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Gas masks

First World War Audio Archive

The gas officer would always, when you had your staff parade in

Hill 62 Memorial Belgium.

the morning, he would test your, he would look at your respirators and you had to have that ticket, the little ticket.

Courtrai Memorial Belgium.

Every time you used your respirator you were supposed to mark how long you had it on, if you used it. If you hadn’t

Le Quesnel Memorial Belgium.

used it then you wouldn’t mark anything on this. I don’t remember ever putting my gas mask on. I remember one night,

Gueudecourt Memorial France.

some of our fellas put them on when we come to a dead horse, that was the only reason. I don’t remember the...

Dury Memorial France.

I remember the old one, the one that this was a respirator, you know, one that you clamped on your head with an elastic.

Monchy Memorial France.

The old one we had first, you pulled it over your head like a balaclava -- galldarn thing damn near choked you -- and you

Masnières memorial France.

had a breather in your mouth. You breathed through you mouth.

Masnières memorial France.

You inhaled through your nose and respired through your mouth. You respired through this heavily, heavy material. It was

Bourion Wood Memorial France.

something like flannelette, wool serge would probably better describe it. It was soaked in some chemical. The chemical

Courcelette Memorial France.

was pretty near as bad as the gas. The chemical was terrible.

Beaumont-Hamel Memorial France.

Well then they got this, the improved type. The ones with the goggles on, and you had two goggles here on to look out,

St. Julien Memorial Belgium.

two glasses to look out and with your breath it didn't take long before the glasses were steamed up and you couldn’t see

Canadian National Vimy Memorial France.

where you were going. Oh, they were a nuisance, but that was the first gas mask that came in.

Mr. MacLeod gives a good comparison between the original respirator and newer gas masks used by Canadian soldiers.

James Neil MacLeod

James Neil MacLeod was born on November 12, 1899. Left school to enlist in Sherbrooke, Quebec, on December 10, 1915. Mr. MacLeod was a member of the 117th Battalion in Canada and England, joining the 24th Battalion for his tour of duty in Europe. He participated in many major battles: Arras, Vimy, Amiens, Somme and Michael Offensive. He was wounded in the elbow August 27, 1918. After his discharge, Mr. MacLeod lived in Quebec, moved to New York state to work for the New York Central Railroad. Married Mae R. Mulvaney in 1927. Mr. MacLeod died June 8, 1981.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Neil MacLeod
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War
117th Battalion

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce


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