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11-05-2012, 17:09
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From the latest edition of the local CAMRA magazine Opening Times (http://www.ssmcamra.org.uk/archive/may12.pdf) (Page 13):

Beartown Brewery of Congleton, Cheshire has launched a bottled 5.5% ABV premium beer in tribute to Wojtek ‘The bear who went to war’. The story of Wojtek has been set in folklore since the 500 pound bear had his most famous hour alongside Polish troops at The Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944. Demand for the tribute beer is now growing quickly among the domestic and UK Polish community, as well as from international markets where the story of Wojtek is legendary.
Head brewer Ian Burns (pictured above with a bottle of the new beer) told us “Wojtek the bear was discovered as a cub in Iran by Polish troops as they travelled through the Middle East to join the allied forces. He is known to have drunk beer and enjoyed cigarettes with the soldiers. He was officially enlisted and given the rank of Corporal to allow him to travel to Italy where, at The Battle of Monte Cassino, he helped move artillery shells to assist the soldiers.”
“Since then an insignia of Wojtek carrying an artillery shell, has adorned the uniform and vehicles of his comrades in the Polish 22nd Transport Company. At the end of the war Wojtek retired to live at Edinburgh Zoo, and there are still those who can remember him enjoying cigarettes there.” Bears swigging beer and smoking fags – that would no doubt be classed as animal cruelty nowadays.

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