Leeds nostalgia: Rabbiting trio in mustard gas mishap

On this day 70 years ago... three Leeds men were injured, one severely, after they tried to use mustard gas to 'smoke out' rabbits in a field near Garforth. Two soldiers and a civilian took part in the expedition near the empty East Garforth Camp on the Aberford Road.

Those injured were Raymond Kilburn, 22, of Strawberry Avenue, Garforth, Bombadier Tom Mullem, of Derry and Private Bert Young, from Garforth. But it was Kilburn who was worst hit. It transpired he had picked up a smoke bomb and it had exploded early, surrounding him in gas. He did, however, manage to return home and sleep and even get up and go to work at Micklefield Colliery, the following day.

When he was at work, however, he developed severe red blisters on his face. At first he told people he had “bumped himself” down the pit. He was sent immediately to hospital, where the truth was ascertained, his condition said to be “rather poorly”.

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