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War & Decline

The Home Front

Gas masks and cases

20th Century

The government issued gas masks to counter fears that the enemy would attack with poison gas. They made breathing difficult and smelt of rubber and disinfectant. To calm the fears of small children brightly coloured versions with names such as “Mickey Mouse” or “Donald Duck” were made.


The carrying cases for gas masks became a fashion statement, with those made of fur particularly desirable. Special spectacles were worn underneath gas masks.


Gas masks were never needed.

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
(left) DUMFM:1980.138, (centre) 1985.2.10
Digital Number:
Dumfries & Galloway Council