MAKE A MODEL GAS MASK
Why did people carry gas masks with them in Australia in World War Two?
On 19 February 1942 Darwin was bombed for the first time by the Japanese. An invasion seemed likely and people prepared themselves for the possibility of bombing raids on all Australian cities. Air raid shelters were built in all cities and towns and gas masks were issued just in case the Japanese used chemical weapons. Although the Japanese bombed or shelled places as far south as Learmonth in Western Australia and Sydney in New South Wales, no chemical weapons were used and the Australian population never needed to use the gas masks. You can read about the development of the gas mask and view some pictures at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_mask
Why did people fear that chemical weapons might be used in World War Two?
Chemical weapons were used in Europe in World War One and people feared they would be used again in World War Two. In September 1917 the German Army first began using chemical weapons against the opposing British, French and other allied forces. Mustard gas was the most deadly of all the poisonous chemicals used during the war. It was almost odourless (could not be smelt easily) and took 12 hours to take effect. It was so powerful that only small amounts needed to be added to weapons like high explosive shells to have devastating effects.
What was it like to be a victim of mustard gas poisoning?
Your skin blistered, your eyes became very sore and you began to vomit. The gas caused you to have internal and external bleeding and attacked your bronchial tubes (which you use for breathing). You would experience extreme pain and probably have to be strapped to your bed. It would take you four or five weeks to die. If you survived, your lungs would be permanently damaged making it difficult for you to lead a normal life afterwards. You can find out more information about mustard gas and view some photographs at http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWmustard.htm
Now that you know about why gas masks were important to people in World War Two, gather your cardboard, bubble wrap and elastic and follow the steps below to make a model gas mask.
How to make a model gas mask
Materials - You will need the following to make your mask: