Cigarette issue, Troops, For the use of

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Ron Goldstein, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    In today's Times I spotted this photo of a wartime factory producing the 50 cigarette tins that kept us going during our time overseas.

    I remember writing about these tins here: Fraternization with the locals. and on the same thread the tins are mentioned again in an article about their use as local currency.

    Dealing with the local civilian population was always a tricky process during our service overseas and was fraught with either misunderstanding from both sides and this applied wherever we happened to be at the time.
    While we were in North Africa I witnessed this happen between some of my compatriots and the local Arab inhabitants.

    We were en-route to join our Regiment at Tunis.

    As we made our way to Tunis, the train at times was moving at walking pace and the lads aboard were bargaining,swapping and selling their '50 cigarette' tins to the local Arabs.
    The 'double sting' that I saw went as follows:
    One of the lads had cut each cigarette into three and had packed the lower part of each tin of 50 with toilet paper. The cigarettes were beautifully arranged so that when the sticky tape that sealed the tin was peeled off and the lid removed, the tin was seen to be completely full.

    The Arab trader,in turn, was offering what appeared to be completely genuine Egyptian Francs which he counted off in front of the soldier who was selling the cigarettes. The sting, from his end, was that each note had been carefully cut into two pieces.

    Each party to the sting held on to their goods until the last possible moment until the train speeded up and then the Arab gentleman beat a hasty retreat whilst the English squaddie whooped with joy at what he thought was another good deal, until, that is, he checked the notes!.

    On consideration, the Arab trader had the best deal, at least his cigarette ends were smokable. The squaddie lost completely out because his money was unusable. A classic case of the Biter being Bit !
    !
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I was reading a chaps account from the Dunkirk retreat the other week and he went on to say something along the lines of:

    "When we were retreating towards Dunkirk we were liberating all manner of things and and when we were told to halt and defend (I can't remember where-Think it was Bergues) My platoon commander said to me he was dying for a cigarette so I gave him a box of 200. He said thank you Sergeant but I don't need that many and I said it's ok Sir, I've got 10,000 hidden back there !"

    I wonder if he had trouble with them coming back through customs :D
     
  3. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    We used to be issued with seven free fags a day with the beloved compo rations. Remember the compo rations, guys? When 3rd Div arrived in Belgium, to save transport, as all supplies had to be trucked from Normandy, we were issued with captured German rations which included their little cigars. So our fag ration became cigars, so after a few weeks we began to smell like the Krauts. We had just arrived at a farm and everyone came out to watch us unload when the ration truck turned up. The onlookers backed away a bit when it started to disgorge sacks with swastikas on them, and tins of food in German.
     
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  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    In today's Times I spotted this photo of a wartime factory producing the 50 cigarette tins that kept us going during our time overseas.

    I remember writing about these tins here: http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/real-life-experiences/11903-fraternization-locals.html and on the same thread the tins are mentioned again in an article about their use as local currency.

    !

    Ron,
    Your post reminded me of a tale my father spoke of regarding cigarettes sold to the local poulation in Greece in 1945.

    They also cut the cigarettes in two and repacked them.
    The problem arose when a local complained to the Army and the CO was not amused.:mad:

    Everyone was paraded on and told in no uncertain terms, what would happen to them if they were caught.:(

    Regards
    Tom
     
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    With reference to Compo Rations, Gerry Chester once supplied a link that took you to a very good site that had a full description of the contents of the various boxes.

    I found his article but the link no longer works :(

    Could some kind soul post the correct link here ?

    Thanks

    Ron
     

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