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Danny152

RE: British Rations

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Hiya,

 

I recently bought these and believe they are British and was unsure what period they are from, and what ration box they would come from, any ideas? Thanks.

 

 

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Hiya,

 

I recently bought these and believe they are British and was unsure what period they are from, and what ration box they would come from, any ideas? Thanks.

 

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]115800[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]115801[/ATTACH]

 

 

Look like they are from the ration packs from the 1950s/60s. Probably the individual ones as I seem to recall the 10 man ones had the brew packs labelled accordingly.

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They look to me like items from a one-man 24-hour ration pack of the 1970s. I may be wrong on a few details, but, if my memory serves, the 1-man 24-hour ration pack went something like this:

 

There were at least four different menus - A to D and each came in a small box - 10"x8"x6" or thereabouts. On one side of the box was printed a range card. Out of the box the contents, in their three or four bags, would fit conveniently into the mess tins in the kidney pouches. After one-man packs there were four-man packs, designed for vehicle crews and then 10-man packs designed for a section. In 10-man packs everything came in tins, even the bars of chocolate, the boiled sweets and the margarine and jam.

 

Inside the box there were three sand-coloured, strong, paper packets containing "Breakfast", "Main Meal" and "Snack" plus a small "Sundries" packet.

 

The oatmeal block was part of the breakfast menu, along with a small tin of, for example, bacon grill and another of baked beans or sausage and beans or something similar.

 

The loo paper comes from the sundries pack which would also have included a packet of book matches, tea, coffee, sugar salt and pepper and a tube of condensed - later a packet of powdered - milk, and a small tin opener. There was also an instruction sheet which included a contents list for the various menus.

 

Breakfast and main meal would have included two small tins of food and a packet of biscuits (there were three choices: plain, sweet and "biscuits, fruit").

 

In the snack menu there was a tin of "cheese, processed", invariably known as "cheese possessed", some boiled sweets, a bar of chocolate, (Cadburys at that time in a plain white wrapper - later a Yorkie bar) and some biscuits, margarine and jam in a tube. I recall greengage being popular for some reason - I think I only ever saw greengage jam in ration packs - never on supermarket shelves!

 

Main meal menus included steak and kidney pudding (known as babies' heads) a stew of sorts, there might have been chicken supreme or chicken curry and there was always a pudding - sponge pudding - treacle, fruit or jam, or rice pudding and other things - enough variety to make up a different menu for each letter used.

 

Each 24-hour pack would have been issued with an accompanying hexamine stove.

 

They were actually rather good and contained enough calories for a busy young chap enjoying a healthy and athletic lifestyle in the open air!

 

But... I am quite sure there will be someone on the forum who can tell us exactly what each contained and, no doubt, has examples of each menu in his collection!

 

10 68

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The packs I remember for the 70's had the oatmeal blocks in a green foil bag, same as the biscuits AB and the tea mix was in white paper sachets inside a plastic bag with the salt, pepper, sugar etc.

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I liked the oatmeal block, while, if one were bored, one could suck the condensed milk straight from the tube.

 

I do not remember that colour of packaging from the packs I saw, from the mid-70s onwards.

 

trevor

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The packs I remember for the 70's had the oatmeal blocks in a green foil bag, same as the biscuits AB and the tea mix was in white paper sachets inside a plastic bag with the salt, pepper, sugar etc.

 

Yes, you're probably right. I can't remember when the change occurred, whether it was in the 70s or the 80s. Change was fairly continuous, but, eventually, the 24 hour packs had changed completely with more of the contents in sachets and needing water. As I remember, that was one of the complaints at the time about the arctic rations - they needed a lot more water to prepare them. Of course, with so much snow, there was a logic to that, but, of course, the snow needed melting and that took time and heat. But, they had drinking chocolate which compo didn't at that time.

 

I recall being told by a friend of a 3-month deployment to the Gambia he did back in the 70s. When they arrived they discovered that all the 10-man packs were the same menu - they had to think up as many ways of preparing chicken supreme and rice for dinner for 3 months!

 

Having scrolled down to the bottom of this thread I now see that it brings up another, 7 pages long, from a few years ago which fills in a few of the gaps - tiffin, spangles and the apple pudding, for example. Someone mentions an Aztec bar, but I can't recall those in compo. Interesting, though, that one contributor talks about sucking the tubes of condensed milk and greengage jam - a popular pastime on the march!

 

My old mess tins are still in my webbing in the garage somewhere and they will still have my brew kit inside - including an oatmeal block - they have been in there since 1999, I think - that was about when I last wore my webbing! Don't think I wore it again for the last 15 years service!

 

10 68

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The packs I remember for the 70's had the oatmeal blocks in a green foil bag, same as the biscuits AB and the tea mix was in white paper sachets inside a plastic bag with the salt, pepper, sugar etc.

 

I seem to recall these ones in the mid 80's, then went to boil in the bag, one recollection was could never get the boil in the bag hot

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Baby's Heads yoummy!-Dropped to expensive. Chesse Possed- AKA a Candle - Dropped for humanitarian reasons. Biscuits Fruit AB- Garabaldi on Steroids- Love them. Biscuits Brown AB- Place two packets in a sock and beat something to death so you can eat anything but Biscuits Brown AB. Izal toilet paer- That sorted the men from the boys!:nut: Crush oatmeal block, mix in dried milk and sugar, add dried apple flakes- Breackfast fit for King. What was the weird little hard square chewing gum called? Edited by Tony B

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Baby's Heads yoummy!-Dropped to expensive. Chesse Possed- AKA a Candle - Dropped for humanitarian reasons. Biscuits Fruit AB- Garabaldi on Steroids- Love them. Biscuits Brown AB- Place two packets in a sock and beat something to death so you can eat anything but Biscuits Brown AB. Izal toilet paer- That sorted the men from the boys!:nut: Crush oatmeal block, mix in dried milk and sugar, add dried apple flakes- Breackfast fit for King. What was the weird little hard square chewing gum called?

 

Someone that I work with told me that he ate 17 packs of Biscuits Brown in one sitting! He must have jaws of steel! The Oatmeal Blocks in 10 man packs came in tins, I have 3 unopened tins sitting in my shed, no rust on the tins, so they are probably still edible.

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Baby's Heads yoummy!-Dropped to expensive. Chesse Possed- AKA a Candle - Dropped for humanitarian reasons. Biscuits Fruit AB- Garabaldi on Steroids- Love them. Biscuits Brown AB- Place two packets in a sock and beat something to death so you can eat anything but Biscuits Brown AB. Izal toilet paer- That sorted the men from the boys!:nut: Crush oatmeal block, mix in dried milk and sugar, add dried apple flakes- Breackfast fit for King. What was the weird little hard square chewing gum called?

 

Someone that I work with told me that he ate 17 packs of Biscuits Brown in one sitting! He must have jaws of steel! The Oatmeal Blocks in 10 man packs came in tins, I have 3 unopened tins sitting in my shed, no rust on the tins, so they are probably still edible. Was the chewing gum called PK?

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Someone that I work with told me that he ate 17 packs of Biscuits Brown in one sitting! He must have jaws of steel! The Oatmeal Blocks in 10 man packs came in tins, I have 3 unopened tins sitting in my shed, no rust on the tins, so they are probably still edible. Was the chewing gum called PK?

 

You've got 3 unopened tins of oatmeal blocks - my god man - you are RICH!! :):) If you ever want to share the wealth you know where to find us :):)

 

Biscuits AB - I loved. either on their own or with the tins of meat paste that used to come in the packs. Spent many happy hours using the army issued clasp knife digging paste out of the tins and spreading it on the biscuits whilst on watch. Biscuits Fruit AB - as Tony said, Garibaldi's on steroids - delicious!!. Invariably there was a lot of horse trading going on as different people liked differing things. I would swap the jam and the gum for the Biscuits Fruit or Babys Head whilst my mate would have sold his soul for the tins of burger and beans.

The 10 man packs - our Regimental Cook would have a No.1 burner going with - ISTR- 4 dixies on the grid. 2 of rice and 2 in which EVERYTHING (and I do mean everything!!) from the 10-man packs was emptied into followed by a tub of carry powder.

And you could always tell which of the assistant cooks was out of favour on the day - he would be the one with no eyebrows and singed hair. :cheesy: :cheesy:

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Someone that I work with told me that he ate 17 packs of Biscuits Brown in one sitting! He must have jaws of steel! The Oatmeal Blocks in 10 man packs came in tins, I have 3 unopened tins sitting in my shed, no rust on the tins, so they are probably still edible. Was the chewing gum called PK?

 

That's it! PK. Mars, at Bath Road Slough, also used to make thier 'Military' spec bars on a Wednesday Afternoon. The sugar smell was always stronger. :D

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Ha, ha - this thread has brought back some happy memories!

Agree that the packets during the '80s were a green foil (at least, the ones I saw).

Biscuits fruit (aka Biscuits dead fly) - yep, delicious. Best thing in the packs apart from the boiled sweets.

Seem to remember that the tinned meat was quite palatable if thinly sliced and fried - a half-decent substitute for bacon, first thing in the morning.

But, basically, everyone carried a small container of curry powder which made just about anything in the ration packs edible.

Only recall seeing the smaller cardboard packs with range cards printed on them.

We were always convinced that Biscuits AB stood for 'anal blockage' - couple of packets of those and you'd not need to use the toilet paper for at least a few days! :undecided:

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I have 3 unopened tins sitting in my shed, no rust on the tins, so they are probably still edible.

 

How secure is this shed, then? Do I need to bring something to distract a dog or anything? :D

 

trevor

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Ahh Biscuits Brown AB- the famous three day movement:red:. Mind you the Izal would make you very retisent anyway. A mate of mine in the Pionners was a night mare to go anywhere with. The car would end up loaded with proffed toilet rolls.

Never seen them printed but instructions for Iazal were 1. Fold sheet into triangle, 2 Tear off top of triangle, 3 Place finger through hole in top of triangle, 4 Apply as required, 5 Use remaining top of triangle to clean under fingernail.

 

A little story from WW2, Soldier goes to the Latrine, pitch dark, gropes on to the bench. Hears a companion in the gloom, followed by tinklle , tinkle tinkle, groan!. First Soldier, 'By I wish I could move like that'. Second Soldier, 'No mate you don't. That were me knife fork and spoon. :D

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One could always give one's sheet of Izal a little scrunch beforehand to give it that extra scratching power to get one through the day.

 

trevor

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I seem to recall, in the Falkland's war, Max Hastings wrote an article on a correspondent who made a mix of the 24 hour rat pack in one meal, I cant find my copy of the book where he mentioned it.

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Always room in the 58 resi pouch for a 'proper' bog roll, I found.

 

Was that supplied via any motorway services stopped at on the way to the excersie? :nono:

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How secure is this shed, then? Do I need to bring something to distract a dog or anything? :D

 

trevor

 

(sigh) The local Indian supermarket by my young lady's house once had cases of tinned Oatmeal Block, presumably bulk supply to the company that assembled the 10-man ration packs. I think I must have bought an entire case of 24 tins. :D

 

Lovely stuff, ideal for dunking in tea when camping.

 

All good things come to an end, though, and these ran out before Y2K was upon us. :-(

 

I wish they were still available, far superior to HobNobs.

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How secure is this shed, then? Do I need to bring something to distract a dog or anything? :D

 

trevor

 

Would you believe that I bought them cheap off eBay? The were advertised as "Survival Food"! Maybe I should auction a tin on here?

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Oatmeal blocks are still with us. Some, but not all by any means, of the current 1 man/day packs have an oatmeal block in them. In green foil. I'll get you the menu number next week.

 

Gordon

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Oatmeal blocks are still with us. Some, but not all by any means, of the current 1 man/day packs have an oatmeal block in them. In green foil. I'll get you the menu number next week.

 

Gordon

 

Menu 17 has an Oatmeal Block, not sure which other menus have them, I only have a list for menus 11-20. Here are some photos of 2/3rds of my Oatmeal Blocks, the other tin is in my truck and available for viewing at Wicksteed at War this weekend, look for the West Wilts MVT banner

image.jpg

image.jpg

Edited by johnwardle
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Menu 17 has an Oatmeal Block, not sure which other menus have them, I only have a list for menus 11-20. Here are some photos of 2/3rds of my Oatmeal Blocks, the other tin is in my truck and available for viewing at Wicksteed at War this weekend, look for the West Wilts MVT banner

 

Hot damn, it has been nearly 40 years, I can almost smell them thru the screen...

 

trevor

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