I hope that you paid attention to my last video and the clues that were in-bedded within it, because they point to a problem encountered by Harry Spencer; covered-up by David Block's application of the name of Arthur Carrington; left for Ove Sjöström to discover, and George Saunders to blame, and then fire him for a problem he did not create!
Radio Caroline was the result of a project bathed in so much military-type secrecy, that it resulted in a typical military-style snafu where "need to know" completely backfired. The left hand, or one part of the team, did not know what the right hand, or the other part of the team, was doing!
Thankfully, Harry Spencer and George Saunders have left us with enough clues so that we could begin a search that has now uncovered the real explanation which appeared in both the Irish Times, and partially in the parliamentary official record of the Irish Dial. This is a mystery that is embedded in the tale of two companies looking for something to manufacture, but connecting the dots and collecting all of this information is not as easy as it looks.
Harry Spencer is the person we have to thank, even though Harry spoke in general terms, regarding the work that he performed at Greenore. But according to his own recital, he was hired after he went to 47 Dean Street to meet Allan James Crawford. The strange thing is, according to his own testimony, he never met the man he went to see!
However, not only is that idea contradicted by a letter dated January 30, 1964 which was written by Allan James Crawford on Merit Music stationery to Harry Spencer; but that letter is in confirmation of a previous business arrangement which relates to the meeting that Spencer attended at 47 Dean Street! Not only that, but this letter names the ship Mi Amigo and it also explains how Spencer will be paid after presenting his invoice to De Jong!
From this we can now deduce that the meeting took place at some time prior to January 30, 1964, and we can also deduce that it was at some time after December 29, 1963 when the mv Mi Amigo departed from Galveston Island. But so far we are discussing one ship, and that is mv Mi Amigo.
If you will recall, the first person that Spencer met at 47 Dean Street was Alfred Nicholas Thomas who discussed erecting a mast on a ship that would support an antenna. Then he met Captain De Jong Lanau of Wisjmuller who wanted to discuss the same topic, and De Jong was obviously in charge of the meeting because he then told Spencer to come to Rotterdam with him - immediately.
When Spencer got to Rotterdam, he was taken the following day to the Wijsmuller offices where a sort of bidding process was in place by other candidates for the same job that Spencer had been asked to discuss. He claims that he won the job, only he was suddenly told that there was not one ship but two.
One of those vessels was named Fredericia, and it was already in Rotterdam. The other ship was Mi Amigo, and Spencer was flown to Spain to see it, only it had not yet arrived when he got to El Ferrol where it was to dock. It finally arrived on February 5. 1964, and Harry Spencer made design notes for the mast, and then he returned to his Yard on the Isle of Wight.
However, by the time that Harry Spencer got to Greenore on February 13, 1964, the mv Fredericia, now renamed Caroline, was already tied up at the quay. So far he was still talking about masts to support antennas.
But in his reminiscence about the time he spent at Greenore, he then added this: "We had some German generators to fit on the mv Caroline, I had made some suggestions where we could site them, I marked out areas of steel bulkheads that would have to be cut, and marked out on the dock where the plant would be sited." [sic]
Now recall how Spencer came to be at Greenore:
He was summoned to meet Allan James Crawford at 47 Dean Street about a former Trinity House Vessel that was docked on the Isle of Wight where Harry Spencer had his own work facility. But when he arrived in London by train and got to 47 Dean Street, he was obviously told about the mv Mi Amigo, although Spencer made no mention of meeting Crawford.
Instead, Spencer was first grilled by Alfred Thomas and then by De Jong who told him that he had to go to Rotterdam immediately. The job was putting a mast on a ship, and that one ship became two ships and therefore two masts.
But now in Greenore, Spencer was talking about taking charge of a job to install German generators (plural), by cutting out areas of steel bulkheads (plural).
What was this all about?
Clearly it was nothing to do with installing masts on two ships. But then the story becomes even more mysteriously complicated.
Before the mv Mi Amigo departed from Galveston, the refurbished Continental Electronics transmitters had been taken out of storage in Houston, shipped to Dallas, refubished and on December 21, 1963, reloaded and reinstalled along with the generator necessary to power them up. On December 29, 1963 the vessel then left Galveston bound for the Bahama archipelago before heading on to Spain.
However, the mv Fredericia had to be remodeled and then equipped as a radio ship, and the question is: who did the work on that ship? David Block tried to credit the work to Arthur Carrington, but this is obviously untrue.
What we now know is that the rest of the story as told by Harry Spencer can be coupled not only to the recital by Ove Sjöström, but to the documented story about a firm in Ireland that saw its salvation in obtaining a contract from a former Nazi war manufacturer, and it was a firm deeply rooted in a geopolitical hot bed of staunch anti-English grudges, notwithstanding the fact that Harry Spencer was as English as they come!
The amazing story of how the shadow of Nazi Germany graced the mantle Radio Caroline, will continue tomorrow.
Here is a tease:
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