How much alcohol did British soldiers drink while stationed in Israel?

Hundreds of glass liquor bottles from a British Army camp in World War I were discovered during an archaeological dig near Ramle, offering a glimpse into the lives of the soldiers during their campaign against Ottoman forces in 1917.

The bottles were found in a building that dates back to the Ottoman Empire but was used by British forces, according to Ron Toueg, director of excavations for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

“On November 15, 1917, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under the command of General Allenby conquered the area around the towns of Lod and Ramle”, explained the architect, curator and British army researcher in Palestine Sherri Mark in a video uploaded by the IAA. .

“Before occupying Jerusalem, the army camped in the area where the archaeological excavations took place: the headquarters of Bir Salam – Camp de Ramle and Camp de Sarafand. The army was based there for about nine months until a decision was made to continue conquering the country, “she explained.

A rubbish pit was found next to the building and provided insight into the daily life of British troops.

Hundreds of liquor bottles were found during archaeological excavations at the British WWI encampment near Ramle (credit: IAA)

Some of the finds included parts of uniforms, such as buttons and belts, as well as the tip of a British officer’s swaggering staff, which they liked to wear under their armpits. The swaggering staff is the first of its kind found in Israeli excavations.

The most widespread discovery, however, was alcohol.

Almost 70% of the trash discovered were glass bottles, which had contained European wine, beer, gin and whiskey. The large amount of alcohol suggests that the soldiers drank heavily, perhaps out of boredom or to cope with the arduous and sometimes terrible experiences of war.

About Walter Bartholomew

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