Page Eleven

Ken, left, chats to Nick Bailey at the Caroline 40th Anniversary, March 2004

Ken Evans
Colin Nichol wrote from Australia with the story of how Ken Evans was responsible for him being the first DJ who was offered a job aboard Radio Atlanta.

It occurs to me while I browse your site (once again), that little is mentioned of Ken Evans.

Ken is a modest and was a very knowledgeable 'behind the scenes' hard-worker with Caroline. He ran programmes as Programme Director at the HQ in Mayfair. He first encountered the pirates when he bumped into Allan Crawford (Radio Atlanta) in Soho, around September 1963. Ken had been programme Director with Radio 2GB in Sydney and Allan was manager of Southern Music in Sydney, so they knew each other.

I had a radio career here in Australia before I went to the UK in 1963 and as a consequence, was the first pirate DJ to be offered a job. I was recruited because Ken had met me only a matter of a day or two earlier (we had met in Sydney, years before) and he had subsequently given my name to Allan. Allan (above, right) immediately contacted me to tell me of his plans for the prototype pirate Radio Atlanta, and to ask me to become involved.

Like me, Ken moved from Atlanta to Caroline, then to Radio Luxembourg and lastly, to the BBC. At his retirement, he had a special private presentation of "This is Your Life", hosted by David Jacobs.

For some time he lived in Abbey Road London, continuing his enjoyment of theatre and travel, while spending English winters in his original home town of Sydney. In 2004, Ken returned there permanently. He has a unit in a very good and pleasant retirement complex just an hour or so north of Sydney, on the coast, and is very happy there. Members of his family are nearby. He keeps in regular phone contact with friends in the UK.

Ken is currently giving talks on his experiences for fellow residents but says he will not go back "on the road" with the lectures he used to do around England after leaving the BBC.

(Ken passed away at the retirement home in Sydney in November 2013)

Lower right: photo of Colin aboard the Mi Amigo in August 1965, from 'Offshore Radio' by Gerry Bishop.

The End for the Mi Amigo

This newspaper clipping, kindly supplied by Craig Blum, is from the Evening News, March 20th, 1980. To read a much larger version, click on the picture.

The same story, as reported in the London Evening Standard, is on the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.

Tony tells it like it is

In the autumn of 1965, sixteen-year old ardent Caroline fan, Alan Hardy, was shocked to hear that Tony Blackburn planned to defect from the Mi Amigo to the Galaxy. Alan, who was not particularly enamoured of Radio London, wrote and told Tony how upset he'd been by the news and he received the reply below.

From Tony's answer, dated October 11th 1965, it would seem that Alan had accused him of being a traitor! Tony reveals that the DJs from the two ships, although 'on-air rivals', are friendly. He gives a major reason for his intended defection as his disapproval of the way in which his friends Mike Allan, Garry Kemp, Roger Gale, Doug Kerr and Bob Walton had been obliged to leave.

Tony was initially approached to join Big L, but was required to change his name to 'Mark Roman' and dress in a toga. He refused, because he had already established a career under his own name. So it was that Wimbledon Palais DJ Graham Wallace donned the toga and joined Radio London on October 19th in the guise of the Roman Emperor. Tony Blackburn did not actually jump ship till eight months later, joining Radio London on June 7th 1966 – and keeping his own name.

Click on the two letter pages below to see legible versions.

He's the Best Man!

There was a surprise reunion for Keith Skues and Bryan Vaughan in July 2005. Bryan, who lives in Sydney, Australia, was in London on business and had arranged to meet Ben Healy, in town from Edmonton, Canada and other Radio Scotland friends. Ben asked Radio London's Mary Payne if she could arrange for Keith Skues to attend as a surprise for Bryan. Keith and Bryan had been cabin-mates on Caroline South and Keith had acted as Best Man at Bryan's wedding. They had kept in touch, but had not met for some years. Keith was delighted to be able to come and somehow, everyone managed to keep his attendance a secret. Another nice surprise for Bryan was the appearance of George Saunders, Caroline's engineer. (See gallery of photos of the event here).

To mark the reunion of Cardboard Shoes and Bryan Vaughan, we have an MP3 clip of them together on Caroline in 1965, with a contribution from Norm St John. Bryan manfully gives the results of his competition while sounding extremely ill!

It is approximately 3m 42s and is 1.5MB in size. We recommend non-broadband users to download the clip before attempting to play it.

From Crawford to O'Rahilly

This letter dated May 11th 1967 and written by Allan Crawford to Ronan O'Rahilly, confirms Ronan's ownership of the Collins 1KW transmitter, and 'various parts' housed at the Douglas Hotel in Douglas, Isle of Man.

Click on photo to read the letter, from the George Hare collection.

Malcolm Barrett has kindly shared a photo of a Caroline North QSL card that he acquired in 2023 via ebay. The card was postmarked Oct 15th and sent to listener Jan Rasmussan in Malmo, Sweden. Malcolm says, "The ink has faded with time, but the date (of Jan's confirmed report) is 11/07/1964, 0130 GMT."

The mv Fredericia, renamed Caroline, had continued broadcasting as she sailed from her original position off Felixstowe to her new anchorage in Ramsey Bay, off the Isle of Man. She had arrived on 6th July, just a few days before Jan reported hearing the broadcast in Sweden, in the early hours of July 11th.

Click on the card images to see larger version

All contributions for our offshore scrapbooks will be gratefully received. Radio London scrapbook here.