Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Student buys Whisky Galore bottle

Whisky bottle being sold at auction
The bottle was bought by a gap year student from Clackmannanshire

A bottle of whisky recovered by a Sussex diver from a cargo ship whose sinking inspired a film has fetched 2,200 at auction.

Bob Pert retrieved the undamaged bottle in a search of the SS Politician, which sank in the Outer Hebrides in 1941 while carrying about 240,000 bottles.

Islanders celebrated with the looted alcohol, hiding the whisky before government officials could find it.

Buyer Tam Burt, said: "I like to drink whisky but this will stay untouched."

The 1949 comedy film Whisky Galore! was inspired by their raids on the wreck.

Speaking from Paris, Mr Burt, an 18-year-old gap student from Dollar, Clackmannanshire, said: "I read the book [Whisky Galore! by Compton Mackenzie] as a child and I really enjoyed it.

"Later I won a scholarship and on that I investigated the original story by travelling to Eriskay and the AM Politician pub named after the vessel."

Mr Burt added: "When I saw the bottle was up for auction I decided to go for it. In my opinion the bottle was grossly undervalued."

The Daily Mirror commissioned a team of divers including Mr Pert to find the SS Politician in 1970, and the team brought back six undamaged Ballantine Scotch whisky bottles.

Mr Pert, 61, of Seaford, was allowed by the Receiver of Wreck to hold on to the only uncontaminated bottle, which has remained unopened ever since.

Prefers red wine

He said: "We spent three weeks searching for the wreck in the Eriskay Bay and were just about to give up when we were given a tip by a local as to its whereabouts.

"We were literally on the last roll of the dice when we saw this case just sitting there."

Following the sale at Gorringes Auctioneers in Lewes, East Sussex, Mr Pert, who prefers red wine, said: "I'm very pleased with what it went for.

"When I brought it along I didn't think many people would pay much for what is at the end of the day just a bottle of whisky.

"But people appear to like the story behind it and I'm delighted. I'm sure my family will be wanting a cut of the proceeds now."

Print Sponsor

Police hunt whisky galore thieves
06 Dec 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
'Whisky' sailor returns to island
15 May 06 |  Scotland
Whisky film to make it a double
28 Jul 04 |  Scotland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific