Railway worker wearing gas mask, 1939-1945.
© National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library -- All rights reserved
At the beginning of WWII there was considerable fear of poison gas attacks so respirators, popularly known as 'gas masks', were isued to every civilian. Railway workers were given heavy duty respirators, as their work put them at greater risk during air attacks. This driver, who demonstrates the wearing of a respirator, leans from the footplate of a Great Western Railway 'Castle' clas locomotive. Steel helmets or 'tin hats', like the one he wears, were also standard isue.