Bottle of Australian Army Canteens Service Dewar's White Label whisky : Sergeant W G McCormick, RAAF

Place Oceania: Australia, Queensland
Accession Number REL46427
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Foil paper, Foodstuff – wet, Glass, Metal, Paper
Maker John Dewar & Sons Ltd
Place made United Kingdom: Scotland, Perth and Kinross, Perth
Date made Unknown
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Flat rectangular brown glass bottle of John Dewar & Son's Ltd White Label whisky, still with contents and sealed with original white coated foil. The front of the bottle carries a wartime economy deckle-edged cream paper label printed in black and red, but missing the traditional coloured image of a Scottish piper. The label shows the royal coat of arms and 'BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT', a selection of the 50 gold and prize medals awarded to Dewar's and ' "White Label"/ A FINE SCOTCH WHISKY/ OF RARE AGE/ John Dewar & Sons Ltd/ DISTILLERS? PERTH/ SCOTLAND/ London Officers, Dewar House, Haymarket, S.W.1./ NET CONTENTS 1 PINT 6FL OZs./ GUARANTEED WHOLLY DISTILLED AND MATURED IN SCOTLAND'. The top left corner of the label is overprinted in red with 'BOTTLED SPECIALLY/ FOR/ AUSTRALIAN ARMY CANTEENS SERVICE', between two red lines. Perforated numbers stamped across the centre of the label, '5 [May] 45 [1945]', indicate the month and year of issue to the canteen.

Moulded into the lower front glass of the bottle is 'DEWARS'; into the upper back of the bottle ' "WHITE LABEL" DISTILLED IN SCOTLAND'; and the lower back 'THIS BOTTLE IS THE PROPERTY OF JOHN DEWAR & SONS LTD'.

History / Summary

This bottle of whisky was acquired by Sergeant William George McCormick, RAAF, during his service with a mobile cinema unit in Queensland in 1945. During the war manufacturers supplied spirits to the armed forces in flat rectangular bottles to facilitate storage and transport. The red Australian Army Canteens Service overprinting on the label of the bottle indicates that it was duty free. Theoretically only officers could purchase spirits from canteens, other ranks being restricted to beer, but there was no regulation preventing the re-sale of spirits once they had left the canteen.

Born in 1909, William McCormick enlisted in Sydney the RAAF on 23 September 1941. Initially mustered as a Guard V, he was remustered as a Cinema Operator II in April 1942, shortly before being posted to 6 Operational Training Unit at Nowra, NSW. McCormick was promoted to sergeant in August 1943. In March 1944 he was posted to the mobile cinema unit based at Headquarters North East Area at Townsville. He was discharged from the RAAF on 3 December 1945.