The mechanism of flow of air and water through packed glass fibres has been studied. Pressure drops and liquid hold ups were measured as a function of gas and liquid flow rates and the packing characteristics. It has been found that the pressure difference measured is dependent upon the history of previous gas and liquid flow rates in the bed. The liquid hold up is defined entirely by the gas and liquid flow rates. An analysis of the flow mechanism shows that the capillary forces interact with the fluid pressures in the bed. For example an increase in gas flow rate followed by a reduction to the same flow rate has been shown to reduce the resistance of the bed to gas flow even though the liquid flow rate is unchanged. A measure of the irreversibility of the flow operation is suggested.