, YOU DAMN FOOL! at NMHM in
Silver Spring. The exhibit is on display through 2018. – National Museum of
Health and Medicine– Photo: 1918, American soldiers with gas masks – US National
A French war dog wearing a gas mask and anti-gas goggles at the military kennels at Roesbrugge, 16 May 1916.
French soldier wearing gas mask, Neuville St Vaast, January 1916.
“June 18-20 1918. Section takes gas test. Great discussion in
quarters over our cuisine. Lieut. Jamon wearing two galons today.”
In Dampleux, Aisne, France,
American ambulance driver ‘s Record of S. S. U. 585 – Photo: WW1,
France, American ambulance & truck drivers’ gas drill. La Contemporaine.
“DO NOT GO OUT THERE… WITHOUT YOUR MASK”
course, we always wore a helmet and carried our gas mask! When
in a forward position no sensible man ever permits himself to be separated from
his mask. We made it a practice not to go even from one room of the house to
another without taking our masks along and placing them in a convenient position where they could be slipped on at a
June 1918, American doctor in France – The Boston Medical
and Surgical Journal – Photo: famous photo taken 100 years ago today, in Saint Sauflieu, Somme, France.
31 1918 – We have been having some mighty warm times, but so has old Fritz… We have taken quite a number of prisoners and also some new territory.
We are having ideal weather and we sure
are making Fritz busy. I wish I could tell you of the sensations we have when
travelling through a shell torn area, the big shells exploding all around
you, etc. It will keep for a long time. We won’t readily forget
these things. The good Lord surely has been with me, as I am in good health,
and so far have escaped unhurt. I was in a gas attack, but fortunately I
was able to get my mask on in time, and only got a bit of it. Tell Mom not to
worry about me.‘
In the Cantigny sector, letter home – American ambulance driver, attached to
the 1st division.
Pennsylvanian Voices of the Great War: Letters,
Stories and Oral Histories
– Photo: WW1 American ambulance driver wearing his gas
mask from the fabulous Amherst Black Cats’ Twitter feed.
“We were each given our own gas mask – a complicated ugly thing, but an item we must keep
with us at all times… So
you see I’ll be well protected from effects of gas if I ever come into contact
WW1, France, American nurse, Helen fairchild’s
letter – We Also
Served: The Forgotten Women of the First World War – Photo: Tuesday, May 21, 1918 American nurse wearing her gas mask. – Archives du Ministere de la Culture, France.
More about American hero Helen Fairchild @ “Roads to the Great War”, also this website nursehelenfairchield.com
Indian soldiers coming over the trenches at the entrance to the gas chamber during gas training, 1918.
“March 12 1918
— A fierce barrage started at 5:30 A.M. in our secteur
all morning. At 2:00am I got a
call – the road
was filled with shell holes. mostly little ones made by gas shells. There was a
strong odor of gas. Luckily. we had just been issued our new masks. These masks
(which look just like the Boche ones) contain a wonderful new combination of
chemicals that protect against all kinds of gas. Just as I started off with 6 intoxiqués.
the shelling began again. My car was a horrid mess when they got out…”
In the Marne region, American
ambulance driver’s diary – Diary of Jerome Preston – Photo: February 1918,
France, American ambulance drivers and soldiers receiving their new gasmasks. ECPAD. See interesting photos “March 1918 – Ludendorf Offensive” ECPAD French slideshow
“We drive our Fords, and take our chance
– What care we if the worst comes – Shells, Shells, Shells!”
1918, France, American ambulance driver’s song – Incredible photo and
text from the must-follow Twitter feed “The Amherst Cats”. Mr. Hamilton tweets
the Amherst American ambulance drivers’ diaries in France, illustrated with many awesome photos.