George Nasmith

Plot L, Lot 6
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto

Nasmith was born and educated in Toronto graduating from the University of Toronto in 1903 with a degree in philosophy. Six years later he was appointed the city’s deputy health officer, a position he retained until 1919. When the First World War broke out Nasmith went overseas with the First Canadian Contingent as a water purification and sanitation expert. While he was visiting units at Ypres the enemy released poison gas, and with his experience with water purification, Nasmith was able to identify the greenish-yellow fumes as chlorine gas. He quickly devised the war’s first gas mask by saturating a small cotton pad with hyper chloride of soda. His antidote was effective and soon masks using Naismith's remedy became part of the Allies’ equipment.
   In 1917, he was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree and the next year received a diploma of public health. During the Second World War he served in London, England as deputy national commissioner of the Canadian Red Cross. Nasmith also wrote several books including a biography of Timothy Eaton. Following a lengthy illness, Nasmith died in the military wing of Sunnybrook Hospital on November 28, 1965 at the age of 87.

Mike Filey
Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide
Second Edition Revised and Expanded

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