We have looked at some of the different designs of mess tins used by British and Empire forces before, but tonight we are looking at another distinctive design. From the very start of organised warfare it was obvious that mounted troops needed very different equipment than that provided to infantrymen. Horses move at much higher speed and with a violent motion that would cause anything not securely fastened to the rider or the horse to fly off in short order. To this end, equipment designed for cavalry has to ensure it can be strapped down securely and this can be seen in tonight’s Cavalry pattern mess tins.
The tins themselves are circular rather than the ‘D’ shaped or rectangular shape adopted by the rest of the regular army:
The design was adopted long before the formal recording of items in stores codes and lists of changes in the 1870s and was to continue in production into the Second World War. There is a wire handle to help hold the tin which folds over to fit snuggly inside the tin:
The number indicates that the tin was issued to someone who’s number was in the block allocated to the Royal Signals. Although designed for cavalry it appears these tins were issued to other non-infantry units, with examples seen in use by the artillery, engineers etc. The RAF also made extensive use of this pattern of mess tin. Even after the end of the widespread use of cavalry, much of their equipment continued in use with the ‘service’ branches who were always a lower priority for reequipping with the latest kit.