Somewhere in France

Somewhere in France

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sisters Sewing to Save Soldiers

According to David Parsons of the WWI-Listserve, Capt. Cluny Macpherso, RAMC, a physician from St John's Newfoundland was at St Omer the end of April 1915. At that time, he met with Professors Baker and Watson, who had been sent from the Imperial Chemistry College to learn what gas was used against allied forces and what measures could be taken to protect from future attacks. Capt. Macpherson asked an unnamed nurse at a CCS nearby to sew together material with an eye piece. This was the first "hood mask." It was tested in the chemistry room in the local school and adopted with variations for the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). By the end of 1915, more than 2 million hood masks had been sent to France before the box respirator was introduced in early 1916. It would be nice to know the nurse's name and how much input had in the design of this mask. We remember her none the less--she made a vital contribution to keeping soldiers safe from the impact of this terrible weapon.

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