Whilst soldiers usually use mess tins when living off field rations, if they are lucky enough to have access to a field kitchen then they might use plates and cups to eat from instead. These are obviously not made of china as they are liable to be dropped or damaged in the course of daily use, so metal and then plastic have been used. Up until the 1950s the material of choice was enamelled tin plate, however the enamel was liable to get chipped and damaged over time, so this was replaced with aluminium which in turn gave way to green plastic:
The aluminium plates are actually a little deeper than standard dinner plates and so are closer to soup bowls, ideal for the standard stews and similar fare provided by the Army Catering Corps when mass feeding. The base of the aluminium plates are /|\ marked and dated 1985:
The plastic plates are made of the same green plastic as an Osprey type plastic mug and are again marked on the base, but only have a manufacturer’s logo:
These plates are unbelievably cheap at the moment, less than a pound each so they are a great little bit to add to your collection; I seem to have acquired about a dozen of these plates but they come in handy at family barbeques where they can be given to children with no fear of them being broken- kids being as heavy handed as the average squaddie!