P59 Ammunition Box

Regular readers will know I have quite a lot of ammunition boxes! Tuesday’s market brought up yet another one:imageThis has been painted silver at some point so I need to strip it down and repaint it in service brown. The markings on the top date it to 1942:imageAnd indicate it is a P59 box:imageThese boxes measure 19.15”x7.85”x8.5” and were used for carrying a number of different items:

25-pr. Q.F. gun Shell, H.E.

Number Packed: 4

Gross weight: 115 lbs

25-pr. Q.F. gun Shell, Chem

Number Packed: 4

Gross weight: 96 lbs

25-pr. Q.F. gun Shell, Smoke

Number Packed: 4

Gross weight: 104 lbs

Grenades No. 68

Number Packed: 17

Gross weight: 50 lbsbBomb, hand incendiary 1 1/4-lb

Number Packed: 24

Gross weight: 46 lbscThe box lid is secured by two wire clasps:imageThe rubber grips on the handle are indicative of early production runs of ammunition boxes:imageIn this image the P59 boxes can be clearly seen as Female worker Pauline Renard stencils a case of 25-pounder shells ready for shipment at the Cherrier or Bouchard plants of the Defense Industries Limited. “July 1944 Montreal, Quebec:

aThese boxes are very easy to restore, I attach a wire brush to my drill and remove any loose particles, before giving it a coat of paint (always a messy job). I will update with further pictures when this one is looking a little less dishevelled.


  1. Can anyone offer an explanation for the asymmetric pressing in the lid of this box? Was this shaped to accommodate a particular type of munitions or for stacking perhaps?
    For the repaint what is the correct shade of brown and the finish (gloss, silk, matt etc.)?

  2. I have no idea why the lid is the shape it is sadly. As for the paint, I use service brown in a Matt finish. I can’t remember the RAL number, but it’s easily available. I don’t know if they were Matt during the war as all of mine have been repainted before I got them. It was semi-gloss post war as I have a few 60s and 70s boxes in a satin finish.

  3. I recently found 7 of these ammo boxes in Montreal 1942 and 45 still have the Brown paint some have heat liners so far in researching them you had the best description of them .Any idea of how much they are worth in today’s market.

  4. Thanks! First google hit when searching! . Got a 1945 dated one at the bootsale today for £2 – Didn’t know what it was – but you do!

  5. Thanks for the read. I just found one on a junk heap (P59, 1939, with hessian handles). So I picked it up, and brought it home.

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