TO CATALOGUE              

CHEMICAL WARFARE IN AUSTRALIA

A HISTORY OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN AUSTRALIA

GEOFF PLUNKETT

 

This book is published

in association with the

Australian Army History Unit

 

[see below for reviews]

 

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 HARDBACK

2008

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      This meticulously researched book unearths a  sixty-year-old secret. As the Japanese swept south towards Australia in late 1941, they carried with them chemical weapons, already used with deadly effect in China.

     Forced to counter the chemical warfare threat, Australia covertly imported around 1,000,000 chemical weapons – including sixteen types of mustard gas – and hid them in tunnels and other sites around the country.

       Plunkett tells the story of the importation, storage and ‘live trials’ of the deadly weapons. It reveals details of the chemical warfare agents themselves, Australia's retaliatory plans, the involvement of the USA, the training of the weapons' handlers and, finally, the dangerous disposal of the volatile agents.

      Most of all, this is the story of the chemical warfare armourers, who lived with the deadly weapons on a daily basis, handling them constantly despite the immense risks and suffering as a consequence. Two men died from mustard gas exposure.

 

     This remarkable book contains over 300 photographs – many taken surreptitiously – that illustrate all too starkly the conditions and the danger to which these men were exposed. This is  an unprecedented visual history.