The passage below is taken from a WW I propaganda magazine, as you can probably tell from its upbeat tone. But it does tell us something about beer, so I can forgive its other sins. Dann of Pretty Things passed it on to me. He was wearing a very similar uniform at the X Ale launch last week. Makes me think that we really should brew a WW I beer sometime. He's already got the dressing-up gear.
"LIGHT GREEK BEER FOR THE BRITISH TROOPS LANDED AT SALONIKA: ROLLING CASKS UP-HILL TO THE CAMP.There's only one thing I know about Greek beer from this period. That it was brewed to the Reinheitsgebot because when Greece became a monarchy in the 19th century, they imported a Bavarian prince to be king. Germany was the prime source of royalty for several centuries. All those little states meant there were plenty minor royals knocking about.
Greece produces a remarkably light beer - lighter than the lightest lager - and supplies of this were obtained for the British troops at Salonika. As mentioned in another page, the camp at Lembed, to which they marched after landing, was some four miles from the landing-place. Sellers of fruit and cheap drinks, we read,were sollicitous to offer their wares as soon as the ranks of the French troops broke up on arrival at camp, and no doubt the British had similar experiences. Later on, the soldiers were allowed to go into Salonika, where they were soon on friendly terms with the Greek soldiers in the town, and the diversity of uniforms about the streets made a picturesque sight. May complimentary remarks were made about the fine bearing and equipment of our own men."
"Illustrated War News", Nov. 3, 1915, page 23.
I'm still trying to get my head around "lighter than the lightest lager". Isn't that water? I doubt the soldiers gave a toss. I know how coarse and heavy those British uniforms were. They were doubtless glad of anything liquid and alcoholic. Especially after rolling those barrels up a hill.
I hadn't realised that British forces had fought in the Balkans during WW I. I would tell you more, but it's such a complicated and confusing campaign I don't have the space. Or the inclination, if I'm honest.