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Rare archive of Boer War items discovered in Lichfield

The tin containing remnants of chocolate from the Boer War

The tin containing remnants of chocolate from the Boer War

A unique 120 year old archive belonging to an unknown Boer War soldier has been uncovered in Lichfield.

Items including a food tin, photograph and a box containing remnants of chocolate dished out to troops serving in South Africa were taken to an auctioneer’s valuation day at the Hedgehog pub.

Charles Hanson, director of Hansons Auctioneers, said the items brought the history of the conflict to life.

“It was an archive kept in a cupboard in Lichfield belonging to our client’s father who was a collector,” he said.

“As auctioneers we thrive on real history and the archive tells us so much about the daily life of a British soldier who served in the Boer War.

“There are still remnants of chocolate in the tin and the tin foil encasing it. The chocolate does still have an aroma but this is not for one for chocoholics!

“We suspect the photograph of a young gentleman on a card is probably the serviceman to whom this archive belonged too.”

The emergency ration tin

The emergency ration tin

The food tin – which had a meat dinner in one end and cocoa in the other – was made by Donkin and Hall and revolutionised the way troops were supplied.

“To handle this item which has never been opened makes one realise how hard conditions must have been during the Boer War.”

The collection also contains a photo album showing images of the British celebrating victory and pictures of Boer women in their homes.

The archive is expected to sell for between £200 and £300 when it goes under the hammer at a specialist militaria auction on March 21.

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