Ypres - Mustard-Gas Burns

Ypres - Mustard-Gas Burns Ethics World War I

When Germany began to use chemical weapons, during World War I, one of the soldiers who was badly injured from a gas attack was the unidentified Canadian depicted in this photo.

He is suffering from mustard-gas burns.

The Canadian War Museum describes what happened when Canadians were impacted by these gas attacks:

Canadians Gassed in Battle

On 22 April [1915], two Canadian brigades were in the front lines, with a third in reserve near Ypres. At 5 p.m., the Germans released gas against the French 45th (Algerian) Division to the Canadians’ left.

An enormous green-yellow gas cloud, several kilometres long, drifted towards the French lines. When it rolled over their positions, French troops either suffocated or fled, their eyes and throats burning from the chlorine.

Most of the gas missed the Canadians, but the French retreat had exposed the Canadian’s left flank and threatened the destruction of the whole Allied position in the salient. General Alderson’s units shifted positions to cover the gap, but the German gas attack had torn a huge hole, several kilometres wide, in the Allied line.

From 22 April to 25 April, the Canadians fought tenaciously to defend this exposed position. Outnumbered, outgunned, and outflanked, on the 24th they faced a second, this time direct, chlorine gas attack.

The Canadians counterattacked to stall the German advance, and then slowly gave ground, buying precious time for British troops to be rushed forward.

The photo, of the Canadian soldier, is online via the Canadian War Museum.

Media Credits

Image online via Canadian War Museum.


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"Ypres - Mustard-Gas Burns" AwesomeStories.com. Apr 30, 2015. Dec 15, 2019.
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