Soldiers have long purchased their own variations on pieces of army equipment. These private purchases change over time with fashion, operational need and sometimes the military procurement system sees a popular commercial idea and decides to copy it for official issue. Tonight we have a modification to mess tins that seems to have been very popular in the 1980s and then lost some of their appeal again. In the 1980s many soldiers purchased special lids for their mess tins. These clipped onto the larger pan of a mess tin set:The mess tin underneath was unaltered:This example is dated 1985 and has the /|\ mark indicating it was army issue:The lid had a small wire handle on the top:This slid out to allow the lid to be used as a small frying pan:The handle is riveted to the main lid section with five rivets that have been ground flush. The only markings on the lid are ‘MTL/3036 PAT-PEND’:This lid served a number of purposes. It was lighter and rattled less than having the issue small second pan inside the larger mess tin. It acted as a lid to the main mess tin to speed up boiling over a hex-cooker and it could serve as the aforementioned frying pan. Apparently a non-stick version was also produced that made it easier to clean up after frying something on it. Similar designs are still for sale and BCB offers a non-stick example in their online catalogue.
One soldier outlines some of the benefits of the lids:
The lids were a “must have” speeds up the boiling time massively and you can leave them on with the water inside to keep it warm at last light so your mucker can have hot scoff and a brew as he comes off stag.