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Dutchy357
13-02-2018, 00:07
Hi Guys

For some time it has intrigued me as to how long FRED has been friend of the Aussie Digger and serving his country. The earliest marked one that I have in my possession is dated 1976.

While doing some other research, I was delighted to come across an article (https://www.australianfoodtimeline.com.au/f-r-e-d/) that informed me that FRED came in to service in 1943.

Introduced around 1943, the F.R.E.D., a combination can opener, bottle opener and spoon, was included in military ration packs. Officially a Field Rations Eating Device, it was familiarly known as the “F**king Ridiculous Eating Device”. It may have been based on similar U.S. device called the P38, which lacked the refinements of spoon and bottle opener and was invented in 1942. Soldiers in both forces formed a fierce attachment to these devices, which were just as useful for cleaning your fingernails as opening a can, and protested at their removal from active service when new packaging was introduced.


38192


I know that there was a proposal that FRED cease service a few years ago and that he was to be replaced by a crappy plastic spoon that would break when looked at. I understand that a lot of dissatisfaction was expressed because most Diggers found FRED to be very useful for other tasks.

Can any serving members tell me if FRED still serves on or has he be been discharged, no longer having a role to fulfil?

Dutchy

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot
13-02-2018, 00:19
I used one to open my beetroot tin at dinner tonight, never did get a better can opener than a Fred!

098steve
13-02-2018, 01:42
He has been all but retired now as most ration pack meals are boil-in-the-bag jobbies but the canned cheese still exists so FRED lives on. The plastic spoon is actually pretty good IMHO. I always thought the most amazing thing about FRED was that you would usually use the same one for an entire ex, even though there was a brand new one in each rat pack. After every feed I would just wipe FRED on my pants leg (which was always filthy and covered in dirt, grime and God knows what else), shove him back in my pocket and pull him out for the next meal. He never ever made me sick though.

Dutchy357
13-02-2018, 07:34
He has been all but retired now as most ration pack meals are boil-in-the-bag jobbies but the canned cheese still exists so FRED lives on.

Good news!


The plastic spoon is actually pretty good IMHO.

The plastic spoon I referred to was a green hard plastic one that was very brittle. It has now been replaced with a much tougher and more serviceable spoon (albeit smaller) in desert tan/coyote brown that does not break easily.


I always thought the most amazing thing about FRED was that you would usually use the same one for an entire ex, even though there was a brand new one in each rat pack. After every feed I would just wipe FRED on my pants leg (which was always filthy and covered in dirt, grime and God knows what else), shove him back in my pocket and pull him out for the next meal. He never ever made me sick though.

The advantages of a healthy immune system! :D:D

Dutchy

Ausblade
13-02-2018, 08:34
I used to have dozens of those, I had them in tucker boxes, tackle boxes, tool boxes, hanging off pack straps and zipper pulls, even had a couple in the kitchen draw. I always thought they would be easily obtainable, your mates in the army reserve could give you a handful and they were about 30cents each at disposal stores. I didn't take much care of them and now I couldn't find one if I looked. The going price on eBay is over $5 for 0ne but you can get them down around $4 in bulk.

Yarbles
13-02-2018, 10:32
I'm certain I've seen commercially made versions ...some even with spork like tines. ..which seems like a design improvement.

Southern Son
13-02-2018, 11:55
When I quit the army reserves the last time, I handed in all my uniforms, boots, giggle hats, etc, (I did keep the folding knife), but the one thing I wish I had kept was all the unused Freds, Steve is right, it didn't matter if it was a weekend or AFX, the first rat pack I opened I used the Fred from that for the whole trip. I look back and think they were an average spoon, I never used the bottle opener, but I think they were the best can openers I had ever seen. I could get into a can of anything with one of them faster than anything other than a GOOD electric can opener or a bullet.

Substance
13-02-2018, 12:51
Fred, can of beans, box of matches & a maggot bag was about all I ever used to take camping as a kid
best tool ever invented

Daveho
14-02-2018, 05:09
Have a FRED in my EDC always. He’s a useful fella to have round

steel butterfly
14-02-2018, 06:53
A few years ago, Macro - the oversized Crazy Clark discount store had some.
I bought a couple but they were poor quality metal and not very robust.

Retroject
14-02-2018, 08:50
I could never bring myself to throw a FRED away. I've still got a old ammo tin that must have dozens of them. Most reliable can opener I've ever owned. The missus keeps buying these fancy expensive can openers which all seem to work fine the first couple of times, but then go dull and stop working; so I always have one in the kitchen drawer ready to go.

Got agree with Steve. A lick and a wipe on the pants and it was good to go for next time.

098steve
14-02-2018, 13:36
A lick and a wipe on the pants and it was good to go for next time.

I actually got so bored on an exercise in Shoalwater Bay once (three weeks sitting on the same hill in an OP) that I read the green sheet of paper that came in each rat pack. Believe it or not, it had instructions for sterilising the FRED before each use. Apparently you were meant to tie a piece of string or wire through the little hole in the top corner of the FRED and then dangle it in boiling water for a minute or so. Can't say I've ever meet anybody who ever actually did that, but that's what the little hole is supposed to be for

Antonio_Luiz
15-02-2018, 06:54
For what it's worth - I sometimes order from Unique Titanium and the package often arrives with a 'Thank You' gift of a FRED.

Haven't ever used any of them - these old hands much prefer something larger like the cheapie can opener / bottle opener / corkscrew - not that too many bottles of plonk that I buy still have traditional corks anymore

And there's always the trusty can opener on my Leatherman Wave

Retroject
15-02-2018, 08:26
Bonus points for anyone that can tell me the NSN for a FRED

Ausblade
15-02-2018, 09:03
7330-66-010-0933, I just found one last night.

zanussi01
15-02-2018, 10:37
http://i907.photobucket.com/albums/ac272/merlinthegreat01/P1050519_zpsjazhtlhs.jpg (http://s907.photobucket.com/user/merlinthegreat01/media/P1050519_zpsjazhtlhs.jpg.html)

My little collection so far,I've tried to get one of every date made.

This is by no means all I have as I have lots of multiples.

From the right,"CARR" marked and dated 1966,through to 2014 on far left.

The rarest is the 1983 model as this manufacturer only made them for this one year.
Note:The 1983 also has the NSN,maker and date stamped unside down when compared with those from other years.

Not sure when the bottle opener was added,sometime between '66 and '75 as this is the earliest of mine that has it.
If you have a model before this with the opener,that would narrow the timeframe.

Awesome bit of kit!:thup:

zanussi01
15-02-2018, 10:43
http://i907.photobucket.com/albums/ac272/merlinthegreat01/P1050521_zpsfdf6l2qd.jpg (http://s907.photobucket.com/user/merlinthegreat01/media/P1050521_zpsfdf6l2qd.jpg.html)

098steve
15-02-2018, 12:43
http://i907.photobucket.com/albums/ac272/merlinthegreat01/P1050519_zpsjazhtlhs.jpg (http://s907.photobucket.com/user/merlinthegreat01/media/P1050519_zpsjazhtlhs.jpg.html)

My little collection so far,I've tried to get one of every date made.

This is be no means all I have as I have lots of multiples.

From the right,"CARR" marked and dated 1966,through to 2014 on far left.

The rarest is the 1983 model as this manufacturer only made them for this one year.

Not sure when the bottle opener was added,sometime between '66 and '75 as this is the earliest of mine that has it.
If you have a model before this with the opener,that would narrow the timeframe.

Awesome bit of kit!:thup:

And I thought collecting knives was a bit strange. You need help - seriously

Morgo
15-02-2018, 13:51
I have one less than a foot from me now. Its attached to my Swiss army pocket knife that sits next to the computer.

gelandangan
15-02-2018, 16:59
Ben Duncan from Wildfire gears have FRED for sale 5 pieces with post for $17.50

anttzz
16-02-2018, 11:32
Yes, I still have a few around the place including the kitchen.
I used to keep one in the little slot on the side of the mag pouch( old style pouch) on my webbing so it was always with me.

Anthony

Dutchy357
19-02-2018, 17:45
Hi Guys

I am surprised that no one else has commented.

Retroject posed the question:


Bonus points for anyone that can tell me the NSN for a FRED


Ausblade replied with:


7330-66-010-0933, I just found one last night.


Zanussi added:


http://i907.photobucket.com/albums/ac272/merlinthegreat01/P1050521_zpsfdf6l2qd.jpg (http://s907.photobucket.com/user/merlinthegreat01/media/P1050521_zpsfdf6l2qd.jpg.html)

Which shows a different NSN.


I went back to the examples I had in my collection and had a close look.

It is apparently so. It appears that the NSN has changed over time.

38291
7330-66-010-0931

38292
7330-66-010-0933


I wonder why this happened? :confused:

Dutchy