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Brake Third coach No. 3307 converted into a mobile cleansing unit, 1941

Brake Third coach No. 3307 converted into a mobile cleansing unit, 1941


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Filename: 72.jpg

Size: 2934 x 2096 (1.2MB)

Date: 28th February 2014

Source: STEAM Museum of the GWR

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Brake Third coach No. 3307 converted into a mobile cleansing unit, 1941

The fear of gas attack was of paramount concern during World War II, as demonstrated by the mass issuing of gas masks prior to the outbreak of war in 1939. One of the responsibilities of the ARP services was to lead the decontamination and cleansing process in the event of such an attack. Mobile cleansing units were made available to the ARP service to clean people who had been exposed to gas attack, and in July 1941 the GWR converted Brake Third coach No. 3307 into an ARP Cleansing Unit for this purpose. The van was equipped with an air lock leading to an undressing room, showers, and further along the vehicle, a dressing room stocked with fresh clothing. As can be seen in this photograph, the windows were completely blacked out and they were also made to be blast proof. This was one of 47 such units converted by the major railway companies, which were stationed at strategic locations for immediate dispatch to any station or rail depot where they were needed

STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway

Media ID 19938881

Air Raid World War 2


FEATURES IN THESE COLLECTIONS

> Carriages and Wagons > Passenger Coaches > Passenger Brake and Composite Brake

> Carriages and Wagons > Passenger Coaches > Third Class Carriages

> The Railway at War > Second World War

> The Railway at War

> Swindon Works > Carriage and Wagon Works

> Swindon Works


EDITORS COMMENTS
This print showcases the remarkable transformation of Brake Third coach No. 3307 into a mobile cleansing unit during the tumultuous year of 1941. In an era overshadowed by the fear of gas attacks, this converted coach served as a vital tool in safeguarding lives during World War II. Gas masks were issued en masse prior to the outbreak of war in 1939, highlighting the paramount concern for protection against chemical warfare. The ARP services shouldered the responsibility of decontamination and cleansing processes in case such an attack occurred. To fulfill this crucial role, mobile cleansing units like this one were made available to swiftly clean individuals exposed to toxic gases. The GWR ingeniously repurposed Brake Third coach No. 3307 into an ARP Cleansing Unit, equipped with essential facilities for effective decontamination procedures. Featuring an air lock leading to an undressing room, showers, and further along the vehicle, a dressing room stocked with fresh clothing – all meticulously designed to ensure thorough cleaning and restoration. Intriguingly captured in this photograph is the complete blackout treatment given to its windows and their blast-proof reinforcement – clear indications that safety was paramount even within its confines. It is worth noting that major railway companies converted a total of 47 similar units stationed strategically at key locations for immediate dispatch whenever needed at any station or rail depot across Britain. This powerful image serves as a poignant reminder of how innovation and adaptability played pivotal roles in protecting civilian lives amidst wartime adversity.

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