Geoff Plunkett has been researching Australia’s chemical weapons history for the past 20 years and is the author of Chemical Warfare Read more about Geoff Plunkett
"Concise... chilling'' Troy Lennon, Daily Telegraph
In 1943 a top secret consignment of chemical weapons, including deadly mustard gas, arrived in Australia by ship. But there was a problem — it was leaking. Military authorities quickly realised this but, in the interests of secrecy, sent unprotected and unsuspecting wharf labourers into a lethal environment. The result was catastrophic: permanent disability and death. This shocking narrative includes accounts of official deceit, intimidation of gassed labourers and denial of natural justice. The truth, buried in classified documents and the testimony of the few survivors, is that human life was sacrificed for the sake of secrecy.
Almost 70 years after war stocks of chemical weapons were apparently totally destroyed, mustard gas is still present on the Australian mainland, in her oceans and along her coastal fringes. The total destruction of chemical stocks is simply another military assumption. The truth is that these deadly weapons were incompletely destroyed, buried or simply lost. Many retain their effectiveness despite the passing of time, a fact that cost one man his life and saw staff and children at a school badly burned. Mustard gas weapons have been retrieved as recently as 2012 and more may lie in shallow graves waiting to be uncovered. This is a very real lesson for the military of today.
Deadly effect of mustard gas in war time Australia
A BOOK exposing the deadly effect of poisonous mustard gas on unsuspecting Australians in wartime Sydney.
program remained a secret for 70 years
"It has been revealed that trials of toxic mustard gas were carried out at various sites around the country in World War II. The program remained a secret for 70 years and it has emerged the Department of Defence is still looking for old gas canisters and signs of contamination" - ABC TV 7 pm News
mustard gas must be one of the most horrific
"Of all the weapons of war, mustard gas must be one of the most horrific in its effects on the human body. When people are exposed to it, but its presence is denied because of secrecy, the results can be even more tragic. This happened in Australia in 1943 when waterside workers and RAAF trainees and ground staff were exposed to the gas over a period of time because of the handling procedures in place" - Australian Defence Force Journal Review
concise, chilling book
Plunkett's concise, chilling book is a tale of the bungling that led to that tragedy and attempts to keep our chemical weapons stores a secret" - Daily Telegraph
Death by Mustard Gas
A well researched book, with many interesting points. A thoroughly enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in military history.
Media Release - "Death by Mustard Gas - How Military Secrecy and Lost Weapons can Kill"
"This shocking narrative includes accounts of official deceit, intimidation of gassed labourers and denial of natural justice."
Book Review - The Bush Telegraph 2nd February 2015
"Mustard gas weapons have been retrieved as recently as 2012 and more may lie in shallow graves waiting to be uncovered."
Review - Inner West Courier March 26, 2015
"In 1943 a top secret consignment of deadly mustard gas arrived by ship at Glebe Island. There was a problem. Inside the cargo hold, the gas was leaking."
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