The Good Pub Guide’s Own Brew Pub of the Year 2019 has created a one-off beer to commemorate 100-years since the armistice that ended the First World War.
Named after the first and last soldiers who died in The Great War, The Grainstore Brewery Tap in Station Approach, Oakham, will be serving First & Last throughout November and donating 5p from every pint sold towards Rutland County Council’s Tommy statue project.
The council aims to raise £750 to purchase a six-foot statue as part of the Royal British Legion’s There But Not There campaign.
The brewery tap also hosts the Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club every month.
Grainstore director Peter Atkinson said: “We work closely with the Armed Forces and veterans in Rutland and wanted to create something to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.
“The beer is named First & Last to commemorate Private John Parr who was killed 17 days after Britain declared war and Private George Ellison who died 90 minutes before the Armistice of 1918.
“Coincidentally, their graves sit opposite each other in the St Symphorien military cemetery, just south-east of Mons in Belgium, which my business partner William visited recently to pay his respects.”
The beer is 4.3%abv and is red in colour, created using a mix of English hops and blended using Pale Ale, Crystal and Brown Malts.
It will be available behind the bar at The Grainstore Brewery Tap and from Grainstore Brewery stockists across the Midlands throughout November and 5p from every pint or £3.50 from every firkin sold will go towards the Tommy project.
Peter added: “When we learned of the Council’s Tommy statue project we knew that the sale of the beer would be the perfect opportunity to contribute towards a worthy project that will benefit the community for years to come.”
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Photo: Preview of pump clip for First and Last
Sitting opposite each other in the St Symphorien military cemetery, just south-east of Mons in Belgium, are the gravestones of the first and last British soldiers to be killed in the first world war.
The proximity of the graves of Private John Parr, killed 17 days after Britain declared war, and Private George Ellison, who died 90 minutes before the armistice, is said to be a coincidence – a consequence of the fact that Mons was lost to the Germans at the opening of the war and regained at the very end.
Parr was born in 1898 in Barnet and grew up in North Finchley, in London. He took a job as a golf caddy upon leaving school and joined the army at the age of 14 – five years younger than the legal age to fight at the time.
There are no photos of Parr. His niece told the BBC that he was 5ft 3ins, with brown hair and brown eyes. Parr became a reconnaissance cyclist – a soldier who rode ahead to gather information on the advancing enemy – with the Middlesex Regiment.
In August 1914, Parr's battalion was stationed in the village of Bettignies, in northern France. Historians disagree about the cause of his death, but the most common account is that Parr was sent to find a missing unit and was killed by rifle fire on 21 August after encountering a German cavalry patrol.
His body was never identified. His mother wrote to Parr's regiment repeatedly over the following years, asking to be informed of her son's fate, but she received no information. The age given on Parr's gravestone is 20. He was actually 17.
Ellison, of Royal Irish Lancers, was killed at 9.30am on 11 November 1918, shot while out on a patrol on the outskirts of Mons. He was from Leeds and had been a member of the army as a younger man before leaving to marry Hannah Maria Burgan and to become a coalminer.
He was recalled to the army shortly before the outbreak of the war and survived the battles of Mons, Ypres, Armentieres, Loos, Bassée, Lens and Cambrai. The age stated on his gravestone is 40.
He was survived by his widow and his then four-year-old son, James Cornelius Ellison. There is one surviving photograph of Ellison, printed in a newspaper at the time of his death.
For review opportunities or to speak to a member of The Grainstore Brewery team, contact Megan Allen at Rural Roots Media on 07730 599358 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Grainstore Brewery was founded in 1994 by Tony Davis and Mike Davies. They converted a derelict Victorian grain store next to Oakham Railway Station by installing fermenting vessels, along with copper and conditioning tanks which eventually became the 15-barrel brew house that is so popular today. Tony’s son, William Davis and his business partner Peter Atkinson took the reins in 2014 and have continued to grow the business’ legacy.
Discover more here: https://www.grainstorebrewery.com
The Grainstore Brewery is located at Station Approach, Oakham LE15 6RE