It seems odd to us today, but cigarettes were considered essential items to include in aircrew survival kits during the 1940s and 1950s. They were seen as being a way of calming men, offering them some comfort in adversity and as smoking was very prevalent at the time, men would be likely to suffer from nicotine withdrawal if they were without a cigarette for a long period of time which could impair their effectiveness at surviving and escaping. In order to carry these cigarettes, small metal tins were issued that could hold a small number of cigarettes within. The tubes offered protection from water and damp which might damage a cigarette and from crushing. These little tubes were painted a dark green colour:
The lid of the tube is a screw fit and is easily undone to access the contents:
The RAF stores code and the contents of the tin are painted on the lid in blue-green lettering:
These tins were issued with the Beadon survival suits and with later cold war versions. They seem to have been produced in vast numbers and they are one of the easiest items of RAF survival equipment to find today with examples always for sale at a few pounds each on eBay.
Smoked for 25 years, then quit 25 years ago, there’s a lot of truth to their reasoning.
I quit once while on a course and sharing a barracks room with three rabid non smokers.
After the first week they chipped in and bought a carton of cigarettes.
They left it on my pillow and I tore it up and threw it into the hallway because it wasn’t my brand.
When I decided to quit for good one day, I just carried the last half pack in my shirt pocket around for about six months then handed it to an inmate walking by who couldn’t believe I was giving it to him 🙂
It’s funny, I never missed them but I did put on forty pounds…