What You Need to Know: West Mercia Q&A on Firearms Licensing
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When gas was introduced onto the battlefield in 1915 (at the battle of Ypres, Belgium), it was common to use large cylinders that would send billowing clouds of gasses like Xylyl bromide and chlorine towards the enemy lines. Soldiers developed several ways to warn each other of inbound gas. Whenever the hiss of a gas cylinder or explosion of a shell was heard, a lookout would yell “gas!” to everyone in earshot. To communicate the warning up and down the lines, everything from church bells to air horns was used. Eventually, the men found that klaxon horns and wooden alarm rattles worked best. Alarm rattles were preferable because they were lightweight, easy to carry, and had a simple design. The rattle worked by whirling the device overhead, which caused a loud whirring sound. The gas alarm rattle was made primarily of wood. These alarms sometimes went missing in the trenches or were used as dry kindling for cooking fires which was in short supply. The gas alarm rattle was sometimes referred to as a ‘Policeman’s rattle’ because they were similar to those used by civilian police. Made from hardwood and 28 ½ cm in length and 5 ½ cm thick with a revolving handle *marked underneath with a Broad Arrow above 68 G and the one side ‘W.B Ltd 1918* attached to a cog also made of wood when spun, which in turn makes the rattle noise. This rattle is in remarkably good condition for its age, which has been saved from the trenches of WWI (and the cooks’ fire). The price includes UK delivery. MISC 918.