THE BRIT CLUB on DIEGO GARCIA,
BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY
Hotbed of the Provisional Peoples' Revolution!
DG 1 in 1971 - the hut in the foreground eventually became the "Ship Inn", the name of the original Brit Club.
The site was located across the street from the current Brit Club. Photo by Roger Allie.
The Very First Brit Club all spruced up - "The Ship Inn".
This photo is from Dave Wall's excellent web site about DG in '76-'77, when this building was in use!
The Brit Club circa 1983 - from a photograph hanging in the refurbished club today...
Notice the friendly atmosphere, white picket fence, etc.,
compared to today's Club, which comes complete with chain link and barbed wire fences and
For more photos of today's club, go to the PhotoTour page. (these photos by Cindy Qoth).
FLASH MESSAGE TRAFFIC!
The Brit Club is still up and kicking. Be sure to visit on your next vacation to the Republic!
Stories about the
History and Traditions of "The Brit Club"
Added Bonus: Click here to Learn to Speak British! Another Site: effingpot.com!
Got a Brit Club Story You'd Like to Share? Send it to me. Do it today!
The Brit Club started as a private
club for the British Forces stationed on the
island. These were 2 officers, and about 25
Royal Navy sailors, and 15 Royal Marines.
The RN people pretended to be "BIOT Police", while
the RMs were the "BIOT Customs" officials.
Their official uniform was Khaki shorts, chuka
boots and a safari shirt with epaulets (which
proved to be the only practical uniform by any
group on the island). The Brit Forces commander
was an RN Lieutenant Commander frocked to
Commander, as the British Representative (the
"Brit Rep"); his XO was an RM Leftenant frocked to
Hey you, you Zulu
Well, at the Brit Club, the gobs would start this chant and form a circle around one of their shipmates who would then clamber up on a table and perform a strip tease. Quite a sight actually. But then, apparently, the appointee had to wander around the bar naked for an hour or so after receiving such recognition. I'm not sure if this was a ship-board custom, or reserved for impressing Americans.
The other, and more interesting "dance" was the
"Flaming Asshole Dance." Here, five or six
naked British Sailors would each roll up a
newspaper section, and hold one end of it between
their nether cheeks. Then, a compatriot (one
still trusted with fire at this point in the
evening's revelries) would light the newspapers on
fire. A suitably fast and loud rock and roll
number would be played on the record player, and
the human candles would then dance around with
clenched buttocks until the last one fanned out
his newspaper and was declared the "winner."
I don't recall what they won, but certainly it was
the respect of their comrades, and the awed
silence of the few Americans left in the bar.
On a day to day basis, it was virtually impossible to even see a woman, let alone talk with one, for most of those 3,000 men on the island. This was especially true for the 150 or so officers stationed on the island (almost all the women were enlisted - there were only 5 or 6 female officers on the island at any one time).
The value of the Brit Club to the entire community of Diego Garcia was it was really the only "all-ranks" club on the island. There was also the United Seaman's Service (USS) Club - the Merchant Marine equavalent of a USO club. But it was primarily a restaurant, and close to downtown. It was also frequented by the senior senior rankers who disapproved of "all-ranks" activities. So those of us who weren't eaten up with that sort of thing went to the Brit Club. There, they didn't care if you were Brit, GI, Contractor, Merchant Mariner, Flip, or Moslem, if you wanted to buy a $10.00 card, you could come into the club, listen to the rock and roll, and see several women at one time!
In fact, the women flocked to the club, because it was "all-ranks" and they could behave like women and turn down the advances of a senior person, should that be their desire. On the other hand, they could spend time with senior rankers without the odious "fraternization" accusations they would have got if they went to one of the regular Navy-run clubs, or even to the Seaman's Club. After all, what was a senior officer doing in an all-ranks club anyway? At least, that was the theory.
At the Brit Club, they could actually talk and dance with whover you chose, and sometimes, just sometimes, some GI would get lucky. If you didn't, you got off easy. Women on Dodge, especially at the Brit Club, were "cheap dates" because if you worked it right, you could talk with them most of the evening, and other guys would buy the drinks (while trying to cut in on the conversation of course). For the women, it was in fact a true tropical paradise. They literally could pick and choose from among hundreds of eligible, handsom suitors, and I never heard of any of them paying for a drink, or a dinner.....or anything, come to think of it.
Why the Brit Club Became the Focus of the Revolutionary Effort?
Well, when it came time to consider declaring the islands independence from the British and their American overlords, the Brit Club was the natural place for sedition to flourish. The leaders of the revolution used the Brit Club's reputation for "anything goes" and its magnetic appeal to all cultural groups, to ferment the revolutionary ideas which grew into the PPDRDG. Although the idea of the Provisional Republic started in the "British/Air Force Friendship Society" clique, it took root and grew among the many factions which frequented the Brit Club. Here are some photos of some of the conspirators. The names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals involved. Even today, positive identification of the "Brit Club Conspirators" can result in political persecution in their home countries!.
These two (we'll call them "Nell" and "Andie") were the "gate guards" at the Brit Club. They sat on these two chairs (just inside the main entrance) every Friday night, and checked out everyone who came in, making careful note of any disloyal counter-revolutionaries. They also never had to buy a drink, or ask for any chips, or anything. What a deal!
Here's a pretty typical photo
of a Revolutionary Cell at work. The three
women are the "hard corps" of the Cell. The
woman on the right (we'll call her "Meredith"),
was a US Navy helicopter mechanic.
Nevertheless, she was involved in the recruitment
of many of the Revolutionaries who eventually
formed the footsoldiers of the effort. Here,
she and two other typical Navy women attempt to
recruit another sailor. The Revolutionary
Leadership relied heavily on the efforts of this
Here's one of the British Cells. Photos of these groups are much harder to locate, as the British Revolutionaries faced much stricter discipline for their activities that did the Americans. This Cell was named after its ringleader (we'll call him "Dave" - the fellow on the right in the photo). "Dave" used his position as the drug-dog handler for the BIOT Police as his front to infiltrate every aspect of life on Diego on behalf of the Revolution. His Cell mate (we'll call him "Jenny") is seen here attempting to recruit a recalcitrant American servicewoman into the Revolutionary Cell.
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