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Tribute to Robin Adcroft aka Robin Banks

It was a massive shock learning Robin had passed away at Leckhampton Court Hospice on Sunday 16th September 2018

I'd only heard a few days previously he was poorly fighting kidney cancer. I wrote a lengthy email and looked forward to one of his cheery replies, which of course never came. Robin and I had first met when he was involved with Seatribe, the plan to make the Red Sands Fort a resort complex

We caught up again via Mike Bass and the Free Radio Association (FRA) in the 1970's. Unknown to many Mike had advised Radio Invicta and later K.I.N.G how they could overcome their transmission short comings, essentially their poor antenna configuration but his advice was largely ignored

Robin had worked with Radio Caroline, Radio Northsea International taking the Mebo II to Libya

He went to the Voice of Peace and has set up many stations overseas in Africa the Middle East and the Americas

Robin in Radio 390 Group

Radio 390 on the Red Sands Fort with Radio 390 staff

Robin Adcroft with ?, *Dougie and Maureen Seymore, side on Vic Davies, ?, librarian Peter Berkeley, centre obscured Christopher Clark (Previously Alan Clark on Radio City) and David Vincent aka David Sinclair and ?

Robin in group on Radio 390 Fort

Radio 390 on the Red Sands Fort with Radio 390 staff (FRA Press Cutting 1967)

Robin Adcroft with ?, *Dougie and Maureen Seymore, Vic Davies, ?, librarian Peter Berkeley, Christopher Clark (Previously Alan Clark on Radio City) and David Vincent aka David Sinclair with ?

*Dougie was an engineer that worked with Lawrence Bean, announcers and staff would sometimes stay at Dougie and Maureen's Tankerton (Whitstable) home

When Seatribe resurrected as projectredsand, Robin got in touch again and we began working on raising the profile of the Fort, thereon it was blood sweat and tears getting support

Robin with Lee Gilbert on Radio 390 Fort

Robin Adcroft with Robert Walton aka Lee Gilbert onboard the Red Sands Fort Radio 390 (Springtime 1967)

Robin wrestled with officialdom to allow his projectredsand access rights for preservation of what is the last remaining full set on Maunsell Army Forts, no mean feat, Robin persuaded Mowlem to rebuild the platform and secure access ladders at the base of the Southern Gun Tower (G1)

Numerous TV Channels from all over the World started to take an interest and have visited ever since

Robin Adcroft 1969

Robin Adcroft on the Red Sands Fort (1969)

Phase 1 'Red Sands Development Corporation aka Seatribe

Seatribe group on Red Sands Fort Fort

The Seatribe Project - Charlie, Robin, Steven Warwick, Jim & Colin with 'Patacake' Stevie's wife foreground (1969)

Already in his mind to broadcast from shore and link to a transmitter on the Fort, over a drink or two I crazily suggested we put a radio station back on the Fort 'lock stock and barrel' to mark 40 years since the Radio Forts had been forced to closed down

Mike Robin & Elija on the Mi-Amigo

MV 'Mi-Amigo', Radio Caroline with Mike 'the Poet' (Mike Wall-Garland) Robin Adcroft and Elija Cornelia van Den Berg as Tender comes alongside (1973)

Mike Wall-Garland was a diesel engineer on the ship, he was heard on both Caroline and Seagull reading poetry, he was killed aged 27 car crash on 17th December 1974

Elija at the time of the photograph was Norman Barrington's girlfriend, she died a couple of years ago

Robin Adcroft on Mi-Amigo

Robin Adcroft on Radio Caroline MV 'Mi-Amigo' (1973)

The above photograph from Robin's collection, I recall him saying 'Due to infrequent Tendering we seldom had sufficient supplies so were all waif thin'


Audio

Robin Adcroft on Caroline International 1973

DRadio Seagull Team on the Mi-Amigo

Radio Seagull Team (1973)

Mike the engineer AKA Mike Hydrophoor, Barry Everitt behind Andy Archer, Norman Barrington 'the hippy', Robin Adcroft screeching 'Ik Ben Mijn Baby Kwijt! Eeeeeuugh!' ('I Think I'm Losing My Baby! eeeeuugh!') then Mike 'the poet' Mike Wall-Garland


Audio

Radio Caroline/RNI Out Takes 1973

Robin Banks on RNI

Robin on RNI by Theo Denker (1973)

Revox A77 service manual Revox A77 service manual

Revox A77 Service Manual* from the Mebo II, Radio Northsea International

*Robin gave us the service manual, which contains a couple of his own circuit diagrams many years ago when we were using Revox A77's

Robin Banks on RNI

Robin on RNI by Age Jager (1974)

Robin Banks on RNI

Robin on RNI by Age Jager (1974)

Listen to the long lost Robin Banks RNI Show introduction originally produced in the 1970's as you read on


Audio

'I Am Listening' Robin Banks RNI Show intro 1974

Norman Barrington points out that the Alfa Sono was originally intended for Robb Eden

Alphasound tape Alphasound tape

Alfasound Manchester Radio I.D Tape

The 'I Am Listening' Radio Northsea International (RNI) programme intro do-nut was produced at Alpha Tapetrix (Alphasound)

Owned by Steve England no longer has the original takes, Robin long ago lost his tape and cartridge versions but did pass over some odd studio tapes for us to to cobble together


Audio

RNI Robin Banks Show AJ Beirns intro' Jingle Mix 1974

Robin on The Voice of Peace

Robin 'Somewhere in the Mediterranean' on the Voice of Peace


Audio

Ken Justice Sonovox's for the Robin Banks Show on RNI 1974

Of course Robin loved the idea, so we set about getting the Fort ready for broadcasting, a massive undertaking given the conditions, we battled for lottery funding, picking up a grant, sponsorship and advertising

Refitting the Fort for broadcasting was an arduous task, Robin talked an Electrician friend into rewiring the Fort and providing a pair of generators at cost, which were stripped down and manually hauled aboard and rebuilt

Robin on Red Sands Radio Fort 2007

Robin in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E) Room, Red Sands Radio (7th July 2007)

A team began erecting an antenna, which before completion bucked in gales so had to be rebuilt again

We cleaned the Southern Gun Tower best we could, took out furniture soft furnishings, carpet and fittings from my home, what we didn't have we scrounged to make half decent accommodation, made up a galley, installed main and news studios

One of the funniest things I recall was Robin bringing out cutlery on every visit over several weeks, quite why I never understood, there are still hundreds of knives, forks, spoons and cooking utensils aboard to this day!

Robin on Red Sands Radio Fort 2007 Robin on Red Sands Radio Fort 2007

Robin on the Red Sands Fort, preparation for Red Sands Radio (14th July 2007)

Conditions were never great in the 1960's, the privations of returning to live on the Fort after 40 years can only be imagined, but Robin revelled in the thought of being able to stay on the Fort again

The name for the station had to be synonymous with the Fort and so I conceived the name 'Red Sands Radio'

The station was well received in our target area of the Thames Estuary Basin and North Kent Coastal Towns. Being at sea medium wave coverage was superb further afield, and feedback to the programming encouraged a return the following year

Robin on Red Sands Radio Fort 2008

Robin on the roof of Southern Gun Tower #1, a section of the 2nd Red Sands Radio Antenna (5th June 2008)

We improved conditions aboard and built a more substantial antenna found via friends at ICOM (UK)

Unfortunately interlopers later set a fire on the roof which damaged the mast, its repair was to fail bringing the mast down in early 2018, see Fort Tragedy

Robin on Red Sands Radio Fort 2008

Robin in the Galley on Red Sands Radio (2nd July 2008)

When the Fort lost it's fendering in late 2008 Red Sands Radio came ashore operating from the 'Old Steam Packet' pub on the South Quay at Whitstable Harbour for a further 6 years. With studio building ear marked for redevelopment we planned to move into the Vattenfall Wind Farm building on the West Quay, but were thwarted by bureaucracy

The Red Sands Radio concept was taken up river by the Thames at Greenwich, two test broadcast later we ultimately gained a full term licence for Maritime Radio (London)

Without Robin's involvement Red Sands Radio wouldn't have happened, I'd like to think our subsequent London station will in spirit be a legacy to Robin

Norman Barrington at Scheveningen Harbour

Norman Barrington awaits a tender at Scheveningen harbour (1973)

Acknowledgements : Grateful thanks to Norman Barrington, Jon Myer, Hans Knot and Age Jager

See the Pirate Hall of Fame for Jon's tribute to Robin and other Offshore Radio Personnel

There are several pages throughout the site that include Robin on Caroline, RNI, in Libya and on Red Sands Radio, use the search facility on the Home Page

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