WW1 Primary Explosive Box. 175 Tunnelling Company

WW1 Primary Explosive Box. 175 Tunnelling Company

Code: 55646


The next item from the Royal Engineers Tunnelling Companies collection is a rare item indeed. Here we have a WW1 Tunneller’s Carry Box for the important Primary Explosive charge. I believe the Primary Explosive in this case to be Nitro Glycerine from the large letter “N” marking to the box’s top. Just visible on the back of the Box is what I believe to be “175 Tunnelling Company” painted in black.

The Box is of very robust thick wood construction and complete, albeit service used. As well as the “N” marking, the top has its two leather and cable carrying handles which remain in good condition.

To the front of the Box there is a small but extremely solid door to access the explosives within. To prevent random access to such dangerous contents, the door is lockable with special bolts (one with the inside male section missing) that can only be turned with a specific tool/key which is included. This “key” is also of very robust construction resembling a  chisel of the period and dated 1916.

The door has a lovely large letter “T” for “Tunnelling” marking to its centre. An absolutely identical simple letter “T” cut out in cloth is worn as a formation sign on the upper sleeve of British WW1 Tunneller uniforms.

Finally, each side of the Box has a large “skull and crossbones” applied to warn all parties as to the dangerous life threatening nature of the contents.

The Box came with a small marker-like brass tab attached which has the designation “RD4” stamped upon it. I am not too sure of the item's significance, I suspect however that it may simply be the original user’s personal identification for this specific Box and its listed contents within the unit.

An incredibly rare and important WW1 Tunnelling piece, the first I have ever seen.