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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.

Brit Club Ship Inn 1976
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!

Brit Club 1983
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
corporate sponsorship!

For more photos of today's club, go to the PhotoTour page. (these photos by Cindy Qoth).

Brit Club 2001

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:!
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 Captain.
     All the rest of the Brit Party were enlisted.  The RN people were all in their career-equivalent of our Master-at-Arms or Military Police, and acted like cops everywhere - interested in enforcing the law, but willing to give a "warning ticket."  The Royal Marines were another matter entirely.  The Royal Marines (there's only about 5,000 of them) are more like our Special Forces ("Green Berets") or SEALS.  Their basic training is over a year long, and they are among the most hard-minded men I have every encountered.  Very, very tough and dangerous.  Like Ozzie, in the photo below, they all had tatoos everywhere, and everyone I met claimed to have personally slit the throats of a dozen or so Argentine Draftees during the Falklands War.  Some had shot so many Catholics in Northern Ireland, the IRA had special bounties on their heads.  Very tough hombres indeed, if the stories were true (and I had no reason to doubt them).
     Well, in 1982, Americans were permitted into the Brit Club by invitation only.  They tended to invite people like me, who controlled the passenger manifest on flights off and on the island, and therefore, whether they got off to go on leave or go home for good!  There was a very small cadre of Americans who were taken into the Brit's confidence and allowed to observe their most sacred rituals.
    Take for instance, the visit of the HMS Alacrity.  The Alacrity was the first RN ship to reach the Falklands during the war there, and shot out her 5-inch gun during the continuing action there.  She also took at least 2 bombs in the fantail (which didn't go off due to faulty fusing).  The crew was battle hardened, and took great pride in their ship and their shipmates.  When they reach DG, they were willing to trade anything, and I traded one of my fatigue shirts with camy patches to the signals officer for a huge jack "guaranteed" to have been flown in the Falklands.
     When the Alacrity visited, there were only six women stationed on the island, and they were all in the brig, as the only place on the island secure enough to protect them from the rapacious gobs.  But this did not seem to bother the "British Indian Ocean Squadron."  The Squadron consisted of the HMS Alacrity, the HMNZS Waikato, and a Fleet Supply Ship ROVER under contract to the Royal Navy (to see photos of these and other ships, go to the "Ships" page).  Now, even though the Brit sailors could drink on board ship (unlike the U.S. Navy), they really drank on shore.  For the first couple days, the Brit swabbies went to the U.S. clubs, but eventually found solace with their own kind at the Brit Club.  And I mean with their own kind (hint-hint, nudge-nudge).  Of particular interest were the "dances" they performed.
     One was called the Zulu Warrior Dance.  Anyone involved with "old-time" Boy Scouting remembers the Zulu Warrior/Zulu Chief song inspired by Baden-Powell himself.  It goes something like:

Hey you, you Zulu Warrior,
Hey you, you Zulu Chief.
Hey Zuma, Zuma, Zuma,
Hey, Zuma, Zuma, Hey,
etc., ad nauseum.

     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.
     As a result of the anthopological observations, the most lasting impression I have of the Royal Navy, is that the majority of the Royal Navy, when deployed half way around the world, didn't mind for one minute that there are no women around.
     However, things had changed substantially by the time I returned full-time to Diego in 1987.  By 1987, the Brit Club was a wide-open, all-ranks alcohol dispensary where the main attraction was WOMEN!

If the Brits were Primarily a Bunch of Cops, Homosexuals, and Killers,
Why Did the Americans Hang Out at their Club?

Brit Club dance floor

     The real reason the men of the PPDRDG went to the Brit Club was to see women.  On Diego, there were about 1,500 Brit and American men, another 1,500 Philippinos and Mauritian men, and about 300 women of all types.  We used to say that of the 300, there were about 50 of the "cutest couples" on the island (the female equivalent of the Alacrity's crew).  This meant that there were about 3,000 guys and 300 women total, and, discounting the "others," the ratio was not that good for some guy interested in breaking his vow of celebacy!

     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.

Editor's Note:  The following was written in 1998 or so, before I learned to write for a general audience, thus becoming the brilliant writer I am today.
Sadly, it is full of esoteric bullshit and doesn't mean a single thing to anyone who wasn't there at the time (i.e., in these photos).
But, I'm leaving it on the website because it was one of the first things I wrote on line, and therefore it has a historical meaning for me...

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 particular Cell.

     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.

     In this extremely rare photo, we see "Jenny" again, attempting to make contact with the most effective recruiter for the revolutionary cause (we'll call her "Dee").  Dee's cover was that of an "Apache Indian" from the Republic of "Texas."   Here we see "Dee" making contact with two potential recruits, both Air Force officers (as they are both now Colonels, we're prohibited by law from revealing their names, but their code names were "Rich" and "Dave").

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