Chemical Warfare in Australia


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New Book: DEATH BY MUSTARD GAS to be released soon by Big Sky Publishing


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During World War II Australia held close to 1 million individual chemical munition weapons, at least 16 different types of mustard gas, some 35 types of chemical weapons at 14 major storage depots.



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Photo top:  Royal Australian Air Force Chemical Warfare Armourer ‘sniper’ crew. With 0.303 rifles in hand they are undertaking the disposal operation of 250 lb phosgene bombs at No. 19 Replenishing Centre, Talmoi, Queensland. Phosgene is venting from a bomb middle right and a gas cloud forms. A mustard gas storage shed (also for 250 lb mustard filled bombs) is seen behind the armourers. The phosgene bombs were stored in specially built concrete igloos. One can just be seen to the left of the tree (in the distance). Two armourers (Kevin Garr and Noel Stoneman) were overcome by phosgene, the deadliest of all chemical warfare agents during this operation. Back, Left to Right: Flight Lieutenant Trompft, Tom Faram, Ian Bond, Front, Left to Right: unidentified (Neil Brown?), Frank Burkin and Jack Ennor. © RAAF Chemical Warfare Armourers


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Photo bottom:  Royal Australian Air Force Chemical Warfare Armourers, the ‘Mustard Gas Men’ at Glenbrook cutting atop Chemical Special No. 6 drums filled mustard gas. They are close to the tunnel entrance where the drums were stored and have been dragged out for maintenance. When photgraphed the drums are in ‘bond’, a settling period after maintenance. These drums were used to fill 65 lb bombs (essentially 4 gallon kerosene cans). The storage and transport crates are seen to the right and under Arthur Blackwell. Doug Bain, another Glenbrook armourer has his named graffiteed on the wall. Left to Right:  'Tiny' Waterman, Mark Williams, Geoff ‘Tassie’ Burn, Les Parsons, Arthur Blackwell and Alan Jack.  August 1944. © RAAF Chemical Warfare Armourers


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