Frozen/chilled meat for BEF.

Discussion in '1940' started by Trux, Aug 16, 2022.

  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    The generally accurate ‘The War in France and Flanders’ by L.F. Ellis says that 60,000 tons of frozen meat had been delivered to France by 27 September. Only one sailing of a refrigerated ship is listed by that date. This means that:

    Ellis is wrong.

    The data for sailings of refrigerated ships is incomplete.

    Or frozen and chilled meat was being delivered from another source. This is possible since frozen and chilled meat originated mainly in Australia/ New Zealand or the Americas. It would be possible to divert ships to France rather than have them deliver cargoes to the UK and then ship them to France.

    Any thoughts would be welcome.

  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    In reference to : Ice trade - Wikipedia

    There doesn't seem much currently re. WW2.

    I think as a stop-gap packing in ice might have been considered, although some of the references in the above also refer to containers being refrigerated, in which case the ship itself could or would have carried such refrigerated containers? perhaps... the topic of logistically freighting frozen and chilled meats though, I suppose, has been covered in one of the histories there's quite an online rabbit hole... and some books with some details such as...

    Story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in Atlantic and Mediterranean Waters During World War II: Ships, Salvage, and Sinews of War ... 1954
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  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Thank you Ramilies.

    I know that the army had compact refrigeration units which could be set up in any suitable building. As many units as required could be installed and cooled to the desired temperature by pumping a mixture of CO2 and brine through pipes. Perhaps they could be installed in ships as required, but were they?

  4. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Fascinating stuff Uncle Target. 'Where there is a will there is a way', or so they say. 'Where there is a profit there is a will' seems also to be true.


  6. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Hey Mike, found this reference to “frozen meat” going to France in 1942? Not sure if the information helps you or not in this subject. I’ll have a look around to see if I can find anything else on this subject:


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  7. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    I know this is only “partially” on topic (actually “way off” topic……but when you posted the above it roused my curiosity of how frozen meat and perishable goods where transported around the globe in this time period to support the troops), but found this interesting information on Shipment of Frozen and other perishable goods to the bases through the Pacific. It shows that just ONE ship (a refrigerator ship, USNS Blue Jacket) could carry enough fresh, frozen and perishable goods to feed 2,000,000 men in ONE trip.

    The only question I have on this information is this feeding 2,000,000 men ONE meal? Or over a period of time.

    Their were 10 ships of this class moving frozen and perishable goods and may have been other ships or merchant ships also doing the same job:
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2022
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  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Thank you Temujin.

    It may not be 100% on topic but it is fascinating. 65 years or so ago I found the splendid series of books 'History of US Naval Operations in World War Two'. Morrison in the local public library. At the same time the TV series 'War at Sea was being shown on bbc TV. I have the boxed set on DVD. The massive US Navy logistic operations in the Pacific and the large number of new built standard ships were impressive to say the least.

    As I have observed before every answer raises more questions and opens up new avenues to be explored.

    If each ship carries 4,000 tons then 15 ships would be needed to carry the 60,000 tons quoted by Ellis. Still looking and thinking.

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  9. morrisc8

    morrisc8 Under the Bed

    Maintenance in the Field War Office front cover a.jpg Info from War Office book Maintenance in the Field Vol 1. in my collection.
    Could some of the frozen meat be moved by train from the uk? by train ferry.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2022
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  10. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Keith has the answer. Again.

    The simple answer is that Ellis is wrong. According to Keiths contribution only 25,000 tons of frozen meat was sent to France in the whole campaign.

    Thank you all.


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