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December 29, 2005

More militaria stuff...

Yesterday's post having hit a chord with some, here's a follow-up...

Obviously, aside from eating, you have to drink. The Castle Collection has *several* items in it related to drinking... heavily, in some cases.

Since this is a photo-heavy post, I'm going to put the rest in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

For example - drinking vessels...

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What you see here on the left is a US Civil War era ginger beer bottle, recovered from a union campsite of the Atlanta Campaign. To the right front of that bottle is a German WWI enameled steel cup, recovered from a Verdun dugout. Behind that one, the dark tin cup is a US Indian Wars era soldiers drinking cup, provenance unknown, but probably just surplussed out of the warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant is stored, among all that other stuff. The brown enameled cup in the center is Brit WWII, but just a simple release from surplus stock. Behind that to the right is a Shultheiss beer bottle, German WWI, recovered from, I think, an Ypres dugout. Shultheiss is still brewing, btw. The small glass in front of that is a WWI German schnapps glass, from the same dugout as the enameled cup. This is another shot of that glass - which is as clean as it gets - it's etched and deformed (note it isn't round) from the time it spent buried, and possibly heat damage. The last, shiny cup on the right is Victorian-era British, also a surplus release from some forgotten storage site. Released in the 90's, mind you. 1990's.

Up until recently, the Big Piece in the Castle Assemblage of Artifacts was the Brit WWI rum jug, shown here.

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The initials "SRD" stand for "Soldiers Rum Depot" or, as the soldiers preferred - "Seldom Reaches Destination" or "Suddenly Runs Dry." There has long been a tradition in Brit service of the rum ration, a "tot a day". Attached to the jug, as you would find them in the trenches, is a slightly anachronistic drinking cup - this one being Australian WWII and recovered from an outpost line machinegun position at Tobruk. In this pic you can see the "D-Broad Arrow-D" mark of Australian ownership. [Alan - if you can find the wicker wrap for one of these jugs and send it our way - we'd be even on Silly Hats (though I think the RCMP wouldn't care if you were to send cannon, tanks, or firearms this way...)]

But! The Artifact Holdings have expanded by an even bigger item - one that might perhaps explain some historical results... Many armies have used wine as a substitute for water (see the Romans, among others) as a way around using nasty local water supplies and for other perceived health benefits (aside from morale - though I'm given to understand that the Roman wine ration wasn't all that tasty, nor terribly alcoholic). The artifact also shows that "boxed" wine isn't an invention of 'Murican West Coast mass-vintners. Nope. Leave it to the French.

Say hello to the 1955-dated French Army "Vin" jug. Still serviceable, and which will be dispensing cheap wine at the Castle Blogmeet...

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No shite, people.

Update: CAPT H provides the following Canadian cultural referents for SRD, which offer the very plausible explanation of SRD standing for Soldiers Rum, Demerara (Demerara being a type of rum made from Demerara sugar.)