At first we though that Arthur Carrington was an invented character, because everything about him spelled 'fake'.
We thought that he had been injected into the story of Radio Caroline as a figurehead, in order to deflect attention away from the fact that Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline were one project. By Radio Atlanta, I am referring to the second attempt to create Radio Atlanta, and it was that second attempt that marked the beginning of its hived-off variation called Radio Caroline.
But as as we dug deeper into his background, Arthur Carrington began to emerge not only as a real person, but as the single most important clue to solving the riddle about who created Radio Caroline, and why they created it.
There are many tales in circulation about Radio Atlanta and its figureheads of Allan James Crawford, Dorothy (Kitty) Black and Oliver Smedley, but few have tried to seriously uncover the true origin of Radio Atlanta. Instead, various people has asserted that these three people had created a company called CBC (Plays) Limited back in April 1960, and then tried to launch an offshore station called Radio Atlanta in order to promote Allan Crawford's independent record labels.
But that scenario which began in April 1960, and lasted until August 1962, is one that lacks finite details. It is however, generally agreed by the storytellers that it came to an end when a Danish offshore station called Radio Mercur was raided at sea by the Danish Police, and they put it off the air. Then Crawford's main financial backer got cold feet and pulled out, or so the story goes.
But who was that main financial backer, and what did the letters "C.B.C." mean in CBC (Plays) Ltd., and why "plays" and not music?
Threading through other attempts to start an offshore radio station off the British coastline, was a transmitter technician named Alfred Nicholas Thomas. In 1959 he retired from the BBC after a lifetime of employment. Thomas, who his coworkers called ANT behind his back, seems to have become bored very quickly and was hired by the PYE Group of companies.
His tasks involved going on board the Dutch offshore radio hulk 'Borkum Riff' and trying to sort out its transmitter problems. He also became involved with another offshore radio venture which failed to get on the air called GBOK. Then he cropped up in Crawford's office at a time when Ronan O'Rahilly was there along with a lot of people behind a new bid to put Radio Atlanta on the air using the former US owned Swedish Radio Nord ship.
It was after that strange meeting that Radio Caroline was hived off to discover how the British government would react. Would force be used to close it down?
As part of this plan it became necessary to create an entirely fake separate identity for this new station. Ronan O'Rahilly was to be promoted as its managing director, and Arthur Carrington was named as the 'genius' who had put the station together and on the air.
Carrington was bestowed with a CV of engineering achievements to make his claim to fame seem entirely plausible, except that Arthur Carrington was nowhere to be found by the press, and all of his achievements seemed to be the work of other people. Consequently, by commencing a thorough search for this man his real life work has come to light, but not as a radio transmitter technician.
Arthur Carrington was a Marconi export salesman for its TV cameras which contained patent agreements with the US Radio Corporation of America, as well as input from EMI.
In the next blog I will begin to lay out in detail what we now know about Arthur Carrington and why he was part of a scheme to lead everyone to believe that Radio Atlanta and Radio Caroline were rival projects, when in fact they were always two halves of one project promoted by the Chairman of the Pye Group of companies. Albeit in total secrecy. The 'key' to unraveling this mystery is not the career of A. N. Thomas, but the secretive career of Arthur Carrington.
You will learn why the introduction of Arthur Carrington into the story of Radio Caroline is an enigma, because on the surface it does not make sense. Yet that very dilemma is perhaps not such a conundrum after all, which is part of the mystery that we are still unraveling.
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