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Food in the Australian military post 1950

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Kelantan Province, Malaya, c. 1955. 4 Troop, Royal Australian Engineers (RAE), cook-house at Fort Chabai airstrip, 7th Police Field Force. Note the oven made from a 44 gallon drum, cement and rocks from the creek. 

The airstrip was constructed by 4 Troop, Royal Australian Engineers (RAE), and 410 Independent Plant Troop, 11th Independent Field Squadron Royal Engineers (RAE). 

(donor J. Profitt)

Click to enlarge Pakchon, Korea. 1950-11. Corporal A. Robertson, company cook for A Company, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), cooking a turkey in a 44 gallon drum for Thanksgiving dinner. is probably the first turkey he has ever seen and it is almost certainly the first turkey his troops have ever eaten. It would have been supplied by the US Army. In 1950 Australians did not celebrate 'Thanksgiving'. We still don't.

Click to enlarge Singapore. 1950. Air rations featuring examples of food of low fat high protein content. These were assembled by Squadron Leader (Doctor) William Lockhart Rait RAAF, as part of his original work on the best in-flight diet for airmen. (donor W. Rait)

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Click to enlarge Iwakuni, Japan. 1953. A corporal cook prepares one of the rabbits bred at the base to supplement rations in the Airmen's Mess at No. 91 (Composite) Wing RAAF.
Click to enlarge Korea, 1951. Working at a trestle table at a camp or bivouac site in the countryside, a cook from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), prepares a batch of scones for baking. In the foreground, resting on the table, are a huge mound of dough and some towels, while standing at left are a mixing bowl, mug and some tins. (Donor I. Robertson)
Click to enlarge Korea, c 1950-12. Field stoves and other kitchen equipment belonging to the cooks of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), stand on a cleared patch of ground in a landscape blanketed with snow. Among the equipment are a box of American C-6 rations, a wooden crate, a jerry can, cylinders filled with petrol as fuel for the stoves, dixies, basins, a tarpaulin and some large tins, one of which bears the label 'Overseas Service Lard'. Some battalion members are standing and eating a meal in the snow at right. (Donor I. Robertson)
Click to enlarge Korea, c 1950-12. Elevated view of the cookhouse used by the cooks of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), at a campsite in the countryside. The cookhouse is a roughly-built timber shed with a chimney or flue sticking up through its roof (left) and a makeshift flag attached to the end of the ridge pole (right). The flag consists of a square of striped bed linen mounted on a slender branch cut from a tree. A rifle and some soldiers' packs lean against the wall of the shed (left), while some clothing and a dixie rest on its roof. A jumble of equipment lies on the ground at right including a spade, ration boxes, dixies, basins, tins and a jerry can. Bren gun carrier no. 5146 stands behind the cookhouse (right), while winter snow lies on the ridges and furrows of a ploughed field in the background. (Donor I. Robertson)
Click to enlarge Korea, c. 1951-02. With a cigarette in his mouth, Corporal (Cpl) 'Buck' Rogers, a cook or 'bait layer' with the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), prepares lunch for Battalion Headquarters (BHQ). Cpl Rogers is opening a large tin of food which, with other tins, trays and kitchen utensils, stands on a trestle table erected under a tarpaulin in the open. (Donor I. Robertson)
Click to enlarge North Korea, c. 1950-11. Cooks of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), dole out a rare hot meal to battalion soldiers. The soldiers are (left to right): ? Corporal (Cpl) Mick Hatton, who has an Owen gun on his shoulder and a grenade attached to its strap; Private 'Junior' Gillham, Intelligence Section; Cpl Stewart Ham, Intelligence Section; unknown; unknown; Cpl 'Buck' Rogers. The cooks are using serving spoons and ladles to dole out portions of food from large metal dixies and a bowl which are resting on a trestle table. Two tins of Sheffield evaporated milk stand on the table in the foreground. In the background, telegraph poles stick up at irregular angles out of a war-damaged urban landscape. Later, when the severe cold of winter set in, soldiers cut down all of the telegraph poles to use them as fuel for fires. Part of a telegraph pole that has already been cut down is visible at left. For warmth, all of the soldiers are wearing windproof jackets and most have pile caps on their heads. (Donor I. Robertson)
Click to enlarge Taegu, Korea. 1950-09-28. Cookhouse and water-wagon set-up in the riverbed of the Naktong River for the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR).
Click to enlarge Korea. 3RAR are away from the Front for a while, in reserve. They are supposed to be getting some rest and TLC. Their dining conditions are shown in this picture. Is it any wonder that when they got back into action they were mean and difficult to upset.
A tube of Vegemite (a salty paste made from yeast extract. It resembles the British Marmite and is a basic part of the Australian food culture).

It rests on a menu sheet for the Vietnam era "Combat Ration One Man" which was 24 hours rations for 1 Digger.

It came in 5 different versions.

Click to enlarge Horseshoe Hill, Phuoc Tuy Province, Vietnam, c. 1970-06. Sign beside the entrance to "Sgt Sax's Do Drop Inn", the kitchen of C Company, 7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR), at The Horseshoe fire support base (FSB). The kitchen was run by Sergeant John Saxby, C Company's cook. (donor: J. Saxby)
Click to enlarge Vietnam. 1967-09. Fresh food after sixteen days on canned rations was a welcome change for members of 2RAR /NZ (Anzac) (the Anzac battalion comprising 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment and a component from the 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment), who were on operation Ainslie in Phuoc Tuy province. Private Bruce Jarvis of Taumarunui, New Zealand (left), is handed his ration by Sergeant Frank Curphy of Cabarita, NSW. Operation Ainslie was aimed at clearing a Viet Cong staging and supply area north of the Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat.
Click to enlarge South Vietnam. C. 1965. Cattle loaded for transport on a RAAF transport flight Caribou aircraft. They are destined to be slaughtered for food for the troops. (donor D. Harvey)
Click to enlarge Phuoc Tuy Province, Vietnam, 1970. Packets of dried food and other items from the American C Ration pack that Australian soldiers sometimes took on operations in Vietnam. (donor A Blake)
Plastic; Metal; Nylon; Foodstuffs; Medicine; Small personal survival kit. 

This kit contains band-aids, alcohol patches, paracetamol capsules, water purification tablets, a glucodin tablet, a condom and a sealed scalpel. 

Also included is a tea bag, stock cubes, plastic bags, tweezers, needle, small compass, cord, fishing kit, wire, 

hacksaw blade, flint with striker, plastic mirror, a pencil, instruction sheet, cotton swab and a Mark III Sicut knife. This survival kit was carried by an Australian Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment trooper in Afghanistan, 2002. Webmaster's question. Why does a survival kit need a condom?


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces