Update: Sean Featherstone has kindly been in touch to help with the markings on this box and given me a lot more information about their meaning. I have updated the text below to reflect his information.
I have a lot of ammunition boxes, and I must confess I have largely stopped buying them as they take up a lot of room, and although they are useful for storing things inside there has to be a limit! Having said all that, if a nice one comes up at a good price with some interesting markings I will bend my rules and pick it up regardless…This particular box came up last week for £6 and although it is a very modern example, the markings are really interesting so it came home with me!The tin itself is an H83Mk2, this example dating from 1978 and manufactured by Radway Green:The other markings and excellent condition of the box lead me to believe this tin has been refurbished and stripped of old paint schemes and reissued. The H83 box is very common and is used for a wide variety of ordnance. The markings on the side of this box reveal it last contained 12 smoke hand grenades. The markings in the bottom left hand corner indicate the box was packed in June 2012:The markings in the bottom right hand half of the box give storage instructions with maximum and minimum safe temperatures in the square box and maximum and minimum temperatures for use in the circle, the weight of a filled box and the cubic volume of the box for transport purposes are marked below. The bottom left hand corner has the ‘Batch Key Identity’ with a mark ‘PWD’ indicating a manufacturer, ‘Pains Wessex Defence’ followed by the month, year and batch number. Similar information is displayed on the opposite side of the ammunition box:The hand written note indicates that the box has been certified free from explosives before being sold as surplus. There are extensive rules surrounding certifying ammunition boxes before they go for scrap. JSP482 explains:
The Certification Free From Explosives (CFFE) regime is applicable to all packages which have contained explosives, arisings from the firing or proofing of ammunition, munitions kept in museums or as souvenirs and displays etc, and for training aids, all arisings from breakdown and disposal of ammunition and explosives and platforms and any other equipment expected to use or hold munitions. It is also applicable to equipment used to process explosives and subsequently in need of maintenance or repair. CFFE is required when such items are to be transported as non-explosives or sent to recipients for re-cycling who, because of a complete lack of knowledge of explosives, would be at risk if explosives were to be inadvertently left in a nominally empty article or package. Those at particular risk are people outside of the MoD and those who receive items for scrap. The same regime should also be used to ensure the absence of other hazardous substances e.g. White and Red Phosphorus and CS which may be associated with the Munitions.
The lid of the ammunition box has a large warning that the smoke grenades are not to be used in a confined space:The hinge end of the box repeats the contents so they can be identified quickly regardless of how the boxes are stacked on a pallet:The nature of the ammunition tin means that the fourth side of the tin has to have the details printed on the large catch:As can be seen, for those of a geeky nature (which I am guessing is a lot of you), there is a lot of information that can be pulled off from the markings on these modern boxes. Whilst I am certainly not going to pick up loads of them, I will continue to keep an eye out for attractively marked examples.