Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Publicans moaning again

This time it isn't the increase in tax that they're moaning about, it's competition from an army canteen.

I can see their point. Soldiers are banned from going into pubs in the evening and at the same time the army opens effectively its own pub. With publicans already worried about the loss of trade caused by the 50% increase in the price of a pint, losing a reliable thirsty bunch like soldiers must have been a blow.

Dundee publicans consider that they have grievance in regard the restrictions. The latest regulation imposed upon them was that after six o'clock no man in uniform could be supplied with intoxicating liquor of any kind, the publichouse being, as the phrase has it, "out of bounds."

Synchronising with that scheme, a canteen was opened in connection with one of the Territorial regiments in Dundee. By the opening of this canteen the men in uniform have, according to the "trade," just as good facilities for taking liquor as they had with the free run of the public-houses. Under military regulations men of rank under sergeant can have beer from 12.30 till 1.30, and from 6 p.m. till 9.30. Sergeants and other non-commissioned officers have special canteen of their own, and can have beer, spirits, &c., from 6 a.m. till 11 p.m. They have also the right to introduce friends, on the understanding that the latter do not pay.

Inquiry shows, however, that these canteens are carried on with great care and apparently not with a view to securing great profit from the drink consumed. The intention of the authorities is that when drink is indulged it should be of a most moderate supply, and particular care is taken that no drink is sold to man who shows the slightest tendency towards being affected. The supervision is very strict, and is in the hands of non-commissioned officers."
Dundee Courier - Thursday 24 December 1914, page 6.  
I can't help thinking that assuming the canteen would be run strictly because NCOs were in charge is a bit naive. Being in an army camp, it wasn't as if anyone could see what was going on there.

Had I been unlucky enough to be in the army in 1914, I'd have been shovelling as much booze down my neck as I could. You didn't know how much longer you'd have a neck to throw drink down.

What beer did they drink in army canteens? I know that beer was specially brewed for the military in WW I. I also know that Scottish breweries were the main suppliers of the British armed forces. So it was probably Scottish beer the squaddies were drinking in the Dundee canteen.

No comments: