Greene King

This year Greene King partnered with the Legion to brew a special edition beer called Flanders Fields. It’s going down a treat and with 20p of every pint sold donated to the Legion we’ve already raised thousands of pounds.

Available in pubs until the end of November, try your local Greene King pub or Royal British Legion club or alternatively you can ask your local landlord to put it on their bar.

To order it for your pub or branch please contact Greene King’s customer sales team on 0845 600 1799 or email customersales@greeneking.co.uk.

Stories from the First World War

The Victory Ground

WW1 took a huge toll on the employees of Greene King and didn’t escape any family. Managing Director Edward Lake had twelve children; six sons and six daughters. All six of his sons fought in the trenches but perhaps most surprisingly, they all returned. His gratitude knew no bounds and since fellow board member Sir Walter Greene’s two sons also came back, the Greene King board agreed to purchase 26 acres of land and open a sports ground to commemorate the return of most of the brewery’s work force from war and to honour the twenty-one who were killed. The result was the Victory Ground in Bury St Edmunds which was opened in July 1920.

A makeshift dray

During World War One lorries used as drays were hard to come by so director Harold Lake purchased an old Daimler, had the roof taken off and created a makeshift dray.. Sid Fuller, chauffeur to the directors described the Daimler ‘…and had the body taken off and a lorry type body put on but it, the engine and clutch wasn’t up to the job, you see. Always having trouble with the clutch, coming out, slipping and one thing and another.’

Bottle beer boys

During WW1 over 90 men from the brewery were drafted into the war effort, serving in a number of different regiments, with 21 killed in action.  Twelve men were initially exempt from conscription. They included the company secretary Mr Harold Lake, four motor drivers, the bottle beer foreman, the spirit stores foreman, Ellison the brewery mechanic, Sparrow the engine driver at the brewery and Drury, the motor mechanic. However by March 1916 most of these exemptions had been reviewed and withdrawn. 

 

Additional pay

Throughout the war Greene King board remained a dedicated employer to its workforce, gifting war bonuses to employees, extra monies for coal for employees homes and regular donations to local charities including the Suffolk General Hospital, Red Cross and Suffolk Pensions of War Fund.

On 1st November 1916 the board approved the gifting of additional pay for employees towards the extra cost of coal - £1 for each married man at the brewery, 10 farthings to unmarried men, £5 for married clerks and £2.10 to unmarried ones. Each boy under 18 who worked at the brewery received 10 farthings.  

The Old Brewer's House

During the war Bury St Edmunds was struck twice by German Zepplin raids. The first on Friday 30th April 1915 resulted in three explosive bombs on the town and numerous incendiary bombs. Three bombs fell on Crown Street including at No28, the home of Ernest Symonds, Greene King’s head brewer. The incendiary bomb struck the tall brick chimney at the back of the building, knocking off its pot before landing in the yard. Today, The Old Brewer’s House’ is a bed and breakfast establishment, next door to the Dog and Partridge pub.

Contact us

If you would like to write to us, our postal address is:
Thank You Team, Remembrance Department
199 Borough High Street
London SE1 1AA

Or email us at: remembrance@britishlegion.org.uk