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Ena Bowles

The last two messages from Windy, and Chas have highlighted my fears of a failing memory. I had been mixing up the Suez crisis and the Oil lift all those years later. Ted was involved with both, but of course the first was with The Hastings and the second with The Britannia's. Therefor Windy's date will be correct about the origins of the tie. (What a gentleman not to mention what a nig nog I am)
However I am pleased it has given us more information about the actual oil lift.
It was definitely the oil lift which was the connection with Ted and the crew being held overnight at gunpoint though. In order to check his log books, I'd still like to know the date and who were the rest of the crew.
Ena Bowles.

Ian S Partridge

Ah! The Tie!

Yes, I also have one - green with red oil barrels and pale blue mushrooms.

I never had one at the time but much later, when I'd left the RAF and was working in central London, I went looking in a shop in Jermyn Street which dealt in regimental and suchlike ties. Lo and behold, there was The Tie!

I have no idea just why I decided to go looking at that point, but I'm pleased I did.

Mine is also somewhat dog-eared, and rather narrower than modern ties.

Why don't we all bring our Mushroom Ties to the Reunion and mount a display - just for a bit of fun?

See you there.


Chas (Charlie) Bidmead

As the years go by the memories fade and are somewhat embellished by the exaggerations built in during the many retellings of the heady days of the ‘Oil Lift’. I was in at the start when we were diverted to Nairobi and put up in the resplendent Spread Eagle hotel where we ‘rested’ for many a long day with no idea of what was going on.
As I recall, that was when one of our more educated pilots came up with the Clubs latin motto, which I have forgotten but translated as ‘Keep them in the dark and feed them manure’. Much later on the Tie was created and Mushroom Airways, complete with dayglo mushrooms on the aircraft tails evolved.
However, I recently came across this article on the UKMAMS website which claims they were responsible. They would.

As a side note, I certainly remember the high jinks in the Kilimanjaro hotel swimming pool and our subsequent departure from the country.

Windy Deere

I am a proud owner of a Mushroom Club tie, adorned with pictures of Oil Drums and Mushrooms,interspersed with spluttered detritus gathered during our annual reunions. I must say that I believed that the genesis of this tie was the Oil Lift of 1966, during which our esteemed government attempted to bring down the Ian Smith government of Rhodesia. ("In weeks rather than months". It actually took eleven years.) According to Ena, the tie's orgin was much earlier than that, so could anyone shed further light on the subject. It is certainly true that in any case, Darkness and Manure featured large in the sentiments of the crews involved. I wuz there!!

Ena Bowles

Re. the previous comments of Muriel Hardy and Dave Berry, they bring back to mind the Suez Crisis in 1956/57. The involvement of The Hastings in the ensuing Oil Lift led to one crew facing a line of well aimed rifles as they exited the plane. After being captured they were held overnight still at gunpoint by dear Idi Armin's chappies. I believe they suspected that ammunition was being imported or some such activities. "Entebbe" strikes a bell but I truly am unsure of where they landed then.
Perhaps some of you still have the special tie which was designed to express the situation for the crews involved in those 'Lifts'. (Oil Barrels and Mushrooms)The mushroom tie I believe it was called. I.E. Fed on manure and kept in the dark were, I believe the sentiments.
Ted was one of the crew held at gunpoint which is why I remember the event. I hope my memory is not too far out and perhaps someone can give a date and place of that particular trip and then I might find the whole crew in Ted's Log Books.
Ena Bowles.

David Berry

What a great rallying call, Muriel! It would have made good text for the equivalent of that iconic WW1 poster - without the moustache, of course!

We didn't have our Bosnias, Iraqs, Afghanistans but we were supporting the fragile balance between East and West - and all those 'Small Wars' that could have ignited into something more major.

The fact that we enjoyed being incredibly efficient, enjoyed the comradeship - and all those extra special trips - should not dilute the fact that we were part of that 'Cold War Machine'.

Shame it fell only to Sky to concede the present day 'Transport' contribution. The BBC might perhaps be shamed into acknowledging the RAF's contribution alongside that of the Army. As an ex-Plymouth lad, I might be conscious that the Royal Navy also needs a bit of a mention!

Well done, Muriel.

Muriel Hardy

This year marks 40 years since I left 511 SQN at Brize. Where have all those years gone to!! Today, I'm having an "Inside RAF Brize Norton" day - a series of 7 one hour films about Brize shown on Sky 1 over the last week or so which I have recorded. Very different from the Brize of the 1970s but very interesting, bringing to the fore the pride which we all feel for our RAF. Nice to see the essential contribution our service makes to current conflicts when general media focus is on the Army.

Ian S Partridge

Eric Reeves

There is to be a Memorial Service for Eric on April 25th at 2pm at Oundle Church. Oundle is near Peterborough.
Unfortunately I am not able to be there, but I know quite a few members can make it.


Ian S Partridge

Yes - welcome back Keith. I was on 99 from 1962 to 1966, then ATS(B) 1966 - 1968. We may well have flown together.

David has beaten me to it in asking for your details and suggesting he send a membership form.

Hope you can make it to the Reunion on 17th May, David or I can let you have a booking form.

Britannia Association Chairman

Ian S Partridge

I have been told that Don (Freddie) Laws has died.
His funeral service will be at Holy Trinity Church, Witney, on March 26th at 1100 hrs.


Eric Healey

Friends of the Britannia

Thank you for your response to the Friends of the Britannia.

I'm afraid we've run out of key-rings and the original supplier appears to have gone bust so we can't get any more. However we have found an alternative and are going to restock. The DVDs are not a problem as we burn them ourselves as required, and our DVD machines are very busy.

In the meantime we will not bank any cheques until we have sent out the complete membership packs.


David Berry

Welcome back, Keith. Why don't you let me have you address and I can send you the latest newsletter and a membership application form!

Keith Munday

Have just found this site. I was on 99 from late 1964 to late 1968, as a "Q" then on Wessex etc

Ena Bowles

Interesting to note Ian, your memory of flying round the middle east in Feb 50 years ago in XL636.
No doubt Ted was pleased to have you keep his seat warm as I note from his log books that he also flew in XL636 a month later with L/L Rafferty to Khormaksar-Gan and Gan- Changi. Ena Bowles.

Ian S Partridge

More sad news, I'm afraid.

I have just heard that Eric Reeves died last week, with Val at his side, after a spell in a nursing home.

There is to be a private cremation, followed by a memorial service after April 5th, when a granddaughter is to be married.

Please hold Val and family in your thoughts and prayers..


Harry Liddell

Thanks John for letting us know your Dad has come home.

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