Although Shaun Boylan's biographical sketch of Aodogán O'Rahilly's life [see Part 1], is very useful, it has too many gaps and too few dates to create a full account of his business life. But from the helpful information provided by Shaun, we can now plug-in more of that missing information from other sources.
One reason for building this biographical timeline is so that we can also plug-in the scanty and heavily redacted life of his well publicized son Ronan, because we can then plug-in information concerning Ronan's life and his claims. Most of Ronan's claims were either untrue or totally exaggerated beyond recognition of a truthful account. This is especially true of the claims that center around the creation of Radio Caroline.
This biographical sketch of Aodogán O'Rahilly's life will show that he was a businessman with a very clear idea of what he wanted to achieve, and it will also reveal how his lack of money and a downturn in his business had frustrated and thwarted his endeavors. It was during one such downturn that his son showed up on his father's doorstep with Allan James Crawford in tow.
The hoax version is that Crawford went to Dublin to meet Aodogán to get him to invest in Radio Atlanta. Since Crawford is on film telling the world that he first met Ronan in "early 1963", it would mean that Crawford had already lost the mortgage on his ship THV Satellite when he went to see Aodogán O'Rahilly, because John Delaney who had been Crawford's financial backer, had already pulled out. So at that moment in time Crawford had no ship and no financial backing.
What the myth-makers want you to believe is that Crawford went with Ronan O'Rahilly to see Ronan's father in order to start all over again, and that all he had to show with regards to his request for money, was a unique business plan. Crawford hoped that Ronan's father would offer him both a financial investment in Radio Atlanta, and the use of a 'port' which Ronan said that his father controlled.
The problem with that myth is that Crawford's business plan was not of his own making, and second, it was not unique.
The idea of having interlocking companies and trust funds scattered among various nations in order to start an offshore broadcasting station, had been used many times before by other groups. But in the United Kingdom, the inward looking planners had not been so imaginative, and they had ignored the dangers of operating in the open and under the nose of the British Crown and its GPO.
In the instance of the 'Voice of Slough' and its spin-off 'GBOK' venture on board a hulk tied-up to a dock at Sheerness, this had led to a raid that not only put that venture out of business, but caused its con-man promoter Arnold Swanson to flee from England across the Atlantic where he eventually ended up in prison. Yet that venture had attracted two elements of use to Allan Crawford.
The first of these was the pioneering drive of Charles Orr Stanley, an Irishman with a home near Cork in the Republic of Ireland. His home was also 'next door' to a major shipyard where REM Island was constructed. Stanley was Chairman of the Pye Group of companies, and he owned several factories. One of them in Northern Ireland was in need of a better means of exporting its products to the island of Great Britain. Another factory was at Sheerness where the 'GBOK' venture had been based.
The second element in the Stanley offshore radio arsenal was the employment of two ex-BBC engineers Alfred Nicholas Thomas and John Howard Gilman.
The grandson of Charles Orr Stanley discovered that his grandfather had then switched to backing the Radio Caroline venture, although for a variety of reasons, he chose to deliberately obfuscate the details. By careful research we have uncovered the original documents upon which this information is based. Unfortunately they are also lacking in specific details, so this entire project becomes a massive jigsaw puzzle which we are reconstructing. We also have to make sure that the correct pieces are then fit together. That is why an accurate biography of Aodogán O'Rahilly is so important and why Shaun's outline is so helpful.
From sources in Texas we have gleaned a lot of first-hand information unobtainable anywhere else. Until Rusling decided to steal some of this data, it had not appeared in any book. What we learned is very specific. We know that Ronan O'Rahilly went to Houston in June 1963, but Ronan O'Rahilly never admitted that. Neither can Rusling document his claims without revealing his sources of information to be our research published in the now defunct 'Caroline Investigation Newletter'.
What Ronan O'Rahilly did claim in public, is that he flew at some time prior January 1964 to New York in order to buy transmitters for Radio Caroline. In other places he claimed to have bought them in Galveston, which is an island in the Gulf of Mexico and part of the State of Texas. It was while on that flight that he claimed to have read an article about five years old Caroline Kennedy who was prancing around the Oval Office in the White House. It was the picture of her under the President's desk he claimed, that 'inspired' him to name 'his' new radio station Radio Caroline.
Well we now know that the 'Caroline Kennedy' hoax story was not created until the Spring of 1965, which is one year after Radio Caroline first went on the air. We also know that the transmitters for Radio Nord had been made in Dallas, Texas, and then shipped, first to New York, and then from New York by an export company to Europe. This was to avoid confrontation with U.S. Customs. Again, Rusling has no explanation as to how the transmitters used by Radio Caroline got on board the mv Fredericia, and again he cannot explain his claims without revealing his theft of intellectual property.
What anoraks do not seem to understand is that the Radio Atlanta project and its spin-off of Radio Caroline were co-based in both Ireland and Texas, in parallel with the REM Island venture! But REM Island construction was based in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland, while its master planners were based in Houston, Texas. The anoraks have focused upon the end-user who was based in the Netherlands. So this idea about the novelty of Greenore in the Republic of Ireland has more to do with the secrecy of Charles Orr Stanley and his colleagues in Texas, than it has to do with a quid-pro-quo arrangement between Ronan O'Rahilly and Allan James Crawford.
In fact, the evidence points to the intended original outfitting location for the mv Fredericia being somewhere close to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, after it left Rotterdam. It was at East Cowes where Crawford's original ship called THV Satellite, had been docked. That is also where Harry Spencer had his Yard, and it is how Harry Spencer came to know Allan James Crawford. A tip-off at the last moment diverted the mv Fredericia from its Isle of Wight destination to Greenore in the Republic of Ireland.
It was that tip-off which prompted Allan James Crawford to go with Ronan O'Rahilly to see Aodogán O'Rahilly in Dublin, and they probably left in a panic. Crawford needed to get permission to use the seldom used and under financed dock facility at Greenore, which was owned by Weatherwell Limited and managed by Aodogán O'Rahilly.
Crawford needed a dock in a hurry, and Aodogán O'Rahilly was short of cash.
A deal was struck to use the Greenore facility but in strict secrecy, because the last thing that Aodogán O'Rahilly could afford to do was upset and annoy the governments of either the Republic of Ireland or the United Kingdom. His future business relied upon help from both governments.
However, the action taken by Crawford in going to see Aodogán O'Rahilly concerning the immediate problem concerning the mv Fredericia, was also tied to his upcoming problem with the mv Mi Amigo, because Crawford's leased use of that ship was conditional. It depended upon the mv Fredericia passing a test to see how the British Crown would react to a British offshore commercial radio station.
Gluing all of this together was Charlies Orr Stanley who was playing two sides against the middle. His long term goal was in getting the UK Tory government to licence hundreds of local radio stations in the United Kingdom. He had previously been behind the drive to push the Tory government into creating the Independent Television Authority (ITA), and then leasing time to independent television program contractors.
Stanley's first attempt to create public demand for local radio was in setting up Radio Cambridge as an unlicensed station at the 1960 Royal Agricultural Show at Cambridge. This station was a demonstration built and operated in support of the Pye 'Plan for Local Broadcasting in Britain' which was published later the same year. Both the 1960 radio station and the publication, were part of the campaign to gain licenses for the nearly 200 local, and many of them commercial stations that had been formed.
Many of the applicants were newspaper groups, but others were companies such as the Rank Organization who branded many of their applications with the prefix: 'Voice of ...." This is where John Thompson got the name for his own Voice of Slough Limited. As for Pye, it was interested in the manufacturing end of supplying these new stations, it had no direct plan to operate any of them.
Radio Caroline was in Charles Orr Stanley's mind to be a short term venture. Having been rebuffed by the Pilkington Committee, which claimed that there was no demand for local radio stations in commercial hands, it was Charles and his son John who came to the rescue of Allan James Crawford. Their idea was to use Radio Caroline as a battering ram to force the Tory government into issuing those land-based licenses. This plan also failed with the General Election of October 15, 1964 and the Labour government which then took office.
For Crawford, whose interests were centered upon independent record sales and music licensing, he could not lease the mv Mi Amigo until the mv Fredericia had proved that the UK would not seize it, despite it being anchored in international waters.
The key to Crawford's belief that the UK would not seize the mv Mi Amigo, was in his research of the so-called UK 'Hovering Acts' of the Nineteenth Century. But Gordon McLendon who had a controlling interest in ownership of the mv Mi Amigo, was not convinced. During the late Fifties he had been part of a competing team which included Charles Orr Stanley in trying to get the Republic of Ireland to award his company with the contract to build Ireland's television stations. In return, he expected the Irish government to award him with another license to build and operate a super-power 'Radio Luxembourg' type of station which would blanket the British Isles and much of Western Europe.
Aodogán O'Rahilly was thus in a difficult position.
He wanted investment money, and this does appear to be the real reason why his son Ronan had been sent to London in the first place. Clearly Crawford lacked money because he had lost his main backer, and clearly his plans revolved around leasing the mv Mi Amigo, but that entire issue became very complicated when Alfred Nicholas Thomas and John Howard Gilman who both worked for Charles Orr Stanley, came into Crawford's life. They offered a solution but in so doing, they created a lot of involved headaches which Crawford had never thought about.
We will extrapolate those details later, but right now we are gong to return to documenting the life of Aodogán O'Rahilly after World War II. That is when Ronan was a mere five years old.
Our recital will resume tomorrow.
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