War With Poisonous Gases
The Gap at Ypres Made by German Chlorine Vapor Bombs
Reports by the Official “Eyewitness”
Dr. J.S. Haldane, F.R.S.
Dr. John Scott Haldane, F.R.S., who has conducted the investigation for the British War Office, is a brother of Lord Haldane. He is a graduate in medicine of Edinburgh University and an M.A. of Oxford and an LL.D. of Birmingham. For many years he has been engaged in scientific investigation, and has contributed largely to the elucidation of the causes of death in colliery and mine explosions He is the author of a work on the physiology of respiration and air analysis.
Professor Baker, F.R.S., who is carrying out chemical investigations into the nature of the gases, is Professor of Chemistry in the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London. He was a Scholar in Natural Science at Balliol. He has conducted important experiments into the nature of gases.
Sir Wilmot Herringham, M.D. Oxon., is a physician to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and Vice Chancellor of the London University.
Lieutenant McNee, M.B., M. Ch. Glasgow, a Carnegie Research Fellow, is assistant to the Professor of Pathology in Glasgow University and has conducted many investigations of an important character in pathology and chemical pathology.
British Expeditionary Force,
April 27, 1915.
To Earl Kitchener, Secretary of State for War.
My Lord: I have the honor to report that, as requested by you yesterday morning, I proceeded to France to investigate the nature and effects of the asphyxiating gas employed in the recent fighting by the German troops. After reporting myself at General Headquarters I proceeded to Bailleul with Sir Wilmot Herringham, Consulting Physician to the British Force, and examined with him several men from Canadian battalions who were at the No. 2 Casualty Clearing Station suffering from the effects of the gas.
These men were lying struggling for breath and blue in the face. On examining the blood with the spectroscope and by other means, I ascertained that the blueness was not due to the presence of any abnormal pigment. There was nothing to account for the blueness (cyanosis) and struggle for air but the one fact that they were suffering from acute bronchitis, such as is caused by inhalation of an irritant gas. Their statements were that when in the trenches they had been overwhelmed by an irritant gas produced in front of the German trenches and carried toward them by a gentle breeze.
One of them died shortly after our arrival. A post-mortem examination was conducted in our presence by Lieutenant McNee, a pathologist by profession, of Glasgow University. The examination showed that death was due to acute bronchitis and its secondary effects. There was no doubt that the bronchitis and accompanying slow asphyxiation were due to the irritant gas.