Military Issue Soap

A lot of military items are also used by other branches of the Government and it makes sense to bulk order for everyone and then distribute accordingly. This especially applies to everyday consumables such as stationery and cleaning products and today we are looking at an item that was once ubiquitous- a bar of soap:

These bars of plain unscented soap were used by all branches of the government for decades, including the military and this particular example came from emergency relief supplies carried aboard HMS Invincible. The bar has the royal cypher stamped into the top and in this case comes in an individually sealed little plastic pack. More usually however they were just wrapped in cellophane and packed into cardboard boxes, such as this one, which held 72 bars:

One user remarked of the issue soap:

The stuff I saw was off-white, thinner than a standard bar and quite hard compared to normal soap. It wasn’t bad, though. The bars I acquired lasted for ages.

Another squaddie had a fun way to make a bit of extra money with some issue soap:

I flogged a box of EIIR-marked soap to a yank once. I told him it was genuine Buck House issue. He was well chuffed. Paid for my night out. Result.


  1. Got one 🙂 and I still have a ‘souvenir’ strip of Military issue toilet paper, or at least that’s where I found it, from a TD to Kinloss in the early 80’s, each buff coloured sheet carefully marked with a crisply printed crest and “on Her Majesty’s Service”.
    I assume it was provided solely to be taken as a curious memento, because it certainly wasn’t very useful for what you would think was the intended purpose.
    I believe it’s called ‘bog roll’ there but here we call it ‘waxed paper’ 😉

    • Yes, greased proof paper type loo roll was very common in public lavatories until the mid 1990s- we had them at school. Horrible stuff! They still sell rolls of it in one or two shops under the brand name ‘Izel’ to those few elderly ladies who swear by it… apparently its medicated!

      • Better than the stuff offered to us in Germany, I was worried about splinters in sensitive places…
        Still, our issue ‘paper’ was so thin it only had one side…and you could see through it.
        Paper towels’ on the other hand were thick brown paper and if you left them in a bucket of water overnight would come out drier than they went in…

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