For many decades the standard way for a soldier to heat his rations in the field or boil some water for a brew was to use the folding hexamine cooker. Hexamine was a solid fuel that burnt easily and generated enough heat from a small block to boil a mess tin’s worth of water. The stove that is was used with was a small brass folding design and it is one of these we are looking at tonight. The stove comes wrapped in a grease proof type paper to protect it whilst in storage:The front of the paper is printed with details of the contents:Whilst the rear shows how to use the stove:Once unwrapped the stove is a small brass box:The ends fold down to lift the main burner plate off the ground, and provide points for the mess tin to rest on above the flames, the box of hexamine is visible stored inside:With the box removed it can be seen that the burner has holes in its base to encourage airflow to allow the hexamine tablets to burn:The hexamine itself is provided in a small waxed cardboard box (that can be used to help light the blocks). The top of the box warns to use the fuel in a well ventilated area:This is wise advice as hexamine is made from various noxious chemicals including formaldehyde which you do not want to breathe in!
The rear of the box gives more detailed instructions on using the cooker:The manufacturer of the hexamine has marked their name on the edge of the box:Here troops can be seen boiling water using a hexamine cooker:As ever ARRSE has a wonderfully irreverent take on hexamine:
Top stuff. Don’t be fooled. Buggering around with gucci petrol stoves is simply not worth it unless you are some kind of mountain warrior.
Hexy is a slang abbreviation for Hexamine, a kind of solid fuel which allegedly (according to the powers that be) burns cleanly and leaves no residue or ash.
Hexamine, given enough encouragement, will burn, releasing copious amounts of noxious fumes, its true there is no ash or residue left on the ground, this is because the residue has migrated to your mess tin, which is now coated in thick immovable black goo.