WW2 Leave and Duty Ration Card

Armed forces personnel were not normally subject to rationing during World War II, they lived on base, aboard ship or were in the field and were fed by their service from either the cookhouse, galley or field rations. If military personnel had to go on leave or were deployed on short term duties where they had to cater for themselves, this presented a problem. With no ration book they would be unable to purchase basic food rations and would either be a burden on their hosts or go hungry. To get around this problem, special cards were issued by military units to their men going on leave called ‘Leave and Duty’ ration cards. These were printed with space for the user’s name and details and needed to be stamped by the user’s unit to show they were genuine. Today we are looking at an example issued in 1940 to a sailor at Portsmouth Royal Naval Barracks:

The interior of the card gave detailed instruction on how it was to be used, aimed at both the serviceman himself and the retailer who would have to remove coupons and redeem them later. This example has been used so the coupons have been removed (except for the spares) but the coupons would have run down the right hand side of the page ready to be cut out:

This document makes an interesting contrast with the World War I version we have looked at on the blog here. Whilst the two versions are twenty years apart, and different in form, they both fulfil the same task in ensuring a serviceman on leave does not go hungry.

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