Encyclopedia - The Iron Ration

British rations arriving by camel The so-called 'Iron Ration' comprised an emergency ration of preserved meat, cheese, biscuit, tea, sugar and salt carried by all British soldiers in the field for use in the event of their being cut off from regular food supplies.

The Iron Ration in 1914 was as follows:

1 lb. preserved meat
3 oz. cheese
12 oz. biscuit
5/8 oz. tea
2 oz. sugar
1/2 oz. salt
1 oz. meat extract

The U.S. Army adopted the principle of the Iron Ration based upon the British model.

Click here to view brief film footage of British soldiers receiving rations in the autumn of 1914.

A 'Base Rat' was a soldier perpetually at the base, typically in conditions of comfort and safety.

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