Caroline is towed away.

The last DJ to join Radio Caroline North was Roger Scott. He has very kindly shared some extracts from his 1968 diary with The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame:

Roger Scott


Saturday 2nd March 1968: Up at 5am. Read the 0700, 1100, 1300 and 1400 news. (I had been on news the day before, having arrived on the Fredericia midday on Wednesday 28th February. 'Twas a leap year and on 29th Feb I was learning how things worked - or not; there was no hot water.) .... At 1800 I did it (my first show and as it turned out my last) - with some assistance for the first half-hour .... evening nosh brought to me in the studio .... bed at around 2245 and slept (well). But horror of horrors and what a fate, at 0300 Jim Gordon woke me and said “It's all over. Caroline is finished.” Feeling too tired to be stunned but nevertheless rather sickened, I went upstairs to find out what it's all about. (There was) a tug full of Dutch (guys) .... who said the insurance had expired so they are going to take (the radio ship) and leave us in Amsterdam. This was too much. We had a gathering of deejays and decided the trouble had been caused by (station director Philip) Solomon not paying up (to those owed money). We were told not to go on the air, so feeling pretty hopeless I returned to bed.
Sunday 3rd March: Up around 1100 but of course we were not on the air. Caroline really was dead but we had lunch in the normal way, with additional crew on board (from the tug). We had Manx Radio on a lot of the time to find out if they would say anything but apparently they hadn't noticed they were on their own now. Everyone just mooched around all day wondering what was going on. We couldn't even tell if we would be back (on air) later. At about 1810 (and with the anchor chain having been severed) the tug set sail - with Caroline (in tow). A sad moment (it was) leaving the spot from where the ship had broadcast for so long. Then the Isle of Man disappeared behind us. We knew the score when we watched ITV news in the evening. They reported that both ships had been towed away ....
Monday 4th March: Stomach was a bit upset after drinking yellow tap water yesterday but not half as upset (and worried, too, about how the news of Caroline was being received at home). I felt very annoyed that they (the Caroline office) had asked me to come out here when they knew, or at least we presume they knew, it was all over. Before lunch we packed all the records from the library into another room, along with some radio equipment and put a lock on it all for protection. Reports are that Mi Amigo is already in Amsterdam harbour .... All the time the boat made headway and by early evening we reached Land's End ....
Tuesday 5th March: Still the good ship plods on, destination Amsterdam. No coverage (of Caroline's plight) given in any of the news bulletins. A boring day, a very boring day. To crown it all, in the evening we started sailing back where we've been, because of a .... gale up ahead. I shall go insane if this carries on .... I wanna go home!!
Wednesday 6th March: (Awoke) at the usual time, 1015-ish, to find that we're still sailing in the wrong direction, how very discouraging. And nothing all day except to see the (gales and storm) getting worse and worse. Don Allen keeps well out of the way during the daytime, his prowling time is at night, which out here is just as entertaining as throughout the day. I still wanna go home! .... it all seems so unreal ....
Thursday 7th March: The night was a bloody rough one although I did sleep through most of it, until 1215. It was then that I decided to quit bed because it was getting rather boring. (Ha!) Around lunchtime, another (replacement) tug, Titanic* pulled up alongside .... This one will presumably (tow us to Amsterdam). Forecasts for shipping are discouraging with only force 8 and 9 to expect in the near future .... It's relatively clear visibility today and the Isle of Wight (is in view). The wind just keeps howling .... left ear blocked owing to not having seen soap for a couple (sic) of weeks. We are now out of fresh milk and eggs .... for tea, tinned milk is pretty foul. Hang this, there's no heat in my cabin now! ....
Friday 8th March: We are actually on the move again (having been static off the south coast) and when I got up we were coming up to Dover .... Expected arrival now Sunday morning. Quite an occasion today - the third (anniversary of Don Allen's arrival on Caroline) so consequently we had (a late night booze-up).
Saturday 9th March: .... later in the day we are due in Amsterdam .... Reached IJmuiden at about 1500 and it was there that customs officials came on board for usual formalities. Spent about an hour in the locks and then sailed up the canal to the quayside (and docked just outside the city of Amsterdam). We finally tied-up at around 1900 .... (Caroline shore-based liaison man) George Hare (dispensed) £5 notes galore, cheques promised for later. Mi Amigo was already at the quay and we paid that ship a short visit .... a look at the mess room which is incredibly small (compared with the one aboard Fredericia). A sad sight, the two ships side by side but having (literally) no time for tears, Don, Ross, George and I left in Carl Mitchell's vehicle for greener pastures .... Took the 2200 flight from Amsterdam (with George Hare) and 35 minutes later we were in London.
*Webmaster's note: actually it was the Titan, not Titanic - see previous page.
click to hear audio click to hear audio Roger Scott's first (and only) show on Radio Caroline North, 2nd March 1968. The voice at the start of the clip belongs to Charles Brown (duration 4 minutes 16 seconds)

Ross Brown, then known as Freddie Beare, was also on board Caroline North. He kindly contributed his memories to The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame too:

Freddie Beare


I really only have very vague memories of the ‘boarding’ and the towing of the Frederica to the Netherlands. I do remember that the scenery was spectacular around the west coast of the UK but I have very little recollections of the machinations going on behind the scenes. This was mainly because I don't remember ever being kept informed on what was happening. Below I have tried to put together the few memories I have about the incident.
I remember that there was a lot of tension the night before because there was a rumour that there was a Wijsmuller tug nearby and nobody, especially the Dutch crew of the Frederica, seemed to know or were saying why. By the time I surfaced the next morning the ‘boarding’ had taken place. The crew from the large sea-going tug boat were already on board and I believe they had taken the crystals from the transmitter. We were informed that we were awaiting further advice from their head office in the Netherlands. It was an intense time as we waited until the evening with no real knowledge of what was happening. That evening we were told that the Frederica was to be taken under tow to the Netherlands and the ship was being prepared for the tow.
The next morning we began our long and slow journey. The rumour now circulating was that payments were involved and once we commenced the tow there was little hope of Caroline returning to the airwaves. We were towed south, down towards the Isle of Wight, and although the tug was powerful-looking, because of the barnacles on the Frederica, it was going to be a very slow journey.
The disc jockeys discussed plans to retake the ship but the plans were more for fun rather than any real hope of reclaiming the ship. When we neared the Isle of Wight we sought shelter from a very bad storm although this was not immediately apparent to us and I harboured hopes that there might have been a change of plans. There was an overall feeling of despair mostly because we were never really kept officially informed of what was happening. After a very wild and windy day near the Isle of Wight the Frederica and her tug boat made the final push towards the Netherlands.
When we arrived in the Netherlands Caroline staff advised us of the issues with Wijsmullers and how it was all going to be sorted out quickly so Caroline could be back on the air. Initially we stayed in the Caroline office / house in Amsterdam for a few nights. We were then informed that we needed to find our own accommodation but to stay in contact with the office.
Jim Gordon and I found work in night clubs in Amsterdam where discotheques were all the rage. He worked in a club near the central railway station and I found work in a new club run by Jope Bundermarker, called the Kings Club. Jim and I also rented an apartment on the Prinsengracht, one of the main canals near the Amsterdam night club area. We were later joined in the apartment by Jason Wolfe.
As time passed our discotheque work became more important and the hope of getting Caroline back on air began to fade. The Kings Club became the club to be at on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. There was always a long line of patrons outside the club clamouring to get in. Later that year I was poached by the Hilton Hotel to run their ‘Fietsotheque’ night club. This was a very successful move. I introduced an in-hotel radio station and the club became a raging success. But that is a separate story and not about Caroline. The main reason I was encouraged to hang around in the Netherlands was I had a Dutch girlfriend Patricia, whom I married in September 1969 (she died from cancer in 2010).
click to hear audio click to hear audio Freddie Beare on Radio Caroline North, 1st January 1968. This clip is taken from a longer recording posted by Danny Van Vlaanderen on the Internet Radiocafé Forum. Our thanks to him (duration 2 minutes 57 seconds)

Many thanks to Roger and Freddie. More memories of March 1968 over the page.
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