With other events in the headlines we missed this:
I think the rest were dumped off Stranraer in the 1950s. My father saw a lot of RAOC guys with terrible blister wounds at the time. Both legs completely blistered out was one he described to me.Britain has successfully destroyed its holdings of old chemical weapons, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram announced at the Imperial War Museum London on Tuesday 27 March 2007.
To demonstrate these weapons have been consigned to history, Mr Ingram presented a commemorative chemical weapon shell from the Second World War to the Museum for inclusion in its permanent collection.
Behind him was the 1918 painting, Gassed, by John Singer Sargent, which depicts the horror of the use of chemical weapons in Word War I.
The recent attacks by terrorist insurgents in Iraq using improvised chlorine explosive devices serve to demonstrate again the terrible effects on humans if toxic chemicals are used to kill or maim and underline the need to take these weapons out of circulation once and for all.
The presentation highlights that Britain has met its obligation under the Chemical Weapons Convention to destroy its holdings of old, unusable weapons by April 2007. In total 3,812 old chemical weapons have been safely destroyed at a cost of Â£10 Million.
If further small quantities of such weapons are unearthed in the future, they too will be destroyed. Britain gave up its offensive chemical weapons capability in the 1950s. Mr Ingram said:"The OPCW is grateful for the United Kingdom's strong and unwavering support of the Organisation in its mission to eliminate chemical weapons forever through the effective application of the Chemical Weapons Convention by every nation."
Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
"Today marks another landmark for our efforts to rid the world of these terrible weapons. We have met our obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and destroyed our old chemical weapons holdings ahead of schedule.
"The shells have been beyond military use for many years but destroying these heavily corroded and unstable weapons is a dangerous and challenging task. Our Armed Forces bomb disposal teams and the technical experts at Dstl Porton Down who undertake this task deserve our praise and thanks.
"Our goal is a world without Chemical Weapons and so we call upon all states to abandon their chemical weapons programmes and destroy their stockpiles, including legacy weapons."
The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, said:
"The United Kingdom has long been an effective and committed advocate and implementer of the global chemical weapons ban. The OPCW is grateful for the United Kingdom's strong and unwavering support of the Organisation in its mission to eliminate chemical weapons forever through the effective application of the Chemical Weapons Convention by every nation. We commend the United Kingdom on meeting this obligation to destroy old chemical weapons in exemplary fashion."
Since the Chemical Weapons Convention came into force ten years ago on 29 April 1997 Britain has played a leading role in helping achieve its aim of banning all chemical weapons.
To date, 182 states have signed up to the Convention, and some 2.67 million munitions have been destroyed. Only 13 states have yet to join the Convention - Libya joined in 2004, and Iraq intends to join in the near future.
The CWC has an effective verification regime and weapons inspectors have carried out over 2,800 routine inspections in 77 countries to date, including our old Chemical Weapons destruction facility at Porton Down in January 2007. This clearly builds confidence in the treaty.
The UK also plays a key role in the G8 Global Partnership which is helping Russia destroy its stockpile of Chemical Weapons. By implementing construction and procurement projects worth over Â£70M, Britain is directly helping to eliminate over 40,000 tonnes of chemical warfare agent which in the wrong hands would pose a real threat to security both in Russia and the rest of the world.