Gas Masks

Preparing for war

Even though war had not been declared, it seems the area was preparing itself.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Gas Masks' page

Before war started, when things were brewing up a bit, I was working in the Accountancy Department of the Merton and Morden Council. There was a question of distribution of gas masks and I and a colleague from our audit department were given a lorry full of gas masks with a big list.  We covered quite a lot of the southern part of the St. Helier Estate, issuing out gas masks. I always remember that we got a lot of stick from young mothers because at that time the government hadn’t come up  with an adequate gas mask specially for young babies and so that created some concern.  It was alright after that - the babies got their gas marks. I spent about a week on the back of a lorry dishing out gas masks to the residents of St. Helier estate close to Morden Station  - that area all round there. (Leslie Ward)

Pre-war practice

During the so-called “Phoney War”, prior to the start of air raids in the late summer of 1940, us locals were invited by  the ARP (Air Raid Precautions) people, up to Rose Hill shops for a gas attack exercise.  At the sound of a whistle, smoke canisters were let-off and we all donned our gasmasks, whilst officials dressed in shiny, gas-proof suits, wellingtons and steel helmets, came and checked whether or not we’d donned our masks properly. (Bill Mallion)

This page was added by Cheryl Bailey on 20/06/2010.
Comments about this page

I was born in Carshalton in 1938 in Shaftesbury Rd. I don't remember this, but got told by my Mother that I was one of the first baby's to wear The Mickey Mouse Gas masks. Every other baby cried when they went to try it on them, but I was the only one that would have it on. They say I was about one years old then.

By Marian Hawkins
On 14/10/2010

My brother Michael had one of them. I had a grown up gas mask.

By Dennis O'Brien
On 17/02/2015

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.