You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

Anti-gas precautions in Glasgow (clip)

World War II training film

  • Print All


Widespread gas attacks were feared at the start of the War, so procedures were practiced to deal with them. In this chilling film, emergency services are seen in action as the alarm is raised for a ‘gas raid’. Created for training for Air Raid Precaution wardens, this film shows how to prepare for the possibility of German chemical bomb attack on British cities by neutralising the chemicals and treating contaminated victims. This clip includes air raid wardens in protective clothing, gas masks raising the alarm and putting up signs and The Gas Identification and Decontamination Squad arrives at the scene of the attack. They identify the type of gas by laboratory tests as Mustard Gas and treat the surrounding area streets with a chemical (possibly soda ash or lime) to neutralise the deposits. The squad then moves off and the all-clear is sounded.

Questions & Activities


  • What type of threats are they preparing for?
  • Why are they dressed as they are?
  • What is mustard gas and when was it first used?
  • What is the white powder and why are they using it?
  • Why are they paying particular attention to their shoes?
  • How real was the threat of gas attack?


Compare these preparations to the types of exercises done today to prepare for terrorist attacks. Does a gas attack still pose a threat today?

In the history of warfare, when did civil populations become targets? Research the history of this phenomenon.

Research the different types of gas and why some gases are harmful. How can these gases be neutralized?

Relate the fears expressed in this footage to the painting 'Gas Attack' by John Singer Sergeant and 'Guernica' by Pablo Picasso.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-029-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0157
Date 1942
Genre Documentary, Drama Doc, Training Film
School Subject Social Studies, History, Social History
Subject Matter World War 2, Community involvement, Citizenship
Who B.H. Humble (filmmaker), Glasgow Civil Defence Emergency Committee (sponsor)
Where Glasgow
Event World War II
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 5:31
Film Length 10:00