“Mustard Gas Legacy”  by Celia Berrell with Teacher Notes

1 Comment



Soldiers smelled garlic;

horseradish; sulphur.

A kind of fusty

mustardy odour.

Then twelve hours later

they’d start to go blind,

get pus-filled blisters

and possibly died.


Chemist Fritz Haber

in World War One,

made mustard gas poison

worse than a gun.

This silently sneaky

chemical tool

spread crippling pain

that was very cruel.


Survivors were checked.

When blood tests were done,

most of their body’s

immune cells had gone.

They’d lost the white cells that

could turn into cancer.

Was mustard gas poison

a possible answer?


From a weapon of war

to helping the sick

this chemical cocktail

became our first pick

to fight against cancer.

A new remedy!




What I regards as an appropriate link and 4min video for this topic 



The Right Chemistry: Mustard gas and the beginnings of chemotherapy


The Bari bombing was not the key to the development of chemotherapy. That dubious “credit” goes to the 1917 mustard gas attack at Ypres.


Updated: September 13, 2019

Dr. Joe Schwarcz: Mustard gas and chemotherapy4:03


It makes for a compelling story. The Second World War is being furiously fought across Europe. The Allies finally gain a foothold in Italy and the port city of Bari becomes a critical point of entry for troops and supplies to the Mediterranean theatre. The harbour is filled with ships on Dec. 2, 1943 when Nazi airplanes drop from the clouds, their bombs raining destruction.

The SS John Harvey, an American ship carrying a cargo of 2,000 mustard gas bombs in spite of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 that banned the use of chemical weapons, explodes, killing all of its crew and spreading the gas across the harbour and town. But the clouds from which the Nazi planes emerged have a silver lining. Researchers note that the victims of mustard gas exposure have a very low rate of white blood cell multiplication, suggesting that mustard gas could also interfere with the characteristically rapid multiplication of cancer cells. And so it is that the Bari attack serendipitously leads to the development of mustard gas as an anti-cancer drug and launches the concept of “chemotherapy.” At least that is the way the story is told in numerous text books and articles.

A nice romanticized account, but the fact is that the first use of a modified version of mustard gas to treat cancer in a human was in the United States in 1942, more than a year before the Bari attack! The seminal event that gave rise to the treatment was indeed a mustard gas attack, but one that the Germans unleashed on Allied troops at Ypres in Belgium in 1917.


“A Night to be Remembered” by Toni Newell with Teacher Notes

Leave a comment



I sneaked into a toy store,

And hid in a cubby house,

There I waited patiently,

As quiet as a mouse.

Finally the lights went off,

I heard the back door slam,

I crept out of the cubby house,

And now, here I am.

I look around the many shelves,

And see a teddy bear,

He opens his eyes slowly,

They look at me and stare.

I move a little closer,

And he holds out a paw,

I put my hand out in return,

And shake his paw of straw.

Then I see Donald Duck,

He’s quacking, on the floor,

Waking up the other toys,

Which were all asleep before.

There is quite a commotion,

As Thomas blows his whistle,

Barbie struts her fashion,

The goat tries to eat the thistle.

Then lego pieces start to move,

And form a winding bridge,

Hermit and me with others,

Cross to find a quaint village.



There we come upon an elf,

Who’s dressed in green and dancing,

We all join in, holding hands,

All singing and laughing.

Now the bear starts to perform,

Then ‘Superman’ flies in,

He tries to keep us all in order,

Whilst the games finally begin.

All the animals on the farm,

Are now roaming free,

The cows and pigs and sheep and more,

Have this pent-up energy.

They start to run around the shop,

Making lots and lots of noise,

Running into the furniture,

And many other toys.

They run until exhausted,

When finally they stop,

Allowing me to hug them,

And pat their furry top.

All at once I feel I’m moving,

How can it possibly be?

I hear a voice which won’t stop calling,

I’ve been dreaming; my mum’s calling me.


Teacher Notes by Jeanie Axton

Watch the film clip below on “100 Years of Toys”


  1. Discuss the differences between toys 100 years ago and now
  2. Write a list of toys that were popular then and are popular now Eg scooter
  3. Think about your favourite toy presently
  4.  Create an Acrostic describing your toy and share with a group