THE PEACE THAT WASN'T----------------Wars following the Second World War
British Rations in Malaya
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Following right on the heels of World War 2, the ration situation for British and other Commonwealth troops either already in theatre or shipping out to Malaya was a bleak one at the onset of the war, as seemingly only WW2 produced rations seemed to be available in theatre, including 24-hour ration packs (Both General Purpose and Pacific varieties- Click on the ration name for more info), jungle rations, US K and D rations and Compo rations of varying vintages.

This did not mean that troops were poorly fed, as most of the messing facilities were serving up fresh foods with great variety, however rations for field use and patrolling were in short supply.

But, within a couple of months of the realization that a very real war requiring prolonged patrols and outpost actions existed, new portable rations were supplied, and new versions of some rations were issued to troops at large.

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Among others was the re-vamped Ration, Composite, which now included a better selection of foods, in smaller portions, so as to allow troops to carry rations to the field. These rations included individual sized tins of meat products, tropical chocolates (such as Australian made Golden Roughs of WW2 fame), US and British Made mints and Canadian tinned biscuits with beverage powders, tinned fruit in smaller servings and more palatable ready to eat complete convenience dishes such as Stews and Soups. Even though many of the compo ration items from WW2 were revived on the new menus, many were packaged in smaller quantities for individual and small group feeding, recognizing the need to provide a variety of food stuff for small unit operations lasting from a few hours to weeks in the field.

Sample Items from Compo and 24-Hour Rations
50sbrit1.jpg

Late war Oatmeal tin
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Note the "CANADA" imprint on the lid

Breakfast for all of the rations in issue still came in the 3-man servings first introduced with the late-war Oatmeal, Salt and Sugar Tins. The fact that some of these were of WW2 vintage was not lost on many experienced troopers, as the Canadian late war tins were tapered. Nonetheless, overall satisfaction with rations was fairly high.
In addition to oatmeal, breaksfast generally included tinned milk, tinned fruit or sweet cakes, and meat in the form of tinned bacon, luncheon pork meat, bully beef, corned beef hash or more exotic items, such as Australian camp pie. These breakfast items were now packaged in smaller sub-units, also, and some meals actually contained personal sized containers of meat spread, which made for easy carry of some meal items even in a cargo pocket.

Breakfast Ration Tin compared to a No.2 Pistol
breakfast2.jpg
Similar tins held Sweets, Salt, Matches & Mepacrine

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