Lieutenant McNee had also examined yesterday the body of a Canadian Sergeant who had died in the clearing station from the effects of the gas. In this case, also, very acute bronchitis and oedema of the lungs caused death by asphyxiation.
A deposition by Captain Bertram, Eighth Canadian Battalion, was carefully taken down by Lieutenant McNee. Captain Bertram was then in the clearing station, suffering from the effects of the gas and from a wound. From a support trench, about 600 yards from the German lines, he had observed the gas. He saw, first of all, a white smoke arising from the German trenches to a height of about three feet. Then in front of the white smoke appeared a greenish cloud, which drifted along the ground to our trenches, not rising more than about seven feet from the ground when it reached our first trenches. Men in these trenches were obliged to leave, and a number of them were killed by the effects of the gas. We made a counter-attack about fifteen minutes after the gas came over, and saw twenty-four men lying dead from the effects of the gas on a small stretch of road leading from the advanced trenches to the supports. He was himself much affected by the gas still present, and felt as if he could not breathe.
The symptoms and the other facts so far ascertained point to the use by the German troops of chlorine or bromine for purposes of asphyxiation.
There are also facts pointing to the use in German shells of other irritant substances, though in some cases at least these agents are not of the same brutally barbarous character as the gas used in the attack on the Canadians. The effects are not those of any of the ordinary products of combustion of explosives. On this point the symptoms described left not the slightest doubt in my mind.
Professor H.B. Baker, F.R.S., who accompanied me, is making further inquiries from the chemical side.
I am, my Lord, your obedient servant,
The following announcement was issued by the British War Office on April 29, 1915:
Thanks to the magnificent response already made to the appeal in the press for respirators for the troops, the War Office is in a position to announce that no further respirators need be made.
THE “EYEWITNESS” STORY.
The following descriptive account was communicated by the British Official Eyewitness present with General Headquarters, supplementing his continuous narrative of the movements of the British force and the French armies in immediate touch with it:
April 27, 1915.
Since the last summary there has been a sudden development in the situation on our front, and very heavy fighting has taken place to the north and northeast of Ypres, which can be said to have assumed the importance of a second battle for that town. With the aid of a method of warfare up to now never employed by nations sufficiently civilized to consider themselves bound by international agreements solemnly ratified by themselves, and favored by the atmospheric conditions, the Germans have put into effect an attack which they had evidently contemplated and prepared for some time.