Everything was rationed at sea – but beer !

Posted: 12/16/2011 in all marine news

Gareth Crickmer –

Historic naval documents being auctioned in South Tyneside later today reveal 18th-century sailors suffered supply shortages – of everything but beer.

Pork, oatmeal, beef, butter and all other foods were rationed during British war manoeuvres around the Mediterranean in 1718.

But only their daily intake of beer escaped limitation. The order is detailed in one of 26 documents going under the hammer at Boldon Auction Galleries.

Spanning the months March to October, they were sent by Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Byng to Admiral George Delaval.

Both were based in the Mediterranean while Britain engaged in conflict with Spain.

Caroline Hodges, a Boldon Auction Galleries director, described the items as “fantastic”.

She said: “I was surprised and very excited when they were presented to us.

“You can chart the battles and see what was happening. It has been a real pleasure to be able to look through them.

“They are not easy to read or follow, but each is like a piece of a jigsaw showing how these men lived.

“There is a romantic idea of life at sea and of the battles fought at this time, but these show what it was really like.

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