The Bentley Boys’ London Supper Club at the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly took place on the evening of 20 September 2017. It was attended by 63 members and guests. It would be churlish to say every occasion of these fine events is unique but the truth is that it is.
We met at the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, close to Hyde Park Corner. We were greeted by the charming Air Vice Marshal, the Honourable David Murray CVO, OBE who is the Controller of the RAF benevolent fund. He is particularly motivated by the achievements of Bomber Command during the second world war. Standing in front of this imperious memorial which he played a major part in creating, he outlined the successes of the men who served in this unit. Much of what they did has gone unrecognised and unrewarded. In those days the unit was controlled by Sir Arthur Travers Harris who was generally known as Bomber Harris. It is generally recognised that it was his uncompromising approach to the war effort that, despite its success, led the politicians to largely ignore these results in the interest of post-war European sensitivities. David outlined the battles he had to go through to get this memorial including its continued maintenance for his point was that these men of Bomber Command were doing what they were told to do with enormous bravery and considerable loss. His passion was infectious and we walked the short distance to the RAF club recognising that we all would view this memorial in a different light.
One tends to think of London as having some of the world’s most expensive real estate. Consequently property must be efficient and no bigger than it needs to be. It is, therefore, unexpected to walk into the RAF club to find opulence and space on an unprecedented scale. We met in the commodious Churchill bar and enjoyed wine aperitifs. We greeted other members and guests and discussed what we had just learned about the Bomber Command wing of the RAF.
All too soon we were off down wide picture lined hallways to the Ballroom where we enjoyed robust food of the highest order accompanied by well chosen wines.
The after dinner guest speaker had been advertised as being David Richards of motor racing fame. He cried off at a late hour and despite frantic efforts by Harry Waddingham to find a replacement he was not able to come up with anyone. It fell on his broad shoulders, therefore, to stand and treat us to a brief history of the River Police. It was an informative and amusing wander through River Police from its inception to the present day. I do not believe that anyone in the room felt in any way disappointed with the change of speaker. The applause at the end of his speech was enthusiastic and unquestionably sincere. Thanks, therefore go to Harry for his efforts in arranging the supper and his illuminating talk. He thanked fellow BDC member Diana Davy for facilitating our entry.