Letter: How many British were gassed?

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The Independent Online
I WAS particularly interested in the final paragraph of Patrick Cockburn's article, 'US Navy tested mustard gas on its own sailors' (14 March) and the air raid on Bari.

As part of an RAF group en route for Naples, we stayed at a Personnel Transit Centre attached to 214 Group, Bari, arriving on 19 November 1943 and leaving on Friday 26. The air raid took place on 2 December.

In addition to the RAF, Army units would also have been stationed around the town. Gas- masks may have been standard issue in the UK but they were certainly not in the Middle East. In any case, with mustard gas you would have also needed full protective clothing. So in addition to the 1,000 civilian casualties mentioned one would like to ask how many British Service ones there were?

This incident has only come to light because of the US Freedom of Information laws. As our own are much more restrictive, would one of our Service authorities perhaps like to comment?

G Eric Townsend

Wigston, Leics