Welsh, meaning “Church of David on the [River] Brefi”
Llanddewi Brefi was made famous by the BBC television series Little Britain, where the character Daffyd Thomas (a variation of the original Welsh name Dafydd; played by Matt Lucas) lives in the fictional village of Llandewi Breffi.
In 1977 the village was the scene of one of the world’s biggest ever raids involving the drug LSD. Over 6 million tabs of the drug were seized as part of Operation Julie on 26 March of that year. Drugs were located at one location within the area
The discovery in Kemp’s car prompted the establishment of Britain’s first combined drug busting operation led by Dennis Greenslade. On 17 February 1976, a meeting at Brecon involving a number of chief constables and senior drug squad officers formed a multiforce operation. This was the beginning of Operation Julie.
In April 1976, a selection of 28 undercover drug squad officers from 10 police forces were chosen and sent to Devizes in Wiltshire where they were trained to go undercover as hippies in Wales. In May 1976, the undercover police moved into a farmhouse in Bronwydd overlooking Kemp’s cottage. Initially, locals took them for birdwatchers but as the undercover operation progressed from weeks into months, female officers were added. The first name of one of these surveillance officers, Police Sergeant Julie Taylor, was used as the operation’s code name.
Surveillance of Kemp noted his regular 50-mile commutes between his home in Tregaron and Plas Llysin, an old mansion owned by an American friend Paul Joseph Arnaboldi, in Carno near Llanidloes. The mansion was watched by police from an old caravan and people arriving were monitored. Lee instructed police to break into the mansion. In the cellar, police took water samples which chemically matched LSD samples the police had. Kemp’s home was now put under 24-hour surveillance and listening devices were installed.
In October 1976 a police team based at RAF Hendon monitored a house (first from a van, then from a house overlooking the property) in Seymour Road, Hampton Wick. This was the LSD laboratory run by Todd and Munro. Glass utensils used in this laboratory had been secretly marked by police at the factory that produced them in Yorkshire.
Raids, arrests & trial
On 26 March 1977, after 13 months of surveillance, Operation Julie officers swooped on 87 homes in England and Wales. The gang leaders were caught and a total of 120 suspects were arrested.
At Kemp’s home a package containing £11,000 was found as well as LSD crystals and tabletting equipment. At Carno, laboratory equipment was dug out of a well. A further raid in the Dordogne region in France located documents that detailed and proved the LSD business had been immense. Details of French and Swiss accounts were found as well as share certificates.
On 1 December 1977, officers searched Kemp’s cottage for a second time and dug up a large plastic box that contained 1.3 kg of LSD crystal – enough to create 6.5 million doses.
In 1978, 15 defendants appeared at Bristol Crown Court. It took a month for the prosecution to deliver the incriminating evidence. Kemp pleaded guilty and received 13 years in jail, as did Todd. Fielding and Hughes were sentenced to 8 years. In total, the 15 defendants received a combined 120 years in jail.
As a result of the seizure it was estimated the price of LSD tabs rose from £1 to £5 each, and that Operation Julie had removed 90% of LSD from the British market. It is thought that LSD produced by the two labs had been exported to over 100 countries. In total, 1.1 million tabs and enough LSD crystal to make a further 6.5 million, were discovered and destroyed. The total street value of the LSD would have been £7.6 million.
A three-part television drama, called Operation Julie, was made by Tyne Tees Television and broadcast on ITV in 1985, closely following the events of the case from the police point of view. It was directed by Bob Mahoney.
In July 2011, Leaf Fielding’s book To Live Outside the Law, gave the first insider account of Operation Julie.
(sometimes Litvinov; born David Levy; 3 February 1928 – 8 April 1975) was a consultant for the British film industry who traded on his knowledge of the low life of the East End of London. A man for whom there are few truly reliable facts, it is unclear how genuine his expertise really was, though he certainly knew the Kray Twins and was particularly friendly with Ronnie Kray. He entertained his showbiz friends with stories of the Krays’ activities and his niece Vida described him as “the court jester to the rich, smart Chelsea set of the sixties”.
In 1967, Litvinoff was living at The Pheasantry, 152 King’s Road, then dilapidated flats with a club in the basement that was in the process of turning into a form of artistic commune. Litvinoff worked in Tim Whidborne’s studio. Eric Clapton and Martin Sharp of Oz magazine shared a studio there; Germaine Greer, Robert Whitaker and Nicky Kramer lived there as well.
In February 1967 the British police raided Keith Richards‘ home at Redlands in West Wittering after having received a tip-off that illegal drugs were being used at a party there. Litvinoff is not thought to have been at the party but according to multiple sources, took it upon himself to find out who the police informer was. Nigel Waymouth confirmed: “After the bust, no one knew who had fingered them. David Litvinoff applied some of his East End methods to see who was culpable”. Nicky Kramer, a member of the trendy Chelsea set, immediately came under suspicion and Litvinoff and hard-man John Bindon interrogated him fairly roughly before deciding that he was not the man they were looking for. Supposedly, they held him out of a window by his ankles.
[Redlands recently back in the headlines by Marianne Faithfull “I still haven’t forgiven the UK for Redlands“]
Sometime in 1968, Litvinoff rented Cefn Bedd cottage in Llanddewi Brefi. A stream of notable 60s figures seem to have stayed at the cottage including Eric Clapton, the artist Martin Sharp who designed the album covers for Cream and Nigel Waymouth who was one of the owners of boutique Granny Takes a Trip. There was speculation that a bearded man with long hair and an American accent named Gerry was actually Bob Dylan, but Christopher Gibbs has said that this was really Litvinoff’s “sidekick”, Gerry Goldstein. Local legend also has it that the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and even Yoko Ono visited and that Litvinoff distributed signed Stones LPs. One local saw an invitation to Hendrix’s funeral on the cottage mantlepiece.
Litvinoff left Llanddewi Brefi around the end of 1969 after being tipped-off about possible police interest in the cottage, returning to London and then going to Australia. On his return he stayed with Christopher Gibbs. In 1977, Operation Julie busted a large LSD manufacturing and distribution network operating partly from Llanddewi Brefi. Although this network is believed to have only been operating from 1969, and there is no evidence of any involvement by Litvinoff, media reports have linked it with his time in Llanddewi Brefi and the music industry figures that he brought to the village.
Man in a Headscarf (originally called The Procurer), by Lucian Freud. 1954.
[Freud recently back in the Headlines too!! Lucian Freud’s painting of pregnant teenager lover, sold for £16 million]
Litvinoff apparently knew everyone in Sixties London, including Lucian Freud, Mick Jagger to Ronnie Kray (who slashed his face)
Even David Litvinoff’s surname was a concoction. It was really Levy. Wanting something ‘more romantic’, he appropriated that of his mother’s first husband. So his elder half-brother, the respected writer Emanuel Litvinoff, informed Keiron Pim, adding that David was ‘an unfortunate character altogether’, prone to ‘inventing roles for himself that didn’t have any reality’.
Yet this fantasist is the elusive figure whom Pim has endeavoured to capture in an ambitious book which seeks to resurrect an era as much as an individual. David
Litvinoff was an extraordinary live wire who, by dint of a quick wit and chameleon personality, propelled himself from an immigrant background in London’s East End to cavorting with wealthy ex-public-school boys in Chelsea and gangsters in Soho. His heyday in the 1950s and 1960s coincided with the emergence of ‘Swinging London’, as class barriers broke down and new energies swirled, often fuelled by drugs and rock’n’roll.
Litvinoff initially blagged himself a place in a house owned by the artist Timothy Whidborne in Cheyne Walk, where George Melly also lived. He worked in a Soho clip-joint and found wealthy punters for John Aspinall’s semi-legal gaming clubs. He assisted another housemate, Old Etonian Andy Garnett, to start a multicultural club in Cable Street, not far from his birthplace. As a gossip columnist on the Daily Express, he publicised such happenings, and so helped fan the myth of the racy Chelsea set.
Before long he was best mates with Lucian Freud, the husband of Whidborne’s cousin, Lady Caroline Blackwood. The two men fell out over a portrait of Litvinoff which Freud had disparagingly titled ‘The Procurer’. One result, it seems (though it is not clear), was that Freud had his friend’s head brutally shaved (the artist’s reputation is not enhanced here). Litvinoff suffered rather worse — his face was slashed — when he overdid his joshing relationship with Ronnie Kray, whom he used to call ‘bootface’.
Operating at the edgy rather than hippy-dippy end of the Sixties revolution, his experiences and contacts led him to be hired as ‘dialogue consultant’ on the sinister 1970 film Performance, which captured the shifting boundaries of the time, including those of sexual identity.
As with most aspects of Litvinoff’s life, there are varying accounts of his actual involvement. Pim works hard to interpret them and delivers an excellent summary of the film. However, this was the zenith of his subject’s career. Finding little to detain him in London, Litvinoff decamped to Wales, and then to Australia. Depressed, he returned to Kent, where he stayed with the art dealer Christopher Gibbs at Davington Priory (see MAP) now owned by Bob Geldof. It was there he took his own life in 1975, in a small bedroom which Pim likens to the garret pictured by Henry Wallis’s ‘The Death of Chatterton’.
Pim is clearly obsessed with this character, who died three years before he was born. As a co-religionist (through his mother), he empathises with him as a wandering, role-swapping Jew. In Litvinoff’s case (though not Pim’s), this sense of otherness was enhanced by being gay. He is described as ‘brave’ — which is true of his uncomplicated acceptance of his sexuality at a time when, for the most part, it was illegal.
Pim proves an intelligent, if occasionally over-diligent, guide to this protean world, mixing a Quest for Corvo model with Iain Sinclair’s psycho-geography. His descriptive powers are particularly good at the start, where, drawing on his own background, he explores Litvinoff’s Jewish and East End roots. Along with Emanuel Litvinoff (now dead), he interviews gangsters such as ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser who, being in their dotage, cannot tell him much. Cue for an enduring theme about memory’s frailty, be it through age, drugs or simply misremembering.
Francis David Ormsby-Gore, 6th Baron Harlech (13 March 1954 – 1 Feb 2016)
Lord Harlech was the fifth child and second son of William David Ormsby-Gore, 5th Baron Harlech and his wife Sylvia Thomas. He succeeded his father as 6th Baron Harlech in 1985 and sat as a Conservative member of the House of Lords until the removal of the hereditary peers in 1999. Harlech lived at Brogyntyn near Oswestry. In May 2011, Lord Harlech and his daughter were involved in a dangerous driving incident in Penrhyndeudraeth, north Wales.
He died of natural causes on 1 February 2016. A North Wales Police spokesman said: “ North Wales Police were called to an address at Talsarnau near Harlech at 11.40am on Monday, following reports of the sudden death of a man in his 60s.”
Lord Harlech – obituary Son of Britain’s Kennedy-era ambassador to Washington whose life was overshadowed by tragedy
Curse of Harlechs hits again By any standard, the family have been no strangers to tragedy and misfortune. Fatal car crashes, death from a heroin overdose and suicide by shotgun have cut a swathe through the Ormsby Gore dynasty. Family trouble: Tallulah Ormsby Gore, who admitted careless driving, crashed while driving with her father. Yesterday it emerged that the troubled head of the family, Lord Harlech, whose father was a friend of President Kennedy and who founded HTV, had been sectioned.
Harlech’s mother Sissie was killed in a car crash when he was 13, and his father David died after another fatal smash in 1985. His elder brother and heir to the estate Julian shot himself in 1974 and his sister Alice, a lover of Eric Clapton, died in poverty from a heroin overdose in 1995. He divorced his model wife Amanda, muse to Karl Lagerfeld, after they had two children, Jasset, 22, and Tallulah. Amanda, who has since dated actor Ralph Fiennes, tells me: ‘It’s very emotional and very sad.’
Christopher Gibbs and Eric Clapton, speak fondly of him. Others are not so sure. The socialite Suna Portman noted: ‘He seemed to know all of us rather better than we knew him,’ while Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan ignored Pim’s approaches.
The Truth about Clapton and the death of our son It has been nine years since Lory and rock legend Eric Clapton’s four year-old son,Conor, fell 53 floors to his death through the open window of a New York skyscraper.
A style leader in 1960s London, Gibbs is credited with fellow Old Etonian Robert Fraser with inventing “Swinging London”. He has been said to be the first man to wear flared trousers in 1961, and was ordering flower print shirts by 1964. He was an editor of the shopping guide in the quarterly Men in Vogue, the first male edition of the magazine produced between 1965 and 1970, which was closely associated with the “Peacock revolution” in English men’s fashion in the 1960s. Gibbs is the fifth son of Hon. Sir Geoffrey Cokayne Gibbs KCMG and his wife Helen Margaret Leslie CBE, and the grandson of Herbert Gibbs, 1st Baron Hunsdon of Hunsdon. His elder brother is the financier Sir Roger Gibbs. He was educated at Eton College, from which he was expelled “for being generally totally impossible”,Stanbridge Earls School and the University of Poitiers.
“But is it a triumph of the working class, or merely the upper classes going slumming again? The Stones and Beatles hobnob with upper class figures like the Old Etonian art dealer Robert Fraser, Old Etonian antique dealer Christopher Gibbs and Tara Browne, the Guinness heiress. The Beatles wouldn’t have known these people existed, so guess whose private secretary picked up the phone first? read here
Dylan is an appropriately spectral presence. With his hustler’s skills, Litvinoff was thrilled to secure an advance copy of the Jewish troubadour’s Basement Tapes, and even more so the proofs of his then unpublished novel Tarantula. He suggested to a friend that they produce 100,000 bootleg copies and sell them at 40 shillings each. Until then the most he had earned was $4,000 for Performance.
Pim delights in Litvinoff’s ability to flit between identities — one moment queeny aesthete, the next street-hustling procurer. He plays with the cultural ramifications of this self-styled ‘crazy, mixed-up Yid’ being so difficult to pin down. Even his title is a tease: Litvinoff had nothing to do with the Rolling Stones song. But, like Jumpin’ Jack Flash, he was by turns fast, flickering and a trifle demonic — a performance artist indeed.
From 1972 until his death in April 1975 ‘from an overdose of sleeping pills’, Litvinoff lived at Davington Priory in Kent.
Litvinoff was also a friend of the Beatles, (beatles book of revelations) The Beatles, Stones and many more BIG names were guests at Sibylla’s opening night. Sibylla’s was part owned by Brian Jones & Tara Browne heir to the Guinness fortune.Tara was the son of Dominick Browne, 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne, a member of the House of Lords since 1927 who later became famous for having served in that house longer than any other peer, finally being evicted during government reforms in 1999.
In 1966, aged 21 Tara Browne ‘died’ in a car crash that mysteriously like the car crash that Sir Paul did/didnt die in. Tara and Paul McCartney were bestest buds! The Beatles wrote “A Day in the Life” about Tara’s death (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
Completely unrelated!! Tara and Paul were in a motorbike crash in 1965. 1year minus 1week & 1day later on Dec 18th 1966 Tara “died”
Tara has a Shrine in & a Temple on his family estate in Ireland.
Keith Richards: Life
In Geneva in March of 1976, Anita gave birth to our third child, a boy we named Tara!
He was barely a month old when I left Anita to go on a long European tour that was to run from April until June.
I was in Paris, with Marlon, on tour when I got the news that our little son Tara, aged just over two months, had been found dead in his cot.
Read in full HERE
- Tara Browne
- Llanddewi Brefi, The Krays, LSD, Litvinoff & Tara
- Who was Robert Fraser aka Dr Robert aka Groovy Bob?
- Hitler, Liverpool & Tavistock
- Winnie the Pooh, Hitler, James Bond 007 & The Beatles Yellow Submarine
- SIR Jimmy & SIR Paul
- Sibylla’s Nightclub
- The Beatles Revealed?
- Are The Beatles Satanists & Paedophiles?? (updated 16 02 16)
- Beatles Bible
- Beacon films blog
- Plastic Macca
- RingO Stars
- Aangirfan Litvinoff
- Searching for Tara
- Police privately admit ongoing cover-up for paedophile MPs and other VIPs