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Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

Article about: I just received this British Ammunition Box from South Africa this afternoon. I believe it is a H3 box, though I am not sure if it is a Mk I, II, or III. The label on the lid is very faded,

  1. #1
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    Default Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    I just received this British Ammunition Box from South Africa this afternoon. I believe it is a H3 box, though I am not sure if it is a Mk I, II, or III.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    The label on the lid is very faded, but follows the same basic pattern as a loading stamp on a .303 Bandolier. As far as a can tell, it reads “840 ~ CARTRIDGES ~ S.A. BALL ~ .303 Inch ~ CORDITE ~ 25 / 11 / 99 (inside the boxes) ~ Mark IV (?)” Additionally, there are small broad arrows surmounting the letters “ILS”. I believe this stands for "Inspector, Land Service" and it can also be seen on early 303 bandoliers from 1914/15. This changed during the Great War to "ISAA" for "Inspector, Small Arms Ammunition" after the Inspection Department had been reorganized.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    So the box was originally made in 1899, but the lid is also stamped “100 ~ REPKD ~ 14/4/05 ~ CORDITE ~ BATCH 1007”, so the box was reloaded in 1905.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    The lid is an Isosceles Trapezoid, so it stays in place when closed. I believe that there was originally a brass peg or cotter pin that held it in place, but this has long since disappeared.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    Inside the wood box is the original tin that would have held the ammunition. I’m not certain what the string was for, but it may have held the pin that secured the lid and a key to open the interior tin lining.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    The sides of the box have their original spliced rope handles along with the original load date of November 11, 1899.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box
    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    Additionally, each side has a large paper label with the symbol for “cartridge, small arm, ball” (a rectangle with a line through it) along with “CORDITE” in both boxes.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    The front of the box has a large letter ‘H’ deeply carved into the wood (possibly because it is an H3 box). There are also a number of deteriorated paper labels, including another symbol for “cartridge, small arm, ball”. There is also a large number ‘1’ inside a diamond with the words “SAFETY CARTR…” below.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    The back of the box has a number of letters stamped on it. I can only make out “H.M.S.” and “GOVT”. There is also a Broad Arrow, which I think was originally flanked by the letters ‘B’ and ‘O’, but I can’t be sure.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

    The bottom of the box has felt pads, but I think these were a later addition.

    Boer War British .303 H3 Ammunition Box

  2. #2

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    Wow what a fantastic addition to your junk pile Mate!

  3. #3

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    Wow, probably the best ammo box I remember seeing, so cool.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  4. #4

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    Fantastic mate!! Id love to get one,..id also like a Martini 577/450 one, like in the movie Zulu

  5. #5
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    Yeah, I think I read somewhere that the ammuntion boxes in the Zulu wars partially led to some of the British defeats, because they were so hard to get into in the heat of battle.

  6. #6

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    Very cool! Any item from the Boer War period is not commonly seen in this day and age. A great example, thanks for sharing!

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