Civilian Gas Mask
Cromarty Courthouse Museum
This was one of the most iconic pieces of equipment of the Home Front during the Second World War. They were issued to every civilian by the government, designed to protect the population in the event of gas attacks.
Civilians were legally required to have their respirators within reach at all times. The mask was very basic – the air was breathed in through the filter and exhaled from the sides of the mask. Shockingly we now know that the filters from this time contained ‘blue asbestos’. Some also had a highly toxic arsenic pre-filter. Although the likely-planned Nazi chemical and biological attacks never took place on mainland Britain, many people would have practised using the masks correctly.
This respirator was the property of Margaret Reid of Braehead, Cromarty, whose name and address are on the box.