Saturday, October 2, 2010

Battle of Britain veteran inspires special blend of charity tea

A Battle of Britain veteran has been the inspiration for a special blend of tea brewed to honour 'The Few', with some of the proceeds going to the RAF Association Wings Appeal.

Terry Clark

Terry Clark drinks a cup of the tea blended to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain
[Picture: Newsquest/The Press, York, 2010]

Battle of Britain veteran inspires special blend of charity tea

A History and Honour news article

1 Oct 10

Terry Clark, aged 91, was an air gunner in a Blenheim light bomber aircraft, used as a night fighter, during the Battle of Britain. His initial job was to defend York and the surrounding airfields from German attacks.

He joined the Auxiliary Air Force at the age of 19, training in Surrey and on the Isle of Man. He said:

"The station commander signed my log book but nobody said whether I'd passed the course. I assume I must have done because they sent me off to join 219 Squadron, a Blenheim fighter unit based at Catterick."

Mr Clark and his squadron mates spent much of the Battle of Britain quietly playing pontoon as they waited for a call to arms. But the silence was shattered when the phone rang - it was the signal to scramble. A couple of flicked switches fired up the Blenheims and within minutes crews were airborne:

"Spitfire pilots couldn't see in the dark, but we could," he said. "Blenheims carried an early form of radar which at the time was unknown to the Germans. We also had ground control radar which was used to get us to the main body of the bombers. But while it could see the big picture, it was down to us to identify the individual aircraft with our radar before opening fire."


Mr Clark becoming the inspiration for a new blend of tea came about when Henrietta Lovell, of the Rare Tea Company, met him last year while shooting a video and was so taken by his presence that she decided to prepare the 'Tea for Heroes'.

On the label for her latest blend Henrietta has written:

"I first created this tea for a wonderful man called Terry Clark. It was a great honour to make tea for him and he thought it was rather good."

'Tea for Heroes' is a traditional British tea, a blend from two plantations, the Makaibari Estate in Darjeeling and the Satemwa Estate in Malawi, and comes in a presentation tin bearing the RAF roundel. Inside, the label features a wartime picture of Mr Clark wearing his uniform. He said:

"When Henrietta asked if she could use my photo, I wasn't too sure. But when she told me that some of the proceeds would go to the Wings Appeal, I thought well why not.

"It's a very good brew and far better than the wartime tea we had in the NAAFI [Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes]."..

Mr Clark has much more to say. I'd go and have a cuppa with him, listen to his stories, any day! This a great article. Go read the rest here.

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