Odd little tins which are clearly British Army crop up every so often and once purchased, the fun part is working out what they were designed for! One such tin came my way from a friend a few months back and although clearly of British Army origin, the markings did not make a lot of sense at first:
The tin itself is a little larger than a tobacco tin, with an angled lid that is hinged along the long side. Opening it up the interior has two pieces of foam rubber padding on the base and lid:
The base of the tin indicates that this is an ammunition container L404A1 and that the tin was manufactured in 1971:
The SV509A stamp indicates that it is something to do with ordnance. Looking on line it became clear that this tin was used for a number of different purposes, so the stencilled markings on the front might be of more use. The side of the tin is marked up with its original contents:
My research led me to realise that this text means the box held a “Firing Device Kit, Demolition, Grip” and this particular example was packaged in March 1973. Ammotechxt on the BOCN forum explains what was inside:
Each tin contained a plastic, self-cocking switch (the `grip switch’) and four flash initiators. Normally used with safety fuse threaded into each flash initiator, the grip switch would be screwed onto the flash initiator and used to fire the flash initiator, then unscrewed and attached to the next flash initiator and so on. The safety fuse was not packaged with the kit. The main advantage of the grip switch / flash initiator method is that it keeps the safety fuse waterproof.
These L41A4 tins were often packaged into a larger H83 ammunition box, fifteen of them fitting into the outer container. I have done some digging and come across a more recent version of this device online which explains further what the original contents would have looked like and how they were used: