As we began to explain yesterday for the very first time anywhere, the beginning of Radio Caroline was as an offshoot from Radio Atlanta, but it still remained one project.
But it did not begin with a fable that Ronan O'Rahilly's father was a wealthy man who was visited as a potential investor by Australian Allan James Crawford. Yet that is the way in which the subject of Greenore, Eire, is always introduced and referred to in the host of newspaper and magazine articles; books; audio accounts on radio, and video explanations on television. They begin with a statement and then move on to another point very quickly in an attempt to deceive their readers, listeners and viewers on this subject.
Those recitals by so-called 'experts' are all bogus; false; rubbish; nonsense, and contradictions of documented fact! Usually they overcome their 'problem' with the truth by skipping right over it. Our favorite example of this process Is the basis for a skit in early Steve Martin comedy routines. You should listen to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T28ouCAUl4w
Let me give you some classic examples of what I call the 'Steve Martin Process', as it applies here:
Before Radio Caroline there was little in the way of pop music being broadcast in the UK: False. Before Radio Caroline even emitted a test signal the Beatles were already big in the UK and beginning to take the USA by storm. How was that possible? The Beatles were not alone in this tidal wave of sound. How could that possibly be true? But it is.
Georgie Fame wanted to make a record, but he was unable to do so, His manager Ronan O'Rahilly made a demo and tried to get the BBC to play it, and then Radio Luxembourg. No go. "Right!" exclaimed Ronan, "I have to start my own radio station". But he didn't and he wasn't Georgie Fame's manager and EMI had alreadly released an LP by Georgie Fame, months before Radio Caroline came on the air.
Ronan O'Rahilly had a wealthy father who owned the only private port in Ireland, so Ronan did a deal with Allan Crawford and both his radio ship, and Ronan's radio ship were outfitted there. Well, Ronan's dad was not wealthy and he did not own a private port in Ireland and Radio Caroline had been partially outfitted in Rotterdam by Wijsmuller.
Ronan flew to Texas to buy some transmitters and on his way he saw a picture of five years old Caroline Kennedy crawling under her Dad's desk, and he was the President of the USA, and she did this in front of diplomats which caused serious discussion to cease. "Right!" said Ronan. "I will name my station after her, it will be called 'Radio Caroline'." But none of that is true and the myth about Caroline Kennedy did not begin until the Spring of 1965.
However, as these examples show, you first make a definitively bold statement and then, before anyone has a chance to question its authenticity, you move on to the next point which you expand upon in great detail. Now no one remembers what your first point was, but the next time you make that same first point, it will be accepted as an existing and unquestioned statement of truth.
That's how this game has been played - until now.
Paul Rusling was just the latest to try it out after stealing his foundational work, and then he twisted it to fit the old myths. But his time is now up!
Here comes the person who peers behind the curtains of deception!
All of these various previously published explanations about the start of Radio Caroline all mention a hodge-podge of seemingly unconnected attempts to start offshore radio stations. Then they end-up with an old fuddy-duddy like Allan Crawford who is then out-smarted by a young and vibrant Ronan O'Rahilly.
Ronan may not have got the 'Steve Martin' approach from Steve Martin, but Ronan O'Rahilly was so full of crap it was portrayed as cow pancakes, it made sensible people following in his footsteps be very careful where they trod. Most of his followers plodded on through his fields of dung and consequently their works stink of rotting rubbish.
This is where all of that gets flushed down the toilet.
So whereas Steve Martin intended to make his audience laugh, the O'Rahilly hacks tend to pick your pockets by getting you to pay for their rubbish, and then they laugh at you for being such a fool.
Hey, it worked up until now.
It worked for Paul Rusling and he even had the audacity to call his nonsense a 'bible', which it is: a bible of nonsense.
We have already established that Ronan's father was cash-strapped and was looking for his own investors. That alone makes nonsense of the idea that Ronan would suggest to Allan Crawford that he should hit his father up for money in order to finance Radio Atlanta. But that is what all of the nonsense authors tell you that he did.
We are showing you why that didn't happen, and why Crawford would not have been stupid enough to attempt it.
It becomes apparent that the use of Greenore, Eire to outfit the mv Fredericia and mv Mi Amigo was a last minute affair. Remember that. It is a key point.
It looks as if the original location was to have been closer to Harry Spencer's boat yard on the Isle of Wight. But then information came into Pye that a raid by the GPO would take place if they remained within the UK. That is what happened to Pye with their operation at Sheerness involving GBOK, and aside from the con man Arnold Swanson, that same team was headed by Alfred Nicholas Thomas, and he was now involved with Radio Atlanta and its spin-off Radio Caroline.
It also becomes apparent that Gordon McLendon blocked use of the mv Mi Amigo until a guinea pig was used to test further application or non-application of the 'Hovering Acts'.
Ronan O'Rahilly had been sent to Houston, Texas by Crawford in June 1963, and that is where he was introduced to Captain De Jong Lanau of Wijsmuller, and that is how Wijsmuller ended up with both the Fredericia and Mi Amigo in their care.
The Mi Amigo was ready to go - except for a new mast and antenna.
The Fredericia was just a retired ferry boat, and so everything had to be added. At Rottedam the imported transmitters were loaded and installed, but not the generating power. So when the Fredericia ended-up at Greenore, workers had to be found to install everything necessary to turn it into a radio ship.
Supervising the work was Harry Spencer, and Harry hired Dundalk Engineering Works to carry out the necessary jobs. The only problem was that because it was a secret project, everyone had to be conned into believing that this was really the reopening of the Port at Greenore with both a passenger ferry service aboard the Fredericia, and a cargo service aboard the Mi Amigo.
But of course, it was not.
So when Dundalk Engineering Works discovered the truth, they pulled the plug.
Ronan's dad was also furious.
He hated the English. He was furious, and he called for Harry Spencer, who was English, to come from Greenore to his home near Dublin, and explain his actions. So Harry went with Ronan to Dublin to see his father. After all, it was Ronan who had been paid off to con his father for use of the Greenore property which was owned by a company controlled by his dad.
Obviously Ronan managed to get his dad to let Harry continue to use the property at Greenore, and Harry managed to get a Roman Catholic priest to help him persuade Dundalk Engineering Works to let their employees return to work.
After the Fredericia departed, that's when Grenada TV people showed up to make an edition of 'World in Action', and it was none to flattering about Greenore, and that also upset everyone. Fortunately by the time it was shown on television, everyone had left Greenore.
But all of this unmasking resulted in the Mi Amigo getting booted out of Greenore rather quickly, before Harry had finished work on the mast, and that almost caused it to collapse. They were lucky to escape another disaster when the ship had to put in for emergency repairs at Falmouth, England. That was complicated, but because it was a foreign ship and it was not broadcasting, and because it had an emergency need for a port of call, the GPO was told to leave it alone.
So what about Ove and his account of all this?
Well Ove lied and puffed himself up by inventing an account of his involvement that was then disputed by George Saunders, and which then backfired on Ove, all because of the problems created at Greenore by Dundalk Engineering Works employees. They came back begrudgingly and sabotaged the job, which Ove claimed responsibility for.
George Saunders who was provisionally hired by Gilman and then approved by Thomas at Greenore, got the job looking after the transmission side on board the Mi Amigo. Then the problems began to show up on the Fredericia, and he was told by Gilman to go and fix the problem.
Now that would have been strange if Atlanta and Caroline were two different projects, but they were same project at two locations. Not only that, but John Howard Gilman was now running the technical side of everything at 6 Chesterfield Gardens, and he was reporting to Allan James Crawford. Gilman's secretary was Dorothy (Kitty) Black!
Oh, one other thing. Gilman was also added to the board of directors controlling Hengown Ltd which supplied all of the djs. The Atlanta and Caroline djs all been trained at 47 Dean Street, which of course is where Allan James Crawford had his office and studio.
You see, the true story makes sense, but the anorak version is both ridiculous and stupid!
Ove injected himself into a fable, because the events he described did not happen.
The events George Saunders described did happen.
How do we know?
Well, Ove talked to anoraks in the same way that Johnnie Walker and others made up stories long after the events had taken place, but just as JW was then contradicted by Don Pierson with the facts in evidence; George Saunders had to create bureaucratic paperwork for Gilman and Crawford, and he did that at the time that events were taking place.
Because money was involved.
George had to be paid outside his job description, and he was paid accordingly! George was also ordering a lot of replacement parts, and their invoices had to be paid, as well as the delivery of goods to the dockside on the Isle of Man, and transported (exported) to the mv Caroline, ex-Fredericia.
But there is much more documentary evidence to support all of this, and none to support the fables of Rusling and company!
For his part, Ove Sjöström decided to 'tell all', meaning 'invent all', "during a seminar at an exhibition called 'Radio in Handen' ...." which is where "....he gave a talk on April 14, 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden" Participating with Ove Sjöström was Seve Ungermark, News Editor on Radio Nord; Ronny Forslund; Göran Lindemark and Ingemar Lindqvist. Because this talk was then translated from Swedish into English, some of that translated work has been tweaked without changing the meaning of the original text.
Now Ove was a Ham radio operator who began promoting his CV as if he was in the same league as George Saunders, and that made George very angry, because Ove was not in the same league at all. Without knowing what had happened at Greenore concerning Dundalk Engineering Works, Ove took credit for a disaster which he was not responsible for!
Here is more from Ove at that seminar where he tries to fool the technically unwashed audience into thinking that he knows his stuff. Of course he is ad-libbing years after the event and making up stories (like Johnnie Walker), as he goes along,
He said: "Speaking about 'Radio Nord' .... The transmitters were two Continental Electronics on each side of a combiner. .... we used one transmitter and that was the same on Caroline (ex-Fredericia) because we wanted to have one in stand by and that proved to be quite a good idea because something happened during Radio Nord time at two occasions. The generator to the radio station bolted off and the power tubes where destroyed. They were those ceramic tubes, three of them giving 5 kW each. The fan stopped and we drove the tubes quite hard so all those tubes went kaput. At the first occasion we had no spare tubes, so we swiftly ordered home new ones, in the meantime we had that other transmitter to use. So we worked almost around the clock down there to get all in order. The transmitter side was ready, but on the studio side there was still some work to do. I also had the opportunity to learn the special technique to measure antennas with the reactance and impedance and that whole part. What they did not knew about and what I did not know about and nobody else knew about was that it was crazy to be in a harbor doing such work. To measure on an antenna about 38 meters high in the neighborhood of the harbor cranes. That was a problem that surfaced also later."
Ove continued .... "Now I realize that the time flies and I have to say something about Caroline. One day I got a phone call, I lived with my parents in Sollentuna at that time and my mother told me that someone had called and asked for me during the day. She did not understand English but they understood the situation so they called again half an hour after I came home from work. That was Ronan O'Rahilly, he presented himself from London and he had a project on the way to start a radio boat and he had got information from the Americans that I had knowledge about radio boats. So he was asking me if I could come over to Ireland to help them to equip their ship."
This is where Ove starts to also invent mythology for Ronan O'Rahilly to build upon. Johnnie Walker used exactly the same approach thinking that no one would contradict him, but Don Pierson heard him, and he dismissed what he said as rubbish. Ditto applies to Ove and Ronan.
So Ove rattled on: "We arranged so I travelled over to stay there for a couple of months. I said 'it is OK if you send me a ticket' and he called again after a quarter of an hour and told me that my ticket was waiting at Arlanda International Airport. So then I travelled over to Dublin and that was another of those funny situations. I travelled with SAS down to Copenhagen and then I went with Airlingus from Copenhagen to Dublin and on that flight I was the one and only passenger so that fight was not very profitable. When I arrived at Dublin they had rented a car for me and in addition I had the benefit to give a lift to some blokes that came from the London office. That rented car was later used by everybody so it was probably only to drive it to the scrap yard afterwards!"
Who is "they" and what "blokes that came from the London office"? Ove is now getting into his stride by spitting out misinformation. He makes stuff up as he goes along.
"Anyway, when I came up to Greenore owned by Ronan’s father, it is a little yard, an Englishman was already there and he had fitted the transmitters and started to build the studio and I saw that this job was huge."
Did Ove ever go to Greenore?
Ronan's father did not own "a little yard" at Greenore. Then there is this "Englishman" who "was already there and he had fitted the transmiters and started to build the studio ...."
The property at Greenore was owned by Weatherwell Ltd., which is not the same as saying that "Ronan's father" owned this "little yard" at Greenore. Then we come to the workers at Greenore. They were not English, they were Irish from Dundalk Engineering Works. Harry Spencer who commissioned that company was English, but he was not installing transmitters nor was he building a studio.
But Ove continued:
"So I called one of my colleges from Radio Nord Jan Gunnarsson and told him”you must come over ‘Janne’ and help me to get this operation started within reasonable time”. So he came over and we managed to start the whole thing. We had already a certain routine on it so all went well. We had learned our lesson, like if we wanted to tune the aerial we should not stay in harbor doing that."
Now there was Harry Spencer who was in charge of all work. He was also building the two masts and hanging the two antennas, and they were both designed by John Howard Gilman. He was expert in such matters, which Ove was not. More than that, Gilman was there with Thomas and so was George Saunders! All three of them were English, and all three of them knew more than Ove.
However, Ove had more to add about all this:
"But in England everything was routine as ‘Janne’ and I knew what to keep an eye on and what to do. We did a whole lot in Greenore that we knew we did not want to do at sea. The first thing we had to tackle was the fact that they had welded the Mercedes power generators, they had two generators for the power supply of the radio station and they had welded them into the hull of the boat to have them properly assembled. That was not a good idea because that made the whole ship vibrating coursing a lot of noise. So I told them that I refused to go to sea if this is not done correctly. So they came back with some rubber attachments, lifted the generators so that they could attach those rubber feet. So in that way the noise got reasonable. Anyway, the noise was still there when I sat in the control room, which was not that well sound proofed as the studio was in the beginning."
Now this is where Ove's fantasy collides with Harry Spencer's reality check.
Here is Ove describing the same incident that Harry Spencer described, only Ove is talking about it after the work of installation had already been performed. Then along comes Ove as the "expert" to tell everyone about their mistakes.
Ove is ridiculous; like Johnnie Walker!
But there is even more from Ove:
"Later when we moored outside London, Ronan O'Rahilly made a phone call to the ship asking me if I was staying for some days. He did not know if I was supposed to go home or something. 'Yes, I will stay fore a while', I told him."
Okay, now when was this supposed to have happened?
Ove's account clashes with a GPO account about a fly-by-night company that just got a phone installed under the name of Rosswood Ltd. In fact, the GPO history of this phone and its usage is well documented.
If the phone call that Ove describes took place, then it had to have been from the same phone documented by the GPO. If that is so. then it clears up a mystery as to who and what 'Rosswood Ltd' was. Clearly it was a phone installed by Ian Cowper Ross using his parents home as a credit reference. They lived at Reynards Wood on Woolmer Hill in Haslemere, Surrey in a house with land attached, and which Ian's father named Charles Edward Ross, had leased.
To hammer in his square peg into a round hole, Rusling claimed that everyone called Ian's Dad 'Jimmy', which is yet another example of rubbish being sold as reality. Since Ronan was broke and always used other people to get money, and he always used their assets to serve his own needs, the phone call described by Ove, would confirm what the GPO had reported.
Ove, still talking about Ronan O'Rahilly, then added:
"So he came out and we went into the cabin and closed the door. He then told me that there is another boat on the way called Radio Atlanta and that was the old Bon Jour they had bought from the Yanks. He wondered if I could do something to delay them because they had have a discussion and it was no good to get a competitor and they had reasoned that the first one that came on air was going to get the market. So he was asking me if I could help with that matter and I told him “of course I will do it."
Now this is where Ove's lies begin to confront each other head-on.
If Ove had been at Greenore at all, then he would have known about the mv Mi Amigo, since it was the last ship out, and it looks as if that ship was ejected from the port, rather than departing as planned.
Ove gives the time frame for his supposed visit to Greenore, as being at the time that Dundalk Engineering Works had their employees out there. This seems to imply that he was not there at all!
We asked George Saunders about the next bit from Ove"
"So when the boat came we went over in one of our lifeboats and told them that we where two technicians that was once working on that boat and we where interested to come onboard to look how it looked like now. We knew that they had done certain changes."
Now the only "technicians" being referred to who would have been on board the mv Mi Amigo at that time, were either the American Milan Leggett, who sailed over from Galveston with the ship on behalf of Gordon McLendon in order to keep an eye on his interests, and Alfred Nicholas Thomas, who Allan James Crawford refers to in a letter in context of the time that 'Bob Scot' and 'Johnny Jackson' were on board. Then came George Saunders, and he does not remember Ove showing up in the way Ove described:
"When we came onboard we realized that there were not done that many changes. ‘Janne’ and I had decided what to do, but ‘Janne’ was not too keen on the idea. So ‘Janne‘ took the people aside so I went down in the transmitter room and did a couple of things so they were delayed I think for ten days until they received spare parts from the USA. That was enough so they got behind and Caroline managed to establish them self and took all of the market. Luckily such matters are now ‘barred under the statute of limitations’. But I certainly do not want to meet the bloke that owned that station. I know that they had some suspicions as they realized the day after when they started the transmitter and then they got the information that two Swedes had been onboard and that we had been working on the ship before. But I made it in a way so that there was no evidence, I knew how to do it, it was not too complicated. That was not a pretty thing to do but I was young and wanted to help my company."
Ove just made up stuff to be swallowed like a '7-Eleven' 'Big Gulp'.
"Then they merged and the ship I was working on was an old Danish ferry boat that had been sailing between the Danish isles. That was a large ship about tree times as large as old Bon Jour, so they figured out that this ship was more suitable to be used outside Isle of Man then the old Bon Jour was. So Bon Jour was left outside London and we sailed around the coast and anchored out of Ramsey in Ramsey Bay. There we where well sheltered and that was the location we used."
Then came a round table question and answer session:
"Seve: But what happened later, how long did you stay with Radio Caroline?
Ove: With Radio Caroline I stayed almost for two years."
Now how Ove manages to make himself invisible for those two years is another matter. There is no doubt that he was on the Fredericia off the Isle of Man, because that is when and where George Saunders sacked him. Yet Ove was stupid enough to take 'credit' for the sabotage job undertaken by employees of Dundalk Engineering Works, and they seem to have done that when Ove was not there, if he was ever there at all!
Ove continues: "The idea was to come over and help them get started. I shifted duty as chief engineer with ‘Janne’ Gunnarsson, but then ‘Janne’ went home, he basically had the mentality of an Englishman with his dry humor and could directly be supposed as an Englishman. But for some reason he did not enjoy it, I really do not understand why."
"So I had to find a new bloke to replace him. Then Ronan O'Rahilly felt the pressure, so every time I had a shore leave I got to go around to the office to have a chat with Ronan and so on. So he offered me a double salary if I stayed, because he was worried that I also wanted to leave."
Now listen to the vanity of Ove:
"No one had the same insights, because those that assembled the equipment on Caroline were Carrington. He had a company and worked earlier on the BBC and had helped BBC to get started with the first live broadcasts building studios and so on. A very capable bloke, but he had not any skills about measuring the antennas, not those parts and could not retune the transmitters to change frequency and all that."
If Ove actually knew anything about Arthur Carrington, then he would know that what he claimed about him was more rubbish. Carrington was a former employee of Marconi who mainly sold television cameras to the trade! But Ove got away with his fiction, and that fueled his ego to add even more:
"So Ronan felt the pressure and offered me a good salary; a very good salary; and that was paid to a bank account in Lichtenstein (LOL). Because the checks could in the beginning come from Ireland; they could come from Luxembourg; they could come from Lichtenstein and from all possible kind of places (LOL). So he had evidently associates everywhere. But it worked very well with Ronan. He was a strait fellow, (sic), if there was something he did not like he said so, like 'That we must grab and change'."
If Ove knew anything at all about Ronan O'Rahilly, he knew that he was anything but a "straight fellow" - Ronan was a crook, a con man who lied his way through life. That we can prove with no difficulty at all. So was Ove cut from the same cloth?
Now we get to Ove referring to his run-in with George Saunders:
"I will never forget the time I was called down to London about half a year before I quit. You see, my deputy got ill and they sent up the fellow that was chief engineer on Caroline South to replace him. And when he came up there, he discovered that that ship was not managed technically as a radio ship should be done. He got really concerned. So when he returned, he reported how cruelly mismanaged the north-ship was. 'In that way, it may just not be allowed to be done!' Because as an Englishman; everything must go by the rulebook."
Ove then claims that George Saunders had been working for the BBC, before he went to work for Gilman and Thomas. But George left school and went to work for Marconi. It was his first job. But after awhile George got bored and he was then hired by John Howard Gilman. Therefore what Ove is claiming is total nonsense:
"Further more, earlier he [George Saunders] was working on the BBC. So, the book of rules was not to be forgotten! Every evening on the south ship he had introduced a rule. As you know there was a key to the power supply of the transmitter that was being turned to start it. He took out that key and placed it under his bed pillow and he got up in the morning to start the transmitter. But I had arranged so that the DJ on duty did that. I think we had something like seven different meters on the transmitter and I did a little mark with a pen on them."
"So, if the meter was on that mark everything was OK. If some meter was not on the mark, the DJ woke up the technician on duty. I felt that it was unnecessary to wake up a technician just to turn on a switch that everyone could easily do. Further more there was a delay, so if you turned on High Power to early before the green lamp lit, nothing unexpected happened because of the delay starting things correctly anyway."
"So I saw no danger with that. But of course I came from Sweden and I experienced that in those days there was a very large difference between Swedish and English technical culture. 'In England they followed the Book of Rules!' Maybe that was how it was done on Sveriges Radio too; I do not know (LOL). I was a like that, the main thing was that it worked and then if it is not according to the rulebook; so what?"
Ove continued with his make-believe diatribe:
"Then I was called down to London where he had reported to the board. He had sent a report to the board and also given one to Ronan. So I was called down to London and came into the boardroom and there sat those seven grim looking gentlemen and looked at me. I saw that sword hanging in the air. I understood that there was something serious coming and I had no idea what it was about."
"They told me to sit down and I got something to drink. They told me that they had heard from,,,, well I do not remember his name now. They had got a report about the disgraceful state on the north ship. How could that go on in such a way that I allowed a disc jokey to turn on the transmitter?"
"I told them exactly how that was and then they just started to burst out with laughter and then it was a thing of the past. So they took that in the correct way and that I felt was amazing. I also explained that many of the DJs on that ship were also interested in the technology and we cooperated and solved different problems."
Now according to George Saunders, Tom Lodge came to him and complained about the dangerous condition of an expensive conduit running through the studio, because it was glowing red and clearly something was dangerously wrong. Therefore, since Tom Lodge had a senior position among the djs on the Fredericia, it is difficult to see how Ove could possibly justify his remarks about the djs being "interested in the technology". They were not "cooperating and solving different problems", they were scared stiff that their lives were being put in danger just by going into the radio studio, and this was supposedly before Caroline North changed from tapes to all 'live' programming:
"So it took not a long time before, maybe after the first fourteen days, before we abandoned this studio and control room concept and they operated everything themselves. We did some modifications to make it work smoother. Well, apart from that we had to soundproof the control room, because we had only soundproofed the studio at first."
In conclusion, Ove then had some more remarks about Radio Nord, and what he added were anecdotal comments that relate to the controversial book by Bill Weaver:
".... this project did not give the Americans the money that they expected. I want to claim that the large advertisers never came; just smaller advertisers and you know how much barter there was. Sometimes the office at Kammakargatan was full of Westinghouse refrigerators that were standing in the corridors. That must have been very frustrating to have a damn good business idea and not be able to make it work."
According to Bill Weaver in his book 'Triple Double Cross' [see Blog entry 7/21/2020], Jack Kotschack was a crook and possibly a Soviet 'asset'. Bill Weaver was sent by McLendon to sack him, and that was during the same time period that Weaver closed down Radio Nord. Weaver also claimed that it was part of a CIA operation.
Tomorrow, more comments from George Saunders.