British Army Insect Repellent

A lucky second chance offer on eBay has left me the proud owner of four WW2 era British Army insect repellent tins. The problems from malaria were well known to the British Army during World War Two, as was the part played by mosquitoes in its spread. To counter this, extensive issues were made of mosquito proof clothing and insect repellent. These metal tins are three inch long cylinders with instructions printed on the body:


On the outside a yellow label says: INSECT REPELLENT, Unscrew Cap at Sprinkler. Shake on to hand and apply to all areas of exposed skin. AVOID MOUTH, EYES AND FOREHEAD JUST ABOVE EYEBROWS. Reapply at intervals of two hours. KEEP CAPS TIGHTLY SCREWED.

At either end is a screwed on cap, identifying the sprinkling end and the refilling end:


Taking off the caps reveals a hole at the sprinkler end, and the insect repellent at the other:


These tins are not in the best condition, but they are quite rare now and I got four tins for the going price for one on the collector’s sites. I will use a couple in my 44 pattern webbing set and Indian 37 pattern set, and display the two in best condition.


      • Really? Thats nice to know. The reason I asked is because I got two of these while helping some neighbors clear out an old barn last summer, along with a lot of other old stuff. I didn’t pay much attention to the insect repellent at the time, just thought they were a cool novelty item and not something from WWII. The two I have are in quite good condition, no dents, no rust and the labels are clear with some patina. I also bought an RAF thermos flask stamped 1943, almost mint condition. I guess the insect repellents earned a better spot along with the thermos now. 🙂

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