British WW2 Percussion cap tin

Today at a flea market I bought a small percussion cap tin. It is square in shape with curved edges, and is hinged at the rear. It meansures 2.768" across by 2.039 high by 0.795 deep. It is painted olive drab with yellow lettering on the lid. This reads:


B.H. LOT NO._________________/43


(Lines are only present to keep lettering correctly spaced)

On the rear edge of the lid, just above the hinges, there is, also in yellow, a tiny marking of “MB.6”. The “M” and “B” are combined so the downwards part of the M on the right is the downwards part on the rear of the B

What would these “percussion caps” this held be? My only idea was detonators for a certain type of British Grenade (no idea which) that used a blank cartridge made from a .303 case cut off around halfway down the case and closed with a star crimp as a detonator. Lots of these tins have turned up for sale at arms fairs in the UK recently. Does anyone know exactly what this held?

Here is a photo of the tin shown next to a 9x19 Round for scale.

Someone must be able to tell me exactly what this thing had in it.


I can’t answer your question but really have to make an observation.

You have some FANTASTIC flea markets!!!

I go to any flea markets that are within driving distance and never find all the good stuff that you do. Today I went to one in Taylor AZ and found one WW II 30-06 cartridge. :( :(

And a bunch of .30 and 9mm pistol cartridges with all kinds of funning looking painted bullets. :) :) Only kidding John and Jon.


Have a very similar tin but mine is empty also DRAT!
Mine is missing the “B.H.” in front of LOT NO. but appears to have a handwritten yellow paint “DC” in front of & “209” after LOT NO.

I suspect the box contained 303 cases cut off to 45mm with a clear laquered cork wad in the top. My ones have the h/s R^LIII 41 RY52841
I used to have heaps of the cartridges, maybe 30 or 40 but have never seen the box they came out of. I might post a photo tomorrow. Apart from the ones I turned up I have never seen another one, are they a scarce cartridge?

Craight - I don’t know how rare they are, but when I collected .303, I had the one you describe in my collection. However, my catalog for my collection (the collection is gone, but I kept a copy of my catalog as kind of a book on .303) shows a different number, different by one digit than yours. According to my headstamp drawing (and I could have erred), the headstamp was R^L III 41 RY62 841. Note that the number was 62 on mine and not 52. You might check your round and see which of is wrong. Probably me.

I had a similar round, but with a lacquered cork wad rather than lacquered paper, headstamped MK.5.RG.62 spread from about 10 O’Clock to 2 O’Clock on the head.

I have never seen a container for either one, as well, unless the container shown on this thread is for those earlier cartridges, and I suspect it is, as well.

These are artillery bagged charge initiators for the 5.5" gun and similar.


Cheers Tony. Were these based on .303 cases? Do you have any examples?

I can confirm the headstamp on my rounds are R^L III41 RY 528 41
as seen in Temples no.2 Blank Ammunition page 79
Also in the photo is a Percussion Tube MkII.L which is based on a full length 303 case. John, your Mk5 version would have had 3 punch marks almost half way up the case to locate the gas seal unit

Craigt - I thought I was probably wrong. I try to be very careful when I draw a headstamp, but as I recall, the headstamp on my Mark III cartridge was not well struck, and I obviously read the “5” as a “6”. Thanks for checking and setting the record straight.

I don’t recall the punch marks on my Mark 5 round. It has been several years since I disposed of my .303 collection.

This is a photo of a Mk5 Percussion Tube, hopefully you can see the punch marks in the side of the case. They are a bit lower down the case than I remembered, it wasnt until I grabbed my one out of my collection that I realised my error. The h/s is Mk5 MF 59

More pictures of “Tubes percussion” and similar.

L. to r.

Trench mortar initiator, headstamped R^L 16 VII
Mark V, headstamped MK.5.RG.59
Mark I, headstamped R^L 31 I

Post war Mark Vs will also be found with headstamp MK.5.RML 52 and other years.


Cheers Tony, now comes the small problem of locating 10 of these cartridges with the correct date to fill the tin.