B167 Ammunition Box

The B167 ammunition box was used for a number of different types of munitions during World War II, including:

  • 3″ QF Howitzer HE 4 rounds- Number Packed: 4. Gross weight: 90 lbs
  • 2″ ML Mortar HE fuzed
  • 2″ ML Mortar sand, dummy fuze. Number Packed: 18. Gross weight: 68 lbs
  • 2″ ML Mortar MkII Number Packed: 18. Gross weight: 59 lbs
  • 2″ ML Mortar Bomb Thrower, Smoke Number Packed: 18 Gross weight: 62 lbs
  • 2″ ML Mortar bursting fuzed. Number Packed: 18 Gross weight: 65 lbs
  • 2″ ML Mortar Signal Red
  • 2″ ML Mortar Signal Green
  • 2″ ML Mortar Multi Red
  • 2″ ML Mortar Multi Green
  • 2″ ML Mortar Multi Red and Green
  • 2″ ML Mortar Multi White Number Packed: 18 Gross weight: 45.75 lbs
  • 2″ ML Mortar Illuminating with parachute Number Packed: 18 Gross weight: 43.5 lbs
  • Grenades No 69 Number Packed: 34 Gross weight: 44.25 lbs
  • Grenades No 77 Number Packed: 34 Gross weight: 45 lbs
  • Smoke, No. 21
  • 2 pr., A.P.C.B.C., with tracer

This versatile box is a sturdy steel design, 9″x9″x21.5″:

A pair of metal clips are fitted to secure the hinged lid, with a small loop to allow them to be wired shut for security if needed:

A pair of sturdy handles are fitted to each end to allow it to be lifted easily:

The model designation, B167 and date 1944 are stamped into the lid together with the manufacturer’s initials:

Ammunition boxes would go on to have long lives after their time with the military was done, and this interesting little tale relates how one B167 box survived…

Fifteen years ago a neighbour asked me to clear out the garden shed of her recently deceased husband.
Going into the shed was like stepping through a time warp, my old neighbour (Eddie was 84 when he died) had left footprints of his character, his life, his interests and hobbies encased in a small green wooden hut.
Books, magazines and newspaper articles going back to the 1930’s conveyed his diverse preoccupations in early plastics, photography, art, wax and wood modelling, calligraphy, marquetry, carpentry and home electrics, and also an early curiosity with the new trend towards D.I.Y. I was 40 years old at the time but many of the tools and equipment were a mystery to me, yet I could see that they were well used and cared for, instruments of a bygone era.

At the back of the old shed under heavy canvas, thickened with the oils and dust of decades I unearthed a long metal box. Although covered in filth and dead bugs the trunk was easily recognisable as the “fetch me some more ammo” box that countless soldiers screamed for in T.V and war movies.
On washing the ammunition box I read the code B.167 – 1942 stamped into its green lid. Flicking back the clasps opened a time capsule that was surprisingly well preserved. Apparently Eddie had been a draughtsman /engineer by profession but he had also been a leading member of the Home Guard during World War 2. Mrs L told me to take the tools, books etc., as she knew I’d use, and respect them. These lay the foundation for my own Fortress of Solitude and turned me into a “Shed Man,” with tins, jars and boxes of “bits” that could mend Caesar’s chariot or a NASA rocket.
A couple of days later Mrs L called me in and asked me to take the ammo box and its contents. The couple did not have any children of their own but they were fond of my two young daughters and she thought that the box might interest them and their school-friends in the future. Sadly Mrs L also died about a year later.

One comment

  1. ‘Ammo Cans’ are every ex-serviceman’s (and some who just find them convenient’ storage solution, they’re meant to keep things dry and undamaged in short and long term storage and they do that oh so well.

    The xmas ornaments are in the same 20mm cans they’ve been in for over 30 years, 7.62, 5.56, 9mm and .50 cans are in every closet and cupboard and back room filled with odds and ends, a few larger ones such as the one shown, protect some delicate things when not in use that would otherwise have been damaged long ago, and four 2.75″ wooden ‘rocket boxes’ stacked on top of each other with one of the lids nailed down each end of the stack make a perfect set of very sturdy basement shelves with about five minutes work and I have a dozen or so made, the heavy plastic sonobuoy overpacks (as seen on Star Trek 😉 ) are great for storing maps, fishing rods and other such things, not to mention they float and were used as the underpinnings of a raft when I had a seaside cottage to used it at, they’re none the worse for wear and you’d never know it looking at them today. I have no idea how many of those I’ve opened but some nights it was several thousand…we sometimes had a hard time giving them away, most people on base had all they needed, a lot filled them with concrete and used them for pilings for decks and patios or to hold fenceposts.

    Now if I’d only bothered to scrounge a few missile ‘coffins’ when I had the chance…..

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