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Radio Caroline at Sea

Curtain Call

Issue: 2 Date: 21st March 2012

A tender service in 1988 followed by the last pictures taken aboard the Ross Revenge in the ships final summer & last months at sea

MV Fredericia 1964

1. The 'MV Caroline' 1964

From the original Radio Caroline ship the 'MV Caroline' ('Fredericia')

Ross Revenge oil painting

2. The 'MV Ross Revenge' oil painting by Peter Hudson 1990 depicting the lattice masts built at sea in early 1988

To the 'Ross Revenge' last few months as an Offshore station last moored around 14 miles North West of Margate at approximately 51 27'23" North 01 48' 49"

(On this visit 51 39' 85" N 01 33' 51" E)

The following photographs taken in the summer of 1988 on an engineering service call to correct a minor transmitter fault before the 1989 raid

Ross Revenge starboard bow

3. The MV Ross Revenge Starboard side

With the loss of it's 300' mast on 24th November 1987 twin towers were erected at sea; the forward mast made from part of the ships cod liver oil pipe and aft a Versa Tower

Glyn Richards & Nigel Harris

4. Glyn Richards with videographer Nigel Harris

Above filming a documentary on Caroline

Ross Revenge starboard side

5. The MV Ross Revenge Starboard side

Ross Revenge port side 1

6. The MV Ross Revenge Port side

Ross Revenge port side 2

7. The MV Ross Revenge Port side

Ross Revenge stern

8. Tender approach starboard side of MV Ross Revenge

R11 Fairwind

9. The late Dave 'the fish' Turner owner skipper of R11 'Fairwind' (Ramsgate) last of the ships tenders

New mast sections on deck having been transported to the Kent coast by means foul and fair were then shipped out on 'Fairwind'

Engineers bench

10. How things have changed the shambles of the engineers work bench

Transmitters to the left Generator room door right

RCA 50 kW TX

11. 50 KW RCA Ampliphase AM Transmitter

RCA 10 kW TXs

12. 10 KW RCA AM Transmitters

TX cable runs

13. TX Cable runs

The minor transmitter fault fixed, the station returned to the air

MAN Generators 1

14. MAN AC Generators

MAN Generators 2

15. MAN AC Generators

From rear deck

16. Looking forward from rear deck at Versa Tower

A third fibre glass mast was added on the stern behind the Versa Tower but this proved to be useless

From focsle

17. From fo'c'sle (Forecastle)

Starboard side from rear deck

18. Looking along Starboard side

The ship was raided and stripped of her TX & Studio gear on 19th August 1989 by Dutch & UK authorities, she returned on 1st October 1990 using a collection of bits and pieces cobbled together

Dutch studio

19. Dutch studio

Dave the fish with mast sections

20. Dave the fish with Antenna sections

That sign again - 'Take that Invicta'

Fairwind from bridge wing

21. 'Fairwind' from the bridge wing

Leaving the ship

22. Leaving the ship ...

for the last time

23. ... to continue a little longer

Ross revenge port side

24. Intact for now

From here on it kicks up rough .....

The second series of photographs taken during the last summer & final time at sea before what was to be the final closedown from the Offshore station on 5th November 1990

Mike Watts

25. Looking like Mike Watts it's actually Paul Johnson on aft deck

The last closedown was on 5th November 1990 but the ship stayed at sea, tendering continued from 'Fairwind', 'Dreamboat Annie', RiB & what we'd became known as the 'Whitstable Navy' throughout 1990 & 1991

Drink supplies

26. Stashed drink supplies

Port side to studio wing Playing around on antenna mast

27 & 28. Ross Revenge Port side & with the station off off air, playing around on the mast

Port side deck from studio wing Rest from painting

29 & 30. Deck view & a breather from a spot of painting

Ships mast from antenna mast

31. Ships mast from forward antenna mast

Deck from bridge

32. Deck view from bridge

Olau Hollandia

33. Olau Hollandia

Port side looking forward

34. Port side

Deck from bridge Deck skuttle

35 & 36. South Falls Head at its worst - rough

Heavy port roll

37. Port roll

Ross Revenge from Olau Ferry

38. Ross Revenge portside in choppy sea

The Ross was cruelly snatched from her mooring on 19th November 1991, grounding but miraculously surviving the Goodwin Sands

Salvaged she was towed into Dover Harbour (Granville Dock)

Goodwins airsea sescue

39. Aground on the Goodwin Sands the crew are rescued by RAF Helicopter


40. Battle Ship

The Government had been trying to blow the ship out of the water for four decades, but it was the elements that dealt the final blow

The Ross Revenge a Short History & Specification

The Ross Revenge was built in 1960 by AG Weser' Werk, Seebeck, Bremerhaven, West Germany

Named M.V Freyr owned by the Icelandic Fishing Company Isbjorninn the trawler M.V Freyr could accommodate a crew of up to seventy

The ocean going ship has a range of around 12,000 miles suitable for the worlds seas

Sold to Ross Fisheries in 1963 she was converted & ice strengthened as a side trawler: Fishing No GY718 & renamed Ross Revenge she saw action during the 'Cod Wars' with Iceland during 1978

The Ross Revenge was sold on to Silas Victor Oates in 1979 to be converted to a motor salvage ship registered in Guernsey Channel Islands working until 1981

Destined for the scrap heap she was found languishing in Cairn ryan breakers yard West Coast six miles from Stranraer, Scotland

31/12/10 - The breakers yard at Cairnryan was a former major military port during the war which was built to serve the Atlantic traffic just in case Liverpool or the South coast ports were put out of action by enemy bombing. The village accommodated armed and civilian personnel some 10,000 strong

During the late fifties cargoes of disused ammunition were ferried to Cairnryan by rail (it had its own military railway line), loaded onto very old ships which were no more than hulks, and then towed by tug to Beaufort's Dyke between Ireland and the Isle of Man where the ships, laded with explosives, were sunk.. Some fifty years later boxes of explosives started to appear on the shores of Western Scotland. So much for the environment!! The press reported that the post war activities at Cairnryan were the best kept secrets of that time. Nonsense! Living in Cairnryan they should have asked us, for back then at six years of age, we knew exactly what was going on! - Tom Lees

Ernst Kunz from Austria a director of Seamore Company, Liechtenstein brokered the ship to the Grotham Steamship Line, SA Panama for £28,500 who amended the vessel to a floating radio station in Santander, Spain in 1982

Said to become the M.V Imagine, after the John Lennon classic song, she boasted a single lattice 310' antenna said to be the tallest mast ever fixed to a ship, later replaced by twin 110' masts to take a conventional washing-line array

Anchoring in the International Waters of the Knock Deep the M.V Ross Revenge recommenced broadcasts as Radio Caroline spending almost 8 years at sea

Ship Specification:

Call sign Golf Mike India Uniform, from 1982 HP-4344

Registration from 1982: 9625 - Poxt

Fitted with direction echo sounding device-radar

Length 221'8", 67.61 Meters

Beam 34'01", 10.39 Metres

Draught 18', 5.49 Metres

Gross tonnage 978

Net Tonnage 428

Deadweight 578

Main Engine NV Werkspoor 2050 BHP Diesel oil 4SA 10 cylinder 390 x 680 with hydraulic coupling & variable pitch propeller

Fuel & Water bunker 200 tons each

Top speed just over 16 Knots

Ships: Two 6 Cylinder Deutz 250 KVA DC Generators

One 3 cylinder MWM 30 KVA DC Generators

Emergency: One 2 Cylinder Lister 5 KVA Generator

One 6 Cylinder P6 Perkins KVA AC Generator

Broadcast: Two 6 Cylinder turbo charged MAN 175 KVA AC Generators

One V12 Twin Turbo charged MAN 500 KVA AC Generator

Emergency: One 4 Cylinder Perkins 20 KVA Generator

Transmission: One 50 KW RCA Ampliphase AM Broadcast Transmitter (serial # 101)

Two 10 KW RCA AM Broadcast Transmitters (one was used for Short Wave)

Oban Optimod signal processing from main studio

With thanks to Captain Graham, Lloyds Ship Register, Terry Vacani, John & Paul Johnson for their contributions to this feature

See tribute to Dave 'the fish' Turner

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