Foot powder was, and remains, an essential piece of equipment in the care of feet in the field. Feet that are wet for long periods of time start to rot and can become incredibly painful. Foot powder is used to help dry out the feet before clean dry socks are put on and the boots replaced. This footcare regime was well recognised by World War II and men carried small 1 1/2oz or 2oz tins of footpowder in their haversacks.
As well as these small tins of footpowder, larger examples were also provided, presumably for communal use. These took the form of a large cardboard cylinder with pressed metal ends to contain the powder within:
This example was produced by Boots in February 1940, as evidenced by the small label pasted to the outside of the tube:
The top of the tube has a pressed metal lid, and under that is an end cap that has holes indicated that need to pierced when the foot powder is needed:
The 1926 Field Pocket Book gave officers this advice on footcare:
The chief causes of sore feet are ill-fitting boots and socks, combined with uncleanliness. The feet should be washed at least once a day, as retained sweat and dirt damage the skin and render the feet more liable to injury. If washing is impossible, the feet should be wiped over with a damp cloth, especially about the toes.
Excessive sweating may be relieved by bathing the feet in water, coloured a bright pink with permagenate of potash, and after drying they may be dusted with a foot powder.