The Highlanders’ Museum
Tins such as these are known as iron rations. This one was issued to the Lovat Scouts on arrival at Cape Town in March, 1900. The regiment had been raised to fight in the South African Boer War, 1899 – 1901.
The Lovat Scouts was a special regiment. It was formed of Highland men with outdoor skills like shepherding and stalking because they had the skills to rival the South African Boer farmers, whereas regular British army regiments did not.
The ration takes the form of a double ended tin with ‘cocoa’ in one end and ‘dinner’ in the other. The ‘dinner’ would have been a Bovril type paste for mixing with water. In remote areas of South Africa, supply lines were long and unreliable. Rations such as these would be opened as a last resort, if supplies ran low for hungry soldiers.