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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gas attack in Burslem

Arnold Bennett's Journal - Wednesday, February 14th, 1917 London, Yacht Club – I met Dr Shufflebotham (Stoke) and went with him to the Palladium (where the entertainment was awful). He told me one of the principal poison-gas factories was in Burslem. He said they had gradually learned the effect of the gases on the Germans by the effect of gases on their own workpeople, over half of whom had been on compensation during the past year. He told a funny tale of how in the early days there was a massed band Sunday fête (semi-religious) in Burslem Park, to which all the children in white came after Sunday School. Children began to cry. People said it was symptoms of whooping cough. Then  to cough. Further symptoms. Then adults began to cry and cough. Word went round at once, gas escaping from a factory. Every one fled from the park. Bandsmen dropped their instruments. Two of them met at gate. ‘Bill, where’s tha bloody drum?’ ‘It’s where tha bloody cornet is, lad.’

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