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WWI. ‘Sammy’, the mascot of the Northumberland Fusiliers, was gassed during the Second Battle of Ypres which began on 22 April 1915.

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A shell explodes close to British troops at Y Wood near Hooge, in the Ypres Salient. 16 June 915.

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This group of CEF originals are from the 1st Canadian Brigade Canadian Engineers, part of the 1st Canadian Division. They are photographed in camp on Salisbury Plain where the CEF was in final training to be sent overseas. Within a few months these men were in the trenches in Flanders and in April 1915 they would be heavily involved in the Second Battle of Ypres, when poison gas was used for the first time.

Today is the Centenary of the start of the Second Battle of Ypres and a hundred years since the first use of poison gas on the battlefields of the Great War. Poison gas was a weapon outlawed under the Hague Convention but by 1915 the Germans viewed the conflict as a ‘Total War’ and that every weapon was justifiable for victory; there was also belief that the Allies had gas weapons too and it was just a matter of time before they were implemented.

A red poppy in a beautiful wild flower meadow near Boissiere-Ecole, North France | Ben Robson Hull

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