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This Meticulously researched book unearths a sixty year secret. As the Japanese swept south towards Australia in late 1941, they carried chemical weapons, already used with deadly effect in China. Forced to counter the chemical warfare threat, Australia covertly imported 1,000,000 chemical weapons - including 16 types of mustard gas - and hid them in tunnels and other sites around the country. This book 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 lack of training of the weapons handlers and, finally, the dangerous disposal of the volatile agents. Most of all, this is the story of the men who lived with the deadly weapons on a daily basis, handling them constantly despite the immense risks and suffering as a consequence. They were the Chemical Warfare Armourers and almost every armourer suffered physically and often mentally from the effects of the weapons and the terrible burden of maintaining secrecy. 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. This book is published in association with the Army History Unit and is a volume in the Australian Army History Collection.
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