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The Royal Navy’s Secret Weapon

HMS Menestheues, the floating brewery.

THE ROYAL NAVY’S SECRET WEAPON.

 

THE Royal Navy has innovated many unusual, even unique ships. The most exceptional must surely be HMS Menestheus, a floating brewery with the Pacific Fleet Train.

 

The Pacific Area of Operations was a vast region with squadrons operating at great distances from the forward supply bases. Jack has always enjoyed his drink and Menestheus, a former Blue Funnel Line vessel was converted to fill this need.

 

Menestheus, designated a fleet amenities ship was a revolutionary design and many problems had to be overcome. Eventually Davy Jones’ Brewery was brewing 1800 gallons a day using distilled seawater, malt extract, hop concentrate and yeast at 9d (4p) a pint. The 17-strong brewing team under George Brow, former head of Truman’s Brewery produced a palatable drink that proved to be a huge success.

 

Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, later Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fraser of North Cape, commanded in the area and attended a review: Pacific Showboat aboard Menestheus.

 

Menestheus had a theatre/cinema, canteen, NAAFI shop and restaurant, reading and writing rooms and various shops, including a tailors, barbers and cobblers. There was also a small chapel so that every need was catered for.

 

The Americans also swarmed aboard as the US Navy is alcohol-free.

 

Menestheus remained in service until 1946, returning home to be stripped in a Tyneside shipyard and returned to her original condition for handing back to her owners.

 

The last of her beer was enjoyed in the NAAFI Club of Newcastle upon Tyne.

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