The Glendinnings - Part 2
Issue: 2 Updated 18th February 2019
How an inventive electronics wizard became an inspirational Offshore Radio Engineer a course he persuaded his son to follow
The story continues on Radio 390 at the Red Sands Fort Sea Forts
Leaving Whitstable Harbour on F19 the 'Mullard' does anyone remember him, who we think was the Radio 390 cook, with right Brian Tyrrell mate of the tender 'Mullard'
Word has it that the Radio 390 chef was a dab hand at cooking and serving excellent Lobster Thermidor!
Ready to lend a hand cook with ever present cigarette
Under Southern Gun Tower; lift pallet on way down
04/07/10 - I remember talking with a work
mate a few years back who told me his father was a cook on Radio 390, who
I never actually meet. But the gentleman in your picture looks very much like
the guy I worked with and his name was Mick Solly so colould well be his father?
Best regards and thanks for great site - Free City
William's son John picked up some of his fathers magic becoming a competent sound technician. Moving from Crayford to Whitstable in 1960, William encouraged and introduced John to Radio 390, which led to a job as a radio technician on the Red Sands Fort
The clamber onto the pallet, familiar to Radio City & 390; left F19 'Mullard' skipper Vic Davies, Dougie centre top, centre the cook, & right 'mate' Brian Tyrrell, three others unknown
The role at Radio 390 was one he relished which found him working alongside Lawrence Bean. John by now had been christened 'Ray' after the sports commentator and stayed like Lawrence until the final demise of Radio 390 on 28th July 1967
Unknown, then John (Ray) Glendinning steadies the net supply bag, Dougie hauls it into lower level
Nothing's changed! - See the Red Sands Radio series
Living with his sweet heart Paula at Park Mead, Sidcup. William tragically died on 15th September 1975 in a road traffic accident at the age of 77 before they could marry. Sadly Paula died in September 2009 very unexpectedly after a fall at the home she had shared in Chestfield (Whitstable) for 5 years with John's widow Maureen
The Radio 390 Studio, some of which survives
Maureen visits the Towers
Maureen recalls Red Sands Forts: I can remember waiting on the keyside of Whitstable Harbour for Vic's tender "Mallard" to arrive, bringing John home and wondering if he'd had a shave! There were always fans of Radio 390 waiting to greet the DJ's and crew on their arrival. We would say our goodbyes and then the crew and DJ's would descend on what used to be the "Punch Tavern" in Harbour Street for a well earned drink. (Especially if the trip home had been rough!) I can remember sitting chatting to Edward Cole, John Ross-Barnard and Peter James, listening to them swap stories and having a laugh. I was brave enough to visit Redsands once. The sea was very lumpy and grey. The boat rolled around and the smell of fish and diesel were ever present. As Red Sand Forts came into view, and as you got closer you realise how huge they are, like something out of H.G Wells "War of the Worlds". I was winched up into the tower in a sling, given a welcome cup of tea and then a tour of their "home". The thought they're mad did cross my mind. John loved his time spent out on Redsands and like everyone hated its demise in July 1967 - Maureen Glendinning (17th March 2010)
|Edit of Radio 390 family request show 'From Me To You' with Peter James on 3rd March 1967 from 13.00 - 14.00 GMT|
Several of the Radio 390 announcers stayed at Vic & Joyce Davies, John & Maureen Glendennings homes whilst waiting to go out to the Towers or make their way home
One such announcer was Peter James, some sluething reveals that Peter lives in Australia, retired since 2002 his last post was at ABC as head of Classic FM
John (Ray) Glendinning at the Excitor Draw
Technical input from Robin Adcroft-Banks: The Radio 390 transmitter was a 10kW - RCA BTA 10J Ampliphase, that ended up on the Mebo 2 (RNI) as the MF standby, it was later tipped into the North Sea after we bought the two Veronica Continentals
The Excitor Draw wasn't interlocked so it could be tweeked at full power. Radio 390 ran at around 60% so it sounded smooth & mellow
Antenna from the catwalk of Gun Tower 3
The dark gray cabinet next to the RCA is the PIE rack (program input equipment) it had a mod monitor, scope, audio monitor and a valve compressor which was also possibly RCA. This was purely from memory of my visit in May 1967. I remember this because I asked the radio engineer (forget his name) why the modulation was so low. His answer was that they couldn't mod higher than 60% higher than this produced of corona arcing at the ends of the top capacity cables which tripped the transmitter. They could have easily resolved this problem but didn't. Anyway, the BBC normally employed 60%, that sounds better!
Shipping in Oaze Deep & Warp Channels from the Searchlight Tower catwalk
Southern Gun Tower 1 from roof of Gun Tower 4
I later realised that they didn't know that 'corona discharge rings' should have been fitted in the top stays of the mast (also used as a capacity hat which placed high peak modulation voltages at the insulators). Full modulation would then have been possible and have benefited their coverage
Bofors from the catwalk of Gun Tower 3
I don't remember seeing any other smaller transmitter. The only other item there was a big oil cooled transformer used to step down the forts 440 volt a/c to the 230 volt three phase used in the USA I think it's still there
Control, G2 & 3 from the roof of G4
They were also 'foxed' about how to mount the VHF aerials on top of the MF mast. They hadn't figured how to avoid the problem of the base insulator. A simple 'tuned stub' would have solved the riddle. I can't remember if it was 1kW or 5kW FM, perhaps you know. It never ran though - Robin Adcroft-Banks (15th March 2010)
FM Transmitter detail in Red Sands 40 - Part 1
Radio 390 Programme Diary
'It's all over' The official staff invitation to John & Maureen post Radio 390
Another peculiar circumstance is that my own Whitstable home is only two houses away from the once home of Doug Seymour. He was a remarkable eccentric character, known by everyone as Dougie, he'd sustained a war injury and had a metal plate in his head and to disguise the scars always wore a knitted cap, a habit by the way that John (Ray) had got into, seldom being seen without aboard the Towers without his trademark sailors cap. Dougie was the Radio 390 odd-job man whilst his wife Kay took care of provisioning. The two of them would leap aboard the F19 the good old 'Mallard' and steam off to the Fort with Vic Davies and mate Brian Tyrell
Very well used 'white label' album from the Radio 390 library (Strike Records JLH 1010)
Ken Woodman & His Piccadilly Brass - 'Long Live Love'. an instrumental version of the song 'Long Live Love', written by Chris Andrews and sung by Sandie Shaw used by the New Zealander Glenn Adams as a filler on Radio Caroline International (South).
' Take The "A" Train' used by AJ Beirens in 1971 on RNI for one of his trivial jingles for the 'RNI Goes DX' program. On Radio 270, Pete Bowman sometimes used this tune. An unknown version was used on Radio Mercur as a tune for the 'Lyt of Dance'
'That's Nice' used creatively on Radio City's 'Auntie Mable Hour', an example the recipe for Irish Stew was sung over the instrumental
'Town Talk' was used by Paul Kaye on Radio London, also as the theme of the BBC Radio 2 'Jimmy Young Show'
'To Whom It Concerns' used by Spangles Muldoon at the top of the hour at his shows at Caroline International (1967/1968) Steve Merikke used the track on Radio Caroline as a filler to net news
'Yesterday Man' the beginning of this track from the album 'That's Nice' on RCA Camden label (CAS 10104) was used by Look Boden of Radio 227 for a jingle
John's warning note on the back!
Edward Cole at the Radio 390 contol panel
Edward Cole featured in The Observer Magazine on 28th November 1976
After a period of ill health Edward Cole died in June 2003
John Glendinning on Red Sands Fort in 1967
After Radio 390 John (Ray) went to work as a sound engineer at the BBC World Service at Bush House, seldom talking of Radio 390 or the Forts, John sadly died prematurely in May 1996 aged just 59
The story comes full circle when I met up with an old friend who now runs his family's garage. He'd been talking to his wife about the radio days, the Forts her name's Fiona Glendinning, Johns (Rays) daughter, Williams Granddaughter and I'm pleased to say Fiona has followed in fathers footsteps by joining us at Red Sands Radio
Produced in memory to William & John (Ray) Glendinning for their considerable contribution to 1960's Offshore Radio
Thanks to the Glendinning family for sharing their archive material with us and to Robin Adcroft-Banks for technical information, additional record detail Han Knot
N.B Some of this tale appears in 'Pop went the Pirates II' by Keith Skues this feature completes the story
Thank you for the tribute, my grandfather and father would be proud. Take care Fiona x
03/06/10 I have enjoyed the website greatly over the years. Just when I think there is nothing left to tell, you come up with more first-hand accounts and pictures from this fascinating era. First-class content like this is really appreciated. Best wishes, Barry Howard