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S.R.D. known as 'Rum Jars' but not necessarily so, other possible meanings could be ' Service Reserve Depot' 'Services Rum Diluted' 'Special Red Demerara' 'Standard Rum Diluted' 'Service Rum Distribution' 'Service Ration Department' 'Service Rum Department'.

Soldiers Slang for it was 'Seldom Rarely Delivered' 'Soldiers Run Dry' 'Soon Runs Out' 'Seldom Reaches Destination'. One thing is certain, soldiers during the First War did get a rum ration usually before ''going over the top''.

Introduced in the winter of 1914 as a remedy for the cold, or to give some ''Dutch courage'' before fighting, it is strange that this was done, as it certainly would not help with the cold or bad weather conditions, and given the amount in the ration, it would take more than the whole bottle to get any man willing to face the German machine gunners.
The handle on this Jar has probably been added at a later date.

Your comments:

  • Similar looking but smaller stoneware bottles/ jars (possibly previously containing Dutch gin) were re-used in the Netherlands as hot water bottles for babies. Called a kruik, metal versions in this form can still be bought in the shops for that purpose. So perhaps that is what is meant that they are useful in cold weather - they can be filled with hot water and act as a hot water bottle (with a suitable stopper).
    .......... MarkW, The Hague, 14th of June 2024

  • I have a glass demijohn of Army pussers rum and am keen to understand its background. I note that a previous contributor worked in the store in Germany; this where mine came from in 1993.
    .......... Derek Easton, England, 1st of September 2022

  • When I moved to take over the ration store in Werl Germany there was rum, but that was in glass bottles which had wax seals over the top of bottles.
    .......... Mark, Trevett, 17th of December 2021

  • Might I suggest you remove the reference to 'Dutch Courage' as this term refers specifically to Gin, introduced to the British forces in the 30years war and later issued to the British Navy under William III instead of the Rum ration!
    .......... J Harriss, Reading, 20th of December 2012

  • I have several of these jars; SRD stands for 'Supply Reserve Depot' during WW1 this was located on the river Thames at Deptford in south London and was the main supply depot for the army on the western front. Although usually referred to as rum jars they were used for all sorts of liquid supplies used by the army.
    .......... Paul, Enfield, England, 18th of November 2012

  • We have one of these jars given to us by a friend some years ago. Did not know what SRS meant. The cork is attached to the jar with string. It does not have a handle. You learn something new every day.
    .......... Sheila Taylor, Telford, Shropshire, England, 7th of November 2012

  • yes these are rum jars ,they were still being used in WW11 . They were certainly used by the LRDG & SAS on missions behind Axis lines . The LRDG used to mix the rum with line juice as it made for a nice cooling drink at the end of a very hot dry day .The jars were usualy packed two to a wooden case . I myself have four of them on my LRDG truck . If you find any to buy you the maximum to pay should be no more than £15.00 unless they are full of rum !!!
    .......... nigel hanson, Starcross Exeter Devon EX 6 8PA, 12th of July 2011

  • After watching an episode of "Time Team" on channel 4 search for flame thrower I realized I have two of the same SRD jars in our living room here in Brittany France.
    It was strange to see them remove a broken version of what has been sitting in the corner of our room for some time. (No carrying handles fitted on mine)

    .......... Simon R Clouter, Lizio Brittany France, 14th of April 2011

  • I have a jar just like this one and it also has the same metal carrying handle so I would presume the handles are original. PS:I believe SRD stands for Service Reserve Depot.
    .......... Paul Martin, Guildford, 26th of January 2010

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