Delaware played a role out of proportion to its small size in winning World War II

US sailors throughout the world would have been very familiar with boned chicken and chicken and vegetable rations produced by the Richardson and Robbins Company in Dover, a sprawling complex on Kings Highway that now houses the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Established in 1856 and moved to Kings Highway in 1881, it was the first cannery in Delaware and a pioneer in the fledgling canning industry. When the United States entered World War II, the company had an international reputation for quality that led to its selection by the War Department to supply Delaware-grown chicken to the US Navy. Richardson and Robbins also produced canned fruits, vegetables, and seafood, but was particularly known for its plum pudding.

In November 1942 the company arranged for 20 cases of the pudding to be shipped to Delaware National Guard soldiers stationed in the South Pacific as a Christmas gift from the people of Kent County.

A contemporary news article said, “The pudding will furnish a true Delaware dish for Delaware’s soldiers thousands of miles away from home.”