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The famous beer brewing enterprise started around 1973/74 in the Radar Shop. The instigators were Jon Carter, Alan Lewis, Owen Marshall, Tich Stewart and one or two others.

Initially the plan was devised on a small scale and was intended to supplement the Thursday beer delivery from the canteen, provide refreshment during overtime during the summer evenings and to lay down a stock of beer for the Christmas festivities. The racket just grew and grew from that starting point and ended up running on a large scale that was know of throughout the Fleet Air Arm.

The first beer kits were funded by donations from the instigators and Tom Caxtons Bitter was chosen as several of the instigators had successfully brewed this at home. Please note that no beer was ever sold as this would have been illegal. Later members merely paid their contribution and joined the club. Some people were entitled to some free beer by virtue of providing a service. This would include the fire crew members that provided CO2 when the keg range was introduced.

Once the brewing had settled in to its routine we were brewing at least forty gallons per week and a stock level of 350 to 400 gallons was maintained. Storage was always a problem as it was obviously important the the activities were not discovered. Many ingenious solutions were thought of so that the beer could be safely dispersed such that if one cache was discovered the others would be safe. Many bottles were kept underground around the pressure vessel used for testing sonar submersible units. Others were kept under the floor of the Divisional Officer's office as it was felt that if he ordered a search he would not look in his own office. This was found to be true.

to be continued

Please advise me of any errors or omissions in the names list or dates.

The brews were know as Ray Dar's Ales and were brewed in several strengths for different occasions. There was a weak one for use at lunchtimes and evening breaktimes. A medium one for special occasions such as birthdays, etc. Lastly there was the strong one at 9% ABV or higher. Later brews included lagers, which were preferred by the younger members of the racket.

There was one expulsion from the racket. A person who shall remain nameless came to us from the RAF. He was delighted to join the racket and gladly paid his subscription. After a few weeks he was found to be drinking the strong brew during working hours, which he had been mixing with metal polish. One day he was found drunk and with his trousers wet. He got his penis out and tried to dry it on a radiator but burned it. He then climbed on to the roof of D Hangar, where he was found screaming and hurling his shoes skywards in an attempt to repel a Martian invasion. We later found that he was an alcoholic and that this had been diagnosed during his time with the RAF.

 

 

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