British Bobby Released Tear Gas?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Gage, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    On the Home Front I was reading today that the Police would release tear gas to test that the public were carrying and ready to use their gas masks. :huh:Is this true? And anybody got any instances?
    Thanks, C.
     
  2. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    Well if they had gas mask then whats the point of letting of Tear Gas, they would just put the Gas Masks on
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    What I HAVE seen is film of Home Guard training exercises on unclosed public streets that involved the use of tear gas...

    I would love to be contradicted, but if this ever happened - that the Police released it - I would assume it stopped again once the first blinded pedestrian or toddler had walked in front of a bus!
     
  5. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Well if they had gas mask then whats the point of letting of Tear Gas, they would just put the Gas Masks on

    To make sure the public were not only practiced but also compliant? :mellow:
     
  6. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Back on the question, this is claimed to be a tear gas test at Richmond:
    In Pictures: gas mask gallery - Telegraph


    [​IMG]
    World War 2: A gas exercise for civilians, using tear gas, was held in Kingston-On-Thames. 1941.


    Thanks A. This wonderful picture is the answer.
     
  7. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    I recall my father telling us when we where kids that they had to go through an air raid shelter filled with gas as part of their training.

    The interesting thought is was it tear gas or something a bit more dangerous
     
  8. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    I lived in south London during the war and never saw tear gas used to train the home guard in public areas. Still I wont say that it never happened in some areas but I never saw it or heard of it.
     
  9. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Perhaps different parts of the country, used different means of training their people to use the gas masks.

    Found this in, Norfolk in the second world war by Neil R Storey.

    Norfolk constabulary had recently been issued with a gas van and had appointed an Inspector who commenced training with volunteers from Norwich City Council. The van was equipped with a chamber to pass through wearing a gas mask to enable people to experience exposure to gas
     
  10. Ednamay

    Ednamay wanderer

    In the summer of 1941 I went shopping one afternoon during the summer, so it must have been during the school summer holiday.
    The cardboard boxes for gas masks did not stand up well to being carried everywhere, everyday, so most people bought leatherette covers or sewed or knitted their own; the problem was, could you get access to your mask quickly and easily?
    The answer was no. As far as I remember, there was no warning of the tear gas test, unless it was in the Portsmouth Evening News and we hadn't seen it. The first we knew was when a van travelled along Kingston Road, broadcasting a warning to put on our gas masks.
    My mother and I could not easily dispose of shopping and handbags to free our hands to open the gasmask covers and cases, consequently we got whiffs and our eyes started to stream and our throats and noses to itch so we coughed and snuffled. We moved into the shelter of a shop doorway where the situation was worse, because there was no breeze to move the gas on and away.
    Altogether, it was an extremely unpleasant experience, and we had sore throats and sore eyes for several days.
    So, yes, there were tear gas trials during the war, and not just for the Home Guard.

    Ednamay
     
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  11. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Attached Files:

  12. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    In the summer of 1941 I went shopping one afternoon during the summer, so it must have been during the school summer holiday.
    The cardboard boxes for gas masks did not stand up well to being carried everywhere, everyday, so most people bought leatherette covers or sewed or knitted their own; the problem was, could you get access to your mask quickly and easily?
    The answer was no. As far as I remember, there was no warning of the tear gas test, unless it was in the Portsmouth Evening News and we hadn't seen it. The first we knew was when a van travelled along Kingston Road, broadcasting a warning to put on our gas masks.
    My mother and I could not easily dispose of shopping and handbags to free our hands to open the gasmask covers and cases, consequently we got whiffs and our eyes started to stream and our throats and noses to itch so we coughed and snuffled. We moved into the shelter of a shop doorway where the situation was worse, because there was no breeze to move the gas on and away.
    Altogether, it was an extremely unpleasant experience, and we had sore throats and sore eyes for several days.
    So, yes, there were tear gas trials during the war, and not just for the Home Guard.

    Ednamay

    Thank you for your reply. Must have been very distressing.
     
  13. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    There seem to have been a number of these exercises in the spring and summer of 1941, perhaps indicating intelligence reports of the possibility of attacks on SE England? Some reports from The Times:

    Feb 18th 1941

    [​IMG]

    April 1st 1941

    [​IMG]

    There were also exercises at Esher and East Molesey (both April 5th), Westminster (April 8th) and a "surprise test" in Brighton (April 15th). The May 31st Richmond "attack" as pictured above was centred on George Street.

    This was big one! June 9th:

    [​IMG]

    All this seems to have been in connection with the distribution of a Ministry of Home Security leaflet called "What To Do About Gas" in mid-April 1941.

    The tests continue into 1942, but prior announcements are more sporadic and less specific, presumably to ensure people carried their gas masks at all times?
     
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  14. Ednamay

    Ednamay wanderer

    Thank you for your reply. Must have been very distressing.

    Yes, indeed, for me it caused nose and throat problems for some time.

    My mother and I had only recently returned from evacuation, my mother having had a nervous breakdown. For her, the experience was life-disturbing; for a very long time, she was not able to leave the house without me or a neighbour to accompany her, and the siren caused her to have a panic attack, so that we had to be evacuated again until she recovered. Eventually we returned to Portsmouth in 1942 and lasted out the war.

    Edna
     
  15. cmp

    cmp Member

  16. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Found this one mentioning a gas test van:

    BBC - WW2 People's War - Wartime in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, 1939-1946

    I've also read of tear gas being released in a cinema in Middlesborough on a saturday morning for a "test", which I thought was on the fantastic North East Diary site by Roy Ripley and Brian Pears but I can't quite locate it now:

    North-East Diary 1939 - 1945

    Thanks for posting. Just to copy here.

    Wartime in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, 1939-1946

    by David Dulson

    'We had a couple of visits by the gas mask test van, over the next 12 months, all of the people in the area were told to attend, to have their gas masks checked, they then had to go into the van, where the doors would be closed and tear gas would be released, we then had to stay in there for about 5 mins. to see if they were working o.k., the children thought this was great fun, afterwards the men would let us go into the van without our masks on, to see how badly the effects of the gas was on our eyes.'
     
  17. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    I've also read of tear gas being released in a cinema in Middlesborough
    I think that was more likely the work of the IRA. During 1939 there were several tear gas and magnesium bombs let off in cinemas: I've found reports in The Times of this happening in Liverpool, Birmingham and London, but all in the first half of the year. Later incidents might have fallen foul of the censor, especially after August.
     
  18. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    On the general subject of the potential for the use of tear gas by the British during ww2, there is this brief ref. (below) in the war diary of the SRY... (nb.it seems to relate to training tactics rather than referring to actual engagements)

    8th May 1942 (Egypt)

    At 1730hrs two forces, PLAYFORCE under Maj Player and LAYFORCE under Maj Laycock, each with two full tps of Stuart tanks and a representative sqn of Grants, proceeded on a scheme. On reaching their respective leaguering areas, each force sent out patrols to locate each others' leaguers. Some short engagements took place between the Stuart tps. At night, tank hunting patrols were sent out by both sides, but not much damage was done.

    PLAYFORCE scheme of breaking the Hague Convention and resorting to chemical warfare fell through, owing to the non-arrival of the tear gas bombs!
     
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  19. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Tear Gas was used in Northern Ireland during the early days of the unpleasantness over there. It was soon discontinued though because it could not be controlled and it seeped into homes and caused horrendous problems for infants and small children...also the wee w*nkers doing the rioting would simply kick the cannisters back and at the troops and and gas-up the line. Bottom line, its used caused more problems than it solved and it's tendency to drift everywhere was a major factor in its withdrawal from use. I'm pretty sure they learned the same lessons back in the 1940's when they thought they were being clever. Be interesting to see how many small children were admitted to hospitals with respiratory problems in the aftermath of these 'tests'.
     

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