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Thread: Special Meal for Dopers

  1. #1
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    Default Special Meal for Dopers

    Whilst thumbing through a 1943 copy of King’s Regulations and Orders for the Royal Air Force (yes, I know that I have to get a life) I found a paragraph under RATIONS that intrigues me.

    Paragraph 2660. Special Meals for Dopers, &c. –

    1. A special meal, consisting of cocoa or milk and a slice of bread, will be provided daily for all personnel –

    (a) Regularly employed on doping work in enclosed dope shops;

    (b) Employed in M.T. paint shops at stations where (i) the composition of the paint used and (ii) the conditions under which paint spraying are carried out are, in the opinion of the A.O.C., prejudicial to the health of the personnel concerned.

    2. For this purpose a sum of 2d. May be may be expended from public funds for each meal.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Question being-why was this “special meal” consisting of milk or cocoa and a slice of bread authorized? Was it expected to counter the deleterious effects normally encountered with this type of work?
    Last edited by Ken MacLean; 21st December 2008 at 22:41.

  2. #2
    Eddie Fell Guest

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    Hi Ken

    I can't provide a definitive answer but this practice was also common in the British Army in the late 60's. Whilst a student I used to work in a paint spray bay during holidays and the first thing I was told by the soldiers was that we were entitled to milk and cocoa to combat the fumes and (presumably) minimise the effect of the lead content of the paint by providing a 'stomach lining'. I was also told that we didn't need all our entitlement and that they 'converted' part of the fund into sausage sandwiches!! Your ever resourceful squaddie and who was I to argue! After all, when you have just carefully painted a motor cycle exhaust silver ready for a major inspection and some bright spark comes along and rides it away with the paint burning off (instructions were that they were to be pushed) you needed something in your stomach!

    Cheers

    Eddie

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    Default Special Meal For Dopers

    Hi Ken And Eddie
    As a young man in 1944 I worked in a factory which had many sray booths the paint which was sprayed was known as dope the reason being that if you inhaled to much of the fumes of this paint you became very light headed, everyone who worked in the sprayshop was given 2 pints of milk free each day,this as pointed out by Eddie was to wash down the very fine spray produced by the cellulose paint, In those days Health and Safety did not exist, we have certainly come a long way.
    Regards
    Harold dummer

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    Thanks, Eddie and Harold-

    Delighted to receive replies from two gentlemen who were actually provided this 'special ration" during their service!

    It would appear that the medicos of the day were more concerned with the effects of these dopes, paints and sprays on the stomach rather than the respiratory system.

    Cheers, and All the Best to both of you in `09.

    Ken

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    In the book of WWII reminiscences "Aces, Erks and Backroom Boys" by Edward Smithies, one of the interviews is with a woman who was employed painting aircraft in what sound like frankly appalling conditions. She was offered as an inducement a pint of milk a day, and ten shillings extra. The extra milk did not stop her developing permanent problems with her lungs. You can read the interview in the chapter about "Women Workers".

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    As a matter of interest, I don't think it was only painters and finishers that were provided with these rations. I remember when on nights in the Battery Charging Room at Lindholme in the 60's, I was sent to pick up a small quantity of milk, tea and sugar from the Mess before starting work each night.
    We were told that this was permitted because we worked in a fume laden atmosphere !!!
    That much was true!

    John

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