Possible WW2 British Water can?

Manufacturers, production numbers, configurations, etc.
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bombtech
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Possible WW2 British Water can?

Post by bombtech » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:07 pm

https://usmtwt.com/en/boutique/accessoi ... can-a-eau/
This link came from Mil-Web, its an advert for what is described as:
English water jerrycan early manufacture
Use campaign of North Africa, Italy and South of France, Color sand.
Interior not usable for the water, to renovate.
Various states
After an exhaustive search thru my photos for this can, I could find only one similar. My photo shows British troops loading a truck with similar cans but the handle is diagonal on the top, not parallel like these cans are. Has anyone purchased one of these? Or have photos or references that can confirm its use as a military can, by the British or any other Army?
Photo file would not attach, but can be seen on the web site.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Rick
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Re: Possible WW2 British Water can?

Post by gerrykan » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:24 pm

Image
Image source: https://usmtwt.com/en/boutique/accessoi ... can-a-eau/


Rick,
I have one of these cans with the carry handle oriented like the one pictured.

I purchased it sometime after there was a discussion here about the photograph that you reference.
I seem to remember a Brit or Aussie member stating that they were British made to fit in air-drop containers.

A search after my purchase also did not result in any satisfactory information.

Only a guess, but I could see that the straight handle might allow stacked cans to be slightly more compact, by inverting the can placed on top so the handles rest next to each other.

It should also be remembered that in the USA there were sets of three cans sold to mount on the running boards of autos to hold water, gasoline, and oil.
I do not know if this was popular in England.
So another guess could be civilian cans pressed into Military Service due to the immediate need.
That could explain the lack of the /I\ Broad Arrow and makers mark, or date.

Air dropping cans to Commandos or Partisans might also explain the lack of markings.
Roy

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Re: Possible WW2 British Water can?

Post by bombtech » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:51 pm

Roy,
Thanks for your summations. I feel your comment as to it being a civilian can pressed into service is most likely, but why diverge from the standard "toucan" pattern that had been in vogue since 1906? As for air drop I would respectfully disagree. At least seven British company's made air drop canister's and all of them followed the standard cylindrical pattern so as to fit either a 'C' or 'H' type parachute container. These cylindrical cans were substantial in construction, and I do not get the feeling these 'W' cans in question meet that mark? I think we would agree that numerous non mil-spec containers were used by many military elements at various times, especially the farther the elements were from the main theaters of conflict. I also do not have or have never seen an exemplar of the diagonal handle cans in the reference photo to compare both construction, and markings, have you?
Roy I appreciate your learned input, and always look forward to your postings. Perhaps one our friends from the British Empire will chime in and share his expertise in this realm of somewhat unidentified English cans.
Cheers,
Rick
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Re: Possible WW2 British Water can?

Post by gerrykan » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:33 pm

Rick,
I searched the Forum and found the old thread that I referenced.

This was the information that Dom K. of Australia provided:
Dom K. wrote:Hi All : The Picture is interesting in the fact that it would apear to be north africa the troops are British or Commonwealth although more likely Australian as the guy in the back of the truck is wearing a Australian Drivers hat , like a British officers peaked cap yet with a stiffened flattened top and slightly smaller peak , the guy behind him is wearing his side cap ( Garrison cap ) sideways across his head & the others are very casually dressed . ( Typical of Australians ) . The cans are British Light Weight Fuel cans designed to fit inside Airbourne Drop Canisters . they have a small screw cap & are made of two stamped and welded halfs with a lightly imbossed X . I supose that the British / Commonwealth Forces in North Africa needed any & every type of Fuel can that they could possibly get to supply over the vast distances . ( as a note of interest anyone who has seen the famous picture of the SAS jeep without crew , mounting a 50 cal will see there is one of these cans on the hood ) . I have only seen one of these cans in real life , it being owned by a fellow M.V er . Hope this helps . Dom .
Source: https://forums.g503.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 81#p445681

Here are some images of the SAS/LRDG jeep Dom mentioned.

Image
Source: http://ipmsmalta.forumotion.net/t632-sa ... rth-africa

Image
Source: http://www.jeepwillys.com.cn/pic.asp?id=165

And a photo crop with better detail,
Image

Rehashing the information, I would theorize that the different handle orientation would allow someone to easily identify whether a can contained gasoline or water in blackout conditions.

My investigation also lead me to this interesting page about Colonel David Stirling:
https://www.nam.ac.uk/explore/david-stirling
Roy

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Re: Possible WW2 British Water can?

Post by John Neuenburg » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:15 pm

Cute can. Barely 3 gallons?
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Silly's MB
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Re: Possible WW2 British Water can?

Post by Silly's MB » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:53 pm

Here are a few more images but still no answers on the orientation of the handle. Most of these seem to be diagonal.
© IWM (NA 5005) copy.jpg
© IWM (NA 5005) copy.jpg (77.73 KiB) Viewed 234 times
© IWM (TR 2149) copy.jpg
© IWM (TR 2149) copy.jpg (52.67 KiB) Viewed 234 times
pickaxe jeep copy.jpg
pickaxe jeep copy.jpg (75.7 KiB) Viewed 234 times
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Complete MVMTS 100% sourced in the ETO

Empty vessels make the most noise .......

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Silly's MB
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Re: Possible WW2 British Water can?

Post by Silly's MB » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:06 pm

carburretor (2).jpg
carburretor (2).jpg (61.06 KiB) Viewed 234 times
mud 1943.jpg
mud 1943.jpg (45.04 KiB) Viewed 234 times
Limited access.
1942 August Willys MB
Complete MVMTS 100% sourced in the ETO

Empty vessels make the most noise .......

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Re: Possible WW2 British Water can?

Post by gerrykan » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:32 pm

Silly's MB wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:53 pm
Here are a few more images but still no answers on the orientation of the handle. Most of these seem to be diagonal.

© IWM (NA 5005) copy.jpg
© IWM (TR 2149) copy.jpg
pickaxe jeep copy.jpg
The third image looks to show an embossed W with a diagonal handle, that I will admit effectively sinks my theory regarding use of handle orientation to identify the contents.
While there could of been early and late can types, considering the short period that these seemed to be in use mostly precludes that.

Thanks for the additional images.
Roy

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