[This text was revised with additions on October 31, 2020.]
Back in 2017 we produced a timeline that was circulated as part of the informal 'Caroline Investigative Newsletter' in which this question was addressed:
"When did Allan James Crawford begin his first venture into offshore radio?"
The purpose of the suggested timeline was to put the accepted history of the ship Bon Jour / Magda Maria / Mi Amigo into perspective. But our own timeline contained a basic error in year and it also raised a new question about the starting date regarding the original date of involvement by Allan James Crawford.
So Francois Lhote of Offshore Echos digest, kindly pointed out our error by directing attention to an article in OEM 173. Now, by removing our typo and adding new timeline details, an anomaly surfaced which has remained unaddressed but which is defined by the question: "When did Allan James Crawford begin his first venture into offshore radio?"
Anorak trolls snorted "cheek", when we first posed this question a few days ago, in as much that anorak trolls who claim to know everything, but in reality know nothing, think that someone else should always pay for their knowledge in both time and money. This is what at least two vanity authors believed when they ripped-off our research and created more pages of plagiarized text hammered into nonsensical pulp supporting Ronan O'Rahilly rubbish.
The focus of Francois' interest, was a translated press report from the 'Nieuwe Leidsch Courant' newspaper that is dated January 19, 1963, because it begins: "No interest for former radio ship." It is about the ship then known as Magda Maria, which had been called Bon Jour, but it was not as yet renamed Mi Amigo.
At the time of that press report, the ship was tied-up to a quay at Ostend in Belgium. It was here where the main mast supporting the radio ship's broadcasting antenna was removed after it collapsed on or just after January 11, 1963, following a storm. But now let's turn the clock back to the previous year:
It was not until July 23, 1962 when Radio Nord ceased broadcasting from the ship then known as Bon Jour. Then is sailed for El Ferrol, Spain to undergo a refit where it also acquired its new name of Magda Maria.
While all this was going on, what was Allan James Crawford doing? That is the question whose answer creates another question. On March 2, 1962, information to hand shows that Crawford obtained a ship's mortgage on the retired Trinity House Vessel named Satellite which was docked on the Isle of Wight. (So that we don't get into another semantic round of nonsense from hack plagiarists, we use that word to mean that it was tied-up to a quay.)
We do know that Crawford expressed an interest in acquiring the ex-Radio Nord vessel, but as his ship's mortgage on the 'Satellite' clearly demonstrates, he did not have the cash to buy the Bon Jour / Magda Maria, and the owner's representative Bill Weaver from Houston, had instructions to sell it, and not to lease it. So Crawford had gone ahead with a plan to use the former Trinity House vessel, instead. But Crawford still had to lean on a financial backer to pay that mortgage and outfit that ship.
Crawford's backer was John Delaney whose organization controlled a bevy of related theatrical service companies. But when on August 15, 1962, Danish Police raided the ship Lucky Star from which old tapes had been used to restart Radio Mercur broadcasts, John Delaney pulled the plug on Crawford's radio ship plans. The issue at stake was the status of the British 'Hovering Acts', so called. If the Danes were going beyond their territorial waters to board a ship, what was to stop the British from ignoring the status of the 'Hovering Acts' and doing the same thing to silence transmissions from the Magda Maria? If the British did board the ship, would they then seize and take it away from its Texas owners without financial compensation?
Bill Weaver could not risk that!
The 'Hovering Acts' was the colloquial name for a series of laws designed to stop smugglers from using 'mother ships' at anchor just outside British territorial waters. Those laws had been scrapped when 'Free Trade' was adopted by the UK during the second half of the Nineteenth Century. But with tariff walls being introduced again in an ad hoc manner, it was again possible that these laws could be reinvigorated by reactivation.
So Bill Weaver told Allan James Crawford that the answer was "No!", he would not lease the Magda Maria to him. But now, after Crawford had adopted a 'Plan B' to use the THV 'Satellite', John Delaney had just pulled the plug on that plan as well.
This is where that question: "When did Allan James Crawford begin his first venture into offshore radio?" - comes in, because it has been oft-repeated that Allan James Crawford had registered CBC (Plays) Limited back in 1960, with Dorothy (Kitty) Black, and both of them had the intention of starting an offshore radio station using CBC (Plays) Limited!
Clearly this is not true!
In fact, we used the services of an investigator to search the records of UK Companies House; the London Gazette and similar entities to discover who registered CBC (Plays) Limited, and why they registered it. The investigator came back with a vague date of incorporation as being somewhere between 1959 and 1960, while later government employees in 1962 cited the date of April 2, 1960 and began attributing its incorporation to Crawford and Black.
What we discovered is that the company registration number for CBC (Plays) Limited is "missing" in sequence from all present-day preserved records of UK company registrations. We also found that its date of incorporation is very close to the sequence of incorporation numbers and the date of Herbert W. Armstrong's Ambassador College (UK) Limited. However, that entity changed its name years later, and so Ambassador College (UK) Limited is not to be found under that name, but under another name relating to a church - which is still registered in the UK. It is because that sequence of numbers is still "live" that it is possible to backtrack and find the information about the original incorporation for Ambassador College (UK) Limited. But you have to know the latter name to find its original name!
But CBC (Plays) Limited is a now a defunct company having been forced out of business (by pressure applied in mid-1967, before the MOA), in a British court by a Panamanian subsidiary of Wijsmuller. Clearly there is also a direct relationship between that action and the towing away of the two Caroline ships in March 1969. (This Wijsmuller subsidiary is the same company that employed the Caroline radio engineers prior to the MOA!)
Complicating matters even more, is that fact that Armstrong later incorporated Ambassador College in the UK once again - but as another company, separate from the one which is still active under the church name. But then this second entity was also wound-up. However, that happened within the timeframe when digital records began to be recorded, but the original version took place in the "dark ages" of the Sixties.
Meanwhile, the folks at Companies House began dumping defunct company records, and this is before the age of digital recording began! So CBC (Plays) Limited fell into the black hole of oblivion.
This is an important issue because it means that later governmental investigators who used contemporary events of 1962 and 1963 to document the inter-governmental activity of CBC (Plays) Limited, did not join the dots back to 1960, but they did reference its commencement in 1960. However, the name they referred to was CBC (Plays) Limited, and this presents another problem for investigators.
Where this is important to our storyline, is the fact that CBC (Plays) Limited held the licensing contract with the Liechtenstein entity represented by Bill Weaver, and CBC (Plays) Limited was the backbone of Project Atlanta Limited which was incorporated at the beginning of August 1963. Crawford did drop out, but both Project Atlanta Limited and its parent company CBC (Plays) Limited continued on into the 1970s.
But the question is this: If Ambassador College (UK) Limited which was incorporated within the same batch or time sequence of numbers as CBC (Plays) Limited in 1960, but then changed its name and purpose from a college to a church; what was the original name and purpose of CBC (Plays) Limited?
It should also be noted that Planet Productions Limited was registered in Ireland during February 1964, and despite all of the claims to the contrary, no company under any name - including Caroline Sales - ever existed in the UK as a registered entity owning the operations called Radio Caroline. The only link in the chain is with CBC (Plays) Limited which became the backbone of Project Atlanta Limited.
The example of Ambassador College (UK) Limited which had a numerical registration sequence in 1960 that was very close to CBC (Plays) Limited, raises this all important and unanswered question: Since Ambassador College (UK) Limited incorporation remained active - but not under that name - what was the original registration name and purpose of CBC (Plays) Limited, because this is where two more problems arise.
It is more than coincidence that CNBC gained a similar working name to CBC (Plays) Limited, and that PYE had used the CBC initials before CNBC, and just after the original name registration (under whatever name it was), was obtained by the registration number for CBC (Plays) Limited.
More than this, in 1960, Alan Bednall was the designer of a CBC logo for PYE!
Bednall is also the person who claimed that John Stanley secretly masterminded Radio Caroline, after supplying equipment to both Radio Luxembourg and the Isle of Man station projects. There were two IOM versions, and one of them tied directly to Allan James Crawford and the plans of John Stanley! It is also clear that Allan James Crawford was aware of the PYE involvement on the Isle of Man with its threat to begin 'Radio Vannin' to pressure the British GPO into supplying Manx Radio with a decent wavelength and suitable power.
PYE was also behind the move to anchor the Fredericia off Ramsay Bay as a part of this highly secretive plan. It was first anchored off Essex to test British reaction: Would the British reactivate the 'Hovering Acts' in whole or in part to silence Radio Caroline? Simon Dee was the guinea pig and he discovered that the way was clear - the British would not forcibly board the Fredericia.
Weaver then gave the green light for Crawford to lease the Mi Amigo!
All of this brings us back to our first question: "When did Allan James Crawford begin his first venture into offshore radio?"
The answer appears to be at some point in 1962 and Crawford is also on record as saying that he first met Ronan O'Rahilly in early 1963.
So what was Kitty Black doing? She was working for Associated Rediffusion and Granada Television producing plays while the agents for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) were in London trying to export British plays to Canada for broadcast by CBC.
However, there are several other links in this chain which we know about that we won't go into here, but they will be in the book 'Dial 999 for Caroline'.
If you are going to cite this paid for research, please do not steal it and claim it as your own work. We will be naming those who engage in intellectual theft within our new book.
[This text was revised with additions on October 31, 2020.]