Interesting item. Glad your mate saved it.
No idea on function. But your guess sounds about right.
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be more exciting if it were a shell case rim dooh dah.
im not 100% sure, but im almost positive it's a container opener, such as the tube's in wich U.S grenades came in, or an quick sealer. now, i have a photo here somewere umung my item's in wich a G.I. was twisting a handel of sort's. it was in the field, and its very hard to see, the photo is of the entire group of men in Europe thearter. i would think the U.K. as well would use it , i may be wronge but i know i saw that handle twisting somthing. im going to look threw my photos, and Stars And Strip's and get it to you, good luck MATE!