Knacker Squaddies' Quartermaster Depot
Canadian 48-Hour & ---24-Hour Rations
Rations History and FAQ
Small Arms Historical Info
Oregon Military Museum


When war broke out, Canada was issuing the "Ration Pack, 48 Hours". This consisted of 2 boxes ("A" and "B"), each containing biscuits (10 square "Plain" biscuits in cello or wax paper wraps), two tins of meat (or fish) and assorted standard ration items, such as packets of tea, milk, sugar and sweets etc.

Even though the Canadian Armed Forces had large stocks of these on hand when war broke out, very few soldiers had actually seen one of these prior to being deployed. Due to dire fears that this style of ration was too costly to let troops eat it in peace time, virtually none were issued from depots to units in training. The large on-hand quantities of this ration would come to haunt troops later in the war, as they were issued in many cases well into late 1944 and 1945, at which point some rations had been in storage for 5 years!

When fresh this well-intended ration still was somewhat a second choice to Canucks with a preference, as it lacked any variety. Sardines, Beef or Pork Loaf were the main meat components, and with a total of 4 tins contained in a 48-hour issue, one can imagine the repetition of the items ad nauseum!

Several versions of this ration were designed and re-designed during the 1939-1943 time frame, and one can assume that the Dieppe Raiders were equipped with one or the other production run of this ration, alongside British 24-hour rations. German sources indicate that there was much variety in both quality and quantity of rations captured after the ill-fated raid, pointing at a mixed issue of both British and Canadian made 24- and 48-hour ration components.


By 1943, a 24-hour ration similar to the British issue was being issued, which again was issued in "A" and "B" sets within a 7-meal rotating menu. This 24 hour ration came in similar boxes to the British version (to include the outer carton, and Marking of "The 24-Hour Ration-Instructions within"), but differed in several aspects:

1. The ration was still issued in 2-day sets, as planning still revolved around a fixed 48-hour landing ration for troops

2. The Canadian rations came in paraffin waxed boxes

3. The meat portion of the ration was always labeled on the outside of the tin (The British 24-hour ration in many cases has no label on the meat portion, relying on the tins lacquer colour, such as rust-red for pork products, green for fowl products etc)

4. Rations could include tea or coffee (especially after fall 1943 the ratio of tea to coffee became 50/50)

5. The ration was not seen as the sole food to be issued, but rather as a short-term field ration, with supplemental items issued alongside. These normally would be one or more of the following:

       a. Additional tins of meat (generally a tin of Bully Beef or   Pork Loaf)

b. Packets of Sweets (2 ounce Boxes of Boiled Sweets, 3 ounce packs    of Caramels, or 3.6 ounce packs of Licorice candy)

       c. Chocolates (3/4 or 1.5 ounce bars)

       d. Emergency Rations (Mostly the hated gold-tin variety)

       e. Milk Chocolate Tablets (U.S. Necco wafers)

       f. Tins of prepared foods, such as 11-15 ounce meat stews, condensed soups, and varieties of hash. All of these came in war-time commercially marked tins with military overstamps.

       g. Tinned milk (condensed; both sweetened and plain) or Milk Powder

       h. Additional Tea Blocks

       i. Additional packs of Biscuits

       j. Solid Fuel Blocks or Tablets

Another addition to the rations were cigarettes. These either came in 4-piece slide packs, or as a shared issue in Tins of 20 cigarettes

Coming Soon!