Boer War Ration Tin

Vacuum tins have been used for preserving food since 1811 and have had a major impact on how supplies for troops could be preserved, protected from damage, and delivered during times of conflict.

These tinned emergency rations contain a 4oz tin of compressed meat ration and a separate 4oz tin of compressed cocoa ration. They are soldered together with a metal strip that pulls off and separates the two rations. Each ration can be eaten straight out of the tin, or mixed with hot water to make a beef broth or hot cocoa. They are designed to sustain a soldier for 36 hours if eaten in small quantities.

There were very strict rules on when soldiers were allowed to open their emergency ration, and they would be instructed to carry the tin in their haversack and present it, unopened, at inspection. Soldiers were only allowed to open the ration tin on the order of an Officer, or in extreme circumstances.