The British 24-Hour Ration kit (2 sets) $10

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24-hour ration kit two sets

The British 24-Hour Ration kit consisting of two sets each so you can make two complete rations.
Included are the cartons for making two boxes, together with twice all the wrappers for the components.

This kit consists of two sets.

24 hour ration (a) repro

Each box has a top and bottom part. The top part is labeled “24 Hour Ration (instructions within)” and the bottom is labeled with the bogus company name “Holland Food Co., Ltd.” with the year 1944.
There’s a strip of heavy cardboard with creases that, when folded, fits the inner circumfence of the top and bottom and is inserted in the bottom, there by forming a box with the top part serving as a lid. After filling the box, the top and bottom are secured with tape running around the sides to seal the seam.
I don’t know if this tape was made of paper or fabric. It could be either one of them. (You might use white masking tape.)
After sealing the box you should wax the whole box just like the K Rations inner carton.

There’s also an instruction sheet for the soldier on what to use for a meal and how to prepare the food. This leaflet is placed inside the box with the food items. This leaflet is copied from an original instruction sheet dated October 1943. However, I labeled it "4-44 H.F. [Holland Food] Co. Ltd." at the bottom.

24-hour ration kit assembled

What a complete ration should look like when assembled and ready to be packed inside the box. 

Included are all the wrappers for the components. The paper I used is a brown kraft paper with a PE coating on the back to make it greaseproof. The labeling is in dark blue and reads: MEAT, TEA, OATMEAL and SALT.

I included two different labels for the tea to give you a little choice. There are also five sheets of glassine paper (8” x 8”) included to wrap the three chocolate bars in, leaving two extra sheets for packaging the seperate tea blocks, bouillon cubes or the boiled sweets.

The sheet labeled SALT needs to be cut and folded into some kind of envelope. (I just realised that I printed twice the amount of SALT labels, so an extra label is included.) All the other sheets are approximately one inch oversized so to fit whatever you are using and might need a little trimming.

Here’s an interesting article about the 24-Hour Ration concerning components and their size:

24-hour ration kit filled

I based my wrappers on their size information, but find it hard to pack everything in the box… I placed the latrine sheets (one paper handtowel cut in four quarters) at the bottom. You can see the 10 biscuits stacked sideways next to the meat block.
Under the meat and tea blocks are the two oatmeal blocks placed flat next to each other. The three slabs of chocolate are placed sideways with the two packages of chewing gum and the four sugar cubes wedged between them and the biscuits. The four bouillon cubes are resting on the sugar cubes.
The envelope with salt (10 grams) is placed on top of the biscuits. The remaining space should be filled with (flat) boiled sweets, 15 to 20 pieces (about 4 ounces). The instruction sheet is placed on top of everything before the box is closed and sealed with tape and waxed.

I tried to reproduce the tea blocks but found it hard to compress them into firm blocks and even found it harder to drink the concoction. Too sweet!
For the oatmeal blocks you can use those ready-to-eat survival cereal blocks. There are no off-the-shelf dried meat blocks commercially available that I know of. The biscuits illustrated are cut down Patria biscuits. Packaging the four chewing gum tablets in cellophane is a harder job than one might think! All in all, this simple looking ration isn't quite easy to reproduce.

Introduced in late 1943, these were issued to invasion troops as a stop gap measure for the first one or two days until the larger “Compo” Rations or food prepared by the field kitchen could be issued. Two of these boxes were issued to the soldiers who were to make the Normandy landings (both seaborne and airborne troops).

24hour ration

Picture right: An official publication photo of the British 24-Hour Ration with its contends. Note the instruction sheet next to the box.

About 20 years ago I made a bunch for a friend of mine. These were printed on brown kraft cardboard and, when waxed, realy looked the part. So much so that one is on display at the Pegasus Airborne museum in Normandy! Due to frequent requests to reproduce the British 24-Hour Ration I decided to give it a go again and dusted off the one repro box I still kept all these years. (And found out that it did not quite fit the larger mess tin!)

Since originals are very rare and I don’t know anybody who has one. I based the dimensions of these new reproduction kit on the reproduction one I made years ago, info I found in books and the internet, and advice from friends. (The dimensions are approximately 5 x 6 x 2.5 inch.) These new reproductions now do fit the larger mess tin!
This time I used grey cardboard (the same I used for the K Ration cartons), but printed the outside all over with brown ink. When waxed with paraffin, they look really good, I think. See picture below.

24 hour ration (b) repro

The British 24-Hour Ration boxes. The box sealed with white tape is coated with paraffin and appears slighly darker.

eating the ration in the field 2

Although blurry, it appears that the soldier just openend a 24-Hour Ration. Photos of this ration in field use are extremely rare.

large 000000 (1) copy 224 hour ration fits repro

The contens of this ration changed little from its introduction in 1943 until late 1944 or early 1945 when the contents were changed and tinned items were added, becoming the equal of the newly introduced tinned jungle ration (pictured left).

The ration box not only fits the large mess tin, but also the carrier for the water bottle. Below is a picture of a glider trooper who appears to be carrying his 24-Hour Ration in this manner.

ration in water bottle holdder

Although almost obscured by a sunflower, the trooper holding an American "handie talkie” radio has a 24-Hour Ration secured in a water bottle carrier (indicated by the red arrow). Holland, September 1944.