Clive  Pearce Message

 

Hi There, hope I find you and yours all in tip top health and enjoying life. If you want to see me in action and all that I have been doing of late go take a look at 'Take that Grouville' and my new film 'Broad Bean Down'. a take on Black Hawk Down. It might not make a lot of sense to you as it is very local (Jersey) humour and GST is our recently introduced equivalent of VAT. Kindest Regards Clive Pearce. View films by clicking HERE

 

 

The ‘Ross Revenge’ & the RSL August 2004

My part in it all, by Clive Pearce

Day One, Saturday 14 08 04

It all started very early with me getting up at 0500 in order to wash and dress, breakfast and get up to the airport for the early flight to London city airport. The flight was on time with me arriving some 45 minutes later. Then a short bus ride (£3) to Canning Town tube, one stop to West Ham followed by a change to the CtoC overland train to Tilbury Town. As the train pulled into Tilbury Town station I arrived at the carriage door at the same time as a person wearing a Radio Caroline T-shirt, me being the shy & retiring type I suggested that we were bound for the same destination we introduced ourselves, so my new best friend Brian & I decided to find the courtesy bus to Tilbury docks. The first mistake was to leave the station by the wrong exit only to later find that the Gravesend ferry courtesy bus which would have taken us to the dock where the radio Caroline ship the Ross Revenge was moored alongside was on the other side of the station. So in the hot August noon, well about 1130 actually, off we started walking with a weeks worth of clothes & assorted goodies in a barrel bag. I chose ‘Dock Rd.’ foolishly thinking that this led to the dockside, wrong, it went in totally the wrong direction and after passing various scrap yards including one full of old fridges we ended up in an housing estate, which seemed to be deserted but for several scruffy looking cats & an old lady who when asked kindly redirected us back about 2 miles the way we had just come, brilliant, by this time I was sweating profusely and had a sore neck from having a huge barrel bag strung around it. Of course we were not allowed to proceed until we had listened to a potted history of her life & all of it’s associated ailments.
 

After much walking & sweating we rounded a corner & were blessed with the sight of two large lattice masts attached by what appeared to be several miles of copper wire, fantastic, at last our goal was visual. I later learned that the copper wire attachments were courtesy of Alan Beech & an electrician called Trevor whom I had the pleasure of getting a bit drunk with one night on the Ross. Myself, Trevor, Nigel a retired school head master (who should know better than to drink with an ex sailor and a crazy electrician) & several others had possession of a case of Stella Artois plus some bottles of wine so decided to party, more of that later. So as I said the ship was in sight at last & what a sight she was, marvellous, my home for the next eight days. Up the gangway we trotted to met by ‘Pete the plank’ so called because he was in charge of the gangway (plank). We were ushered down below where we were shown into the crew mess room & introduced to Mike Weston the coordinator, amongst many other things, who then set about allocating cabins for the stay on board. I was given cabin three which apart from needing some sort of refurbishment also smelt rather musty. Never mind it’s amazing what you can do with some air freshener and some fabrize upholstery spray & it soon became my cosy home where I slept like a baby most nights.
 

It was not long before work on board began, it was Saturday & the ship was heaving with visitors all keen to be shown around the Ross Revenge, the home of Radio Caroline. I quickly found out that I was amongst other things to be a tour guide. I elected to join the next tour to find my way around & also to pick up a bit more information about the ship to add to that already gleaned from Mike Weston’s excellent book ‘Records at Sea’ available from Caroline sales, a jolly good read by the way, so that on my first tour I did not come over as a complete twerp. So within about an hour on board the Ross I was sporting my official Caroline crew badge & taking my first group of six on a tour of the ship. I love meeting people & have never had any trouble talking so off I launched into the story of the ship from being built in Germany for the Icelandic fishing fleet through her days as the famous radio ship to her current situation. The tour took about forty-five minutes to complete & all concerned left the ship smiling & thanking me for the tour. Great, I had got something right & it felt good.
 

At the end of each tour the party are shown into the Caroline sales shop where as far as I could see most left the ship having bought a lasting memory of their time on board, either a T-shirt, a poster or some CDs. Great as all the profits were being ploughed into the ship refurbishment fund.
 

The first few tours went very well until I was on a tour and launching into a bit of the ships story only to be corrected by one of the party who seemed to know the ins & outs of the complete cats backside as far as the Ross was concerned, marvellous just what I needed, not. It was after that tour that I decided it was time for a mug of tea & a sit down for a while, I looked at my watch & much to my surprise it was a quarter past five, blimey! What happened to lunch?
 

The ship closed to visitors at six and that was that for the day. Wrong, I had volunteered to cook & now was the time to get in the galley & feed the hungry. Rosemary, Mike’s good lady & the person running the Caroline shop told me that there would be seven for dinner, no problem said I, wrong again. We had an agreement with Asda who were happy to provide us with food, great, only problem was that prior to my arrival as the chef somebody had ordered all sorts of food items unfortunately not enough of any one item to create a proper meal. So word quickly spread around the ship that there was someone in the galley who was about to cook dinner. I was soon asked by many what is for dinner & will it be long. Not long was my dishonest answer whilst I rummaged through the freezer & cupboards desperately trying to put together something resembling a meal fit for hungry crewmembers. I will not go into details suffice it to say that all were fed & rather than complaints I had several who said thank-you. So in the end it was all worth the effort.
 

That night I think I was turned in by about ten thirty & after a bit of turning & rustling about in my bunk fell fast asleep to the sound of the whirring propellers of passing ships in this very busy part of the Thames.

Day Two Sunday

I slept really well until the alarm on my telephone burst into life in order to remind me that I had agreed to arise early next morning to move the ship. With that said & without further ado let us start Day Two. As I have already said I had agreed to rise early to meet Alan Beech, & others in order to become a sailor once more after a thirty-one year lay off. Beechy being the nice kind understanding guy that he is decided to make things flow with ease, good plan. What he did was to disconnect the shore power in order to kick in the generator to save time & hopefully make this move a seamless transition. The only trouble being that the Ross being less than a modern ship each area of the ship had individual contact breakers for safety, very good you might say. The only thing is unlike a modern system all these compartment breakers need to manually reset and one of the last ones to be reset was the lower deck cabin compartment. Guess where I was, yes below the water line in my bunk, the top bunk I must add, with no natural light. When it all went dark I thought ‘blimey’ I must be late and not wanting to let any body down decided to get moving. So in a strange place, in the dark, mid summer therefore like all sailors in a hot stuffy cabin you could say I was less than dressed with my clothes on the other side of the dark cabin so I was like a bat but without the advantage of radar. I threw a tentative leg over the side of the bunk like a spider feeling for something to touch on, if you have ever watched a spider you will know what I mean. I could, with outstretched limb, find neither solid surface or did I know how far down the deck was & being ever mindful of the old wedding tackle & the wooden edge of the bunk moved with utmost caution. However I made it without injury although not in my usual agile manner. Next time I will take a torch & some good insurance with me. I tell you what any injury to the said tackle & I would have sued. You must have heard of my lawyers the famous law firm called Norfolk & Chance
 

So up on deck I went to find the only other person up & alive was the ever-smiling Beechy. I related the story of my first waking on the Ross & he said ‘oh! Sorry about that I thought it was a good idea at the time. So to work in order to move the ship along the quay to the liner berth which was to be our home for the next forty-eight hours & then we would start all over again to move it back to whence we came. The reason for the move was to enable actor Jude Law & his film team to shoot some footage on the remake of the sixties film ‘Alfie’ using the dock area. Can’t wait to see the film on its release, not.
 

Well eventually there were three of us, myself Beechy & Nigel the tugboat plus two guys from the tug. I must say it all went very well & in no time at all we were at our new berth busy reconnecting the ADSL link to the Maidstone studio. Great. The only problem with our new home was that we could not connect to shore power therefore had to use our own generator along with its excessive noise & incredible talent for producing what seemed to be enough heat to warm the whole of Tilbury. Shame it was August & a bit on the warm side. But on saying that every cloud has a silver lining & that silver lining was H2o. Yes we spotted a fresh water hydrant within easy reach & on came I believe about twenty tons of the said liquid. Unfortunately the tanks were not equalised correctly & the rest of my time on the Ross Revenge was spent with a slight list to port but once again a silver lining, the cabin containing my bunk was on the port side of the ship therefore when myself, J.P., Nigel, Trevor, Dave Foster & several others who shall remain nameless imbibed beyond normal quotas once getting to my bunk it was quite easy to stay there without tumbling out onto the deck below which if you remember I was complaining about not being able to find before, funny old world is it not.
 

After the move of berth was complete it was time to sort out some breakfast, scoff, clean teeth, shave, wash & generally covert to human being ready to face the surge of public interest on board in the shape of paying guests looking forward to a tour of the lovely old lady. You won’t believe this but we moved the ship did all of the afore mentioned ablutions & were ready to repel borders whilst there were still people down below in their bunks asleep & unaware that anything had occurred, amazing.
 

So day two seemed to fly by with a steady flow of visitors eager to take a guided tour of the Radio Caroline ship, see the studios in action & try to imagine how things were in the North sea, impossible to replicate but with some inspired patter from us tour guides hopefully we made their visit a pleasurable experience. To be honest I think a lot of the supporters who came on board, for that is truly what they and yes you as well are, would have been happy to just stand on the ship & drink in the atmosphere created by what they were able to see & what verbally we could relate, fantastic.
 

After a tiring day guiding many groups of people around the ship it was then time to head for the galley to attempt to produce a dinner for all on board from the meagre supplies in the larder. Whilst in the galley Mike came to speak to me explaining that he & Rosemary would be departing for a few days & that I was to be the one to order the daily requirements from one of our advertisers & sponsors Asda who were our food suppliers. Unfortunately some person earlier had bitten the hand that was feeding by complaining about the quality of goods supplied & ordering daft items like diet meals low fat cheese of all things & other expensive goods which when you consider that you are on a limited budget to feed an average of ten people a day is not the way to go. If you want diet food don’t eat cheese at all, forget low fat. So I was given a phone number to call & asked to try to get things onto an even keel (nautical term)

Day Three Monday

 The next morning after breakfast I made the call & spoke to a nice lady, offered my desired selection of delicacies & found the response quite positive, it must have been the way I asked. In conversation I found out that our food suppliers had not only been complained to but had never been invited down to the ship. Time to build a few bridges I decided so invite I did & that is when I met the lovely Asda ladies Karen & Lesa. They duly arrived at the dockside some hour or so later armed with several carrier bags containing not only what I requested but also several items that were about to go out of date soon, not a problem for us on board as they would not be around long enough to become a health issue. All on board eat well that night.
 

I gave these ladies a guided tour of the ship providing them with as much radio day’s history as I could finishing up with a coffee in the crews mess. I was thanked on their departure & from then on we had no shortage of supplies & I had made two new friends. I always find it helps if you talk to & treat people correctly.
 

The day continued much the same as previous with many visitors to the ship. Curiously they seemed to come in flocks, nobody for a while & then we were inundated with groups all keen to get aboard. Nigel, Pete & myself were at times hard pushed to keep up with the demand not wanting to sell anybody short we maintained our standards I hope. At least no one person complained & all left happy & smiling which when we are busy is reward on its own. That night we enjoyed our meal had a few beers together then cleaned teeth & turned in tired but mindful of the need to get up early next morning to once again move the ship.

Day Four Tuesday

After the previous early start where I was in danger of doing myself serious harm in the darkened cabin I was determined not to get caught out again. I set my phone alarm earlier & sprang out of my top level bunk with ease & grace, what they were doing in there with me is any ones guess. Quickly into my clothes before being plunged into darkness & off up the ladder (companion way to any sailors reading) leading to the upper deck. Had I mistimed everything, nobody to be seen or heard then I remembered Mr. disconnect it early Beech was not on board having had to leave the ship to attend to some other commitments. I wandered around blinking at the early morning & banged into Riga Steve with a pair of wire cutters in his hand. I was then invited to assist him in moving telephone wires & ADSL connections in preparation for our move. ‘You know how to does this don’t you?’ he said, I shook my head in the negative to which he responded by saying not to worry as it was easy and he would tell me what to do. Some time later after the move he asked me to tape up & secure the ADSL connection, about eight spindly telephone wires, half way through he shouted not to short them together as this would blow the Maidstone studio connection & upset lots of people fortunately I am not daft & had taped each one individually then taped the lot together without anything going bang.
 

The next thing to happen was the arrival of our friendly neighbourhood tug guys who attached the tug to about amidships port side in order to pull us astern in order to return to our original berth now that all the famous (most I had never heard of) actors had returned to whence they came, good. Some wag suggested that I had not heard of them coming from such a backwater as Jersey. Hey guess what, I am not complaining in the slightest having seen downtown Tilbury. Actually one D.J. who will remain nameless went ashore to go to the bank and on his return I asked him ‘How was Tilbury’ he replied Tilbury, Christ! I thought I was in Beirut. Hopefully an area due for some development by the GLC or whatever fancy title they have nowadays.
 

So back to the move, which I must say, went very smoothly indeed despite the fact that Nigel very nearly had an early morning swim in the Thames. Yuk! At the thought of that. The whole affair was handled by the two tug guys, Riga Steve, Nigel & myself, which I must say we were pleased with so after making the gangway & all ropes & electrical connections secure adjourned down below to the crews mess for breakfast cereal & mugs of tea. Once again all this was done without some of the on board cabin sleepers knowing a thing, Ah! One advantage of being back on the original berth was the ability to connect to shore power, great, time to shut down the generator & quieten the whole affair down to a more acceptable level & also reduce the amount of heat up in the forward areas of the ship.
 

The day progressed in a fairly normal way, well as normal as is possible when working for Radio Caroline, with groups of inquisitive visitors turning up at the gangway clutching crisp £5 notes and firmly fixed smiles. I must say I did meet some very nice people indeed some of which I am maintaining contact with. Lots of people asked to swap email addresses, which was very nice, & I felt was a compliment the quality of the tours that those of us involved were striving to achieve. After another day with an early start & a lot of tours to do it was pleasing to reach 1800, six in the evening to you landlubbers, the gangway was officially closed, the last of the visitors smiling & waving goodbye as Nigel & myself descended to the galley to refresh ourselves with large mugs of tea & to rest our weary limbs. Not that I am complaining you understand as it was a very worthwhile tiredness after all that continuous up & down ships companionways most of which are steep as a steep stairway takes less space, & space of course is at a minimum on a ship. One of the reasons that limbs & other parts of the body were sore was not just due to physical effort but were sore courtesy of the Thames mosquito an insect that I have never come across before despite having served with Royal Navy in the far east & the far west plus all points beyond. No these flying hazards had I swear hobnailed boots & extra sets of teeth & my god did they target me. I had swollen bites all over the place which apart from being extremely itchy were also quite painful believe me. Fortunately these flying beasts had not found their way down into the cabin deck, probably too smelly for them, so at least when one retired it was to a non danger area where peaceful sleep was assured.
 

A little bonus that evening was when Nigel announced that he would like to cook so I had the night off. Did I shower change & rush ashore to discover the delights of downtown Tilbury? No that little pleasure was put on hold as I opened a can of ‘Stella’ & sat back in the company of some friendly fellow crew, chatted & looked forward to my supper & enjoy somebody else’s cooking. I did as a lovely sweet & sour chicken plus chilled wine was served, how civilised I thought as I relaxed in what can only be described by an ex hippy as ‘cool & laid back man’. After food & wine was consumed others took on the washing up duties whilst the rest of us reflected on the day & its successes. Great, it had been a good day & I realised that what I was involved in was not only worthwhile to me but was part of keeping Great Britain’s radio history alive.
 

Needless to say I slept well in my musty bunk that night despite feeling the need to claw the living daylights out of the swollen & itching mossy bights.

Day Five Wednesday.

Despite the problem with our stinging biting flying beasties they did manage to cause some hilarity especially when early the following morning I saw J.P. coming down the main passageway with what appeared to be several packets of sticking plasters attached to legs descending from some beach shorts. I must say the last time I saw a pair of legs like that they were standing in a nest. I asked him if he had shares in band aid to which he said ‘go away’ at least I think that is what he meant, what I do know is that the second word was off. Of course ‘It was all done in the best possible taste’ as the late Kenny Everet would say.
 

Well what can I say about Wednesday, it all started with some excitement when the Gravesend ferry stopped running & we were aware that the Thames water authority boat accompanied by the diving boat were anchored just astern of the Ross. We tried not to look too much like voyeurs if that is possible when you lean in an unusual manner off the stern of a ship craning your necks with your eyes out on stalks. Anyway we managed to glean from some of the stranded potential ferry passengers that the divers were looking for some poor person who had driven off the quay in an attempt to say adios to the world. Apparently it is quite a common occurrence in this area. That fact became obvious when they managed to locate & salvage a car though not the one in question but another that had obviously been under water for a good deal longer than a day or two. After moving position they managed to salvage several supermarket trolleys & assorted junk from the muddy bed of old father Thames but none containing a fresh corpse, better luck next time chaps. Actually brave chaps those divers must have been to swim around in that water, not for me thanks I will save my diving hours for the Indian Ocean & other exotic places where you can see more than an inch in front of your protruding facial breathing organ.
 

So the day toddled along nicely with visitors continuing to come along at a nice steady rate. Included in that steady stream was an early arrival from Scarborough, heck of long way to come to see a rusty piece of radio history. Such is the species called the Caroline supporter. Dave was his name & being an electrician was his game. I introduced myself & explained the tour procedure to which he said fine how much is it. Now my least favourite thing about working for Caroline is asking people for money ( I wish my teenage sons felt the same) so I explained that there was no official charge but it was acceptable if guests were happy to make a five-pound donation to the Caroline support fund. He immediately gave me a twenty-pound note & when I said that I had no change but would get some from the sales shop he suggested that I put the change in the fund, amazing the generosity of some of our visitors. Anyway off on the tour we went Dave & I chatting away like old pals, during our progression around the ship we banged into Nigel who said that he was off to Asda & was there anything I wanted before I could reply Dave gave another twenty pound note, this time to Nigel & said here buy some beer for you guys for tonight then at the end of the tour he spent goodness knows how much in the sales shop buying t shirts, CDs & posters etc. A real nice guy who obviously remembers many hours of good times listening to the station. Before he left the ship we traded email addresses & have remained in touch & that is what the Caroline family is all about.

Day Six Thursday.

The day started much the same as was now usual but this time without divers off our stern salvaging old cars & assorted metallic rubbish. Whilst standing on the quarter deck (blunt end for non sea going types) we were watching the ferry passengers waiting for the cross Thames boat to Kent & noticed a man wearing a suit pacing up & down having a good look at the ship. Nothing wrong with that as far as I was concerned & as time went by the ferry arrived, he boarded it & off he went. The day past fairly normally apart from a group of teenage boys who attempted to do all that they could to disrupt & spoil my tour. Now I am a fairly patient sort of guy but one thing that I learned very early on in my life was to respect people something these lads had obviously not accomplished as yet. I did try by politely asking them not to interrupt, I then read their horoscope in front of the rest of the tour but alas to no avail. Nothing left to do but to escort them off the ship, which I did, after all being under sixteen none of them had donated any crisp pictures of the queen wearing a five sign. What did surprise me however was that the last one to leave the gangway turned to me & said ‘sorry mate I thought it was interesting’ he appeared to be the youngest in the group so all I can think is that there is hope, me an optimist, Pah!
 

The day chugged along nicely with a goodly amount of visitors to the ship, the wind had dropped by mid afternoon & the sun made a welcome appearance. As we reposed on the aft deck with mugs of tea in hand myself & several other members of the ever fluctuating crew were watching the Gravesend ferry clout the dockside for the umpteenth time that day & disgorging it’s cargo of passengers amongst them our man in the suit from this morning. Once again Mr. Suit gave the Ross Revenge a close inspection from dockside. What was interesting was the reaction from more than one of our crew who took it upon themselves to decide that he was either from health & safety, the DTI, the tax office or some other government agency which they seemed to find alarming & promptly disappeared below decks leaving me to face whatever threat that they imagined might ensue. So onboard came a couple of people plus our man in the suit, I made my introduction & invited them to take the tour of the ship at which point this frightening to some official looking man in the suit piped up with, ‘I remember Caroline from the sixties’ it turned out he was innocent after all. I commenced to give a brief history of the Ross as was my usual introduction to the tour in particular her time in the fishing fleet during the sixties cod wars with Iceland. I went on to explain the bit about the navy’s involvement during those times & the fact that I was in the R.N. therefore had come across the Ross Revenge before but had never imagined being part of her crew or the Caroline connection. At this point Mr. Suit announced that he was ex navy as well but was now a market manager. So no connection with the tax office or anything like that. During & after the tour we shared many stories of our respective time in the navy, there another nice person that I had met during my spell with the Caroline family. That evening during feeding time at the zoo I recounted the story to those gathered only to hear a certain person mutter that he still thought he was from the government, paranoid or what.

Day Seven Friday.

Well after today then just one more day & then off back to Jersey, my week onboard was disappearing fast mind you I would at last escape from the Tilbury mosquitoes which had really made their mark, or should that be marks numerous, on me because I was at that time carrying more than my fair share of swollen painful bites.
 

Nothing spectacular happened during the day, the usual amount of interested smiling visitors came & went with numerous tea breaks taking place. It was mid afternoon as Nigel & I discussed what one of us might or might not conjure up as the evening meal when on board came this bouncing person who introduced himself as Trevor the electrician, it turned out that he had been one of the main guys involved in the building of the current array of copper wire which was pumping out the our RSL medium wave signal amongst many other electrical jobs on board, he also said he would be happy to cook a curry for supper. Both Nigel & I decided that a night off from catering would be most acceptable.
 

Later on JP was comparing mossy bites with me when it was then decided that after the gangway closed at six we would jump in his car & head for the Asda chemist section to seek temporary relief from our suffering. We left the supermarket suitably equipped with enough repellents & itch relief to last a month, fantastic. We banged (almost literally) into Trevor in the food section & what we found entertaining was watching the energetic bouncing electrician whizzing up & down the isles of Asda at a terrific rate of knots scaring the natives in his quest for curry type ingredients. That evening about ten of us sat down to enjoy a tasty chicken rogan josh washed down with red wine or lager. (see the picture on Alan Beech’s gallery on the website) Later after the washing up was done & the galley cleaned & secured for the night we sat around having a few tinnies, chatted & laughed as we all had lots of stories relating to our various life experiences.
 

We were all winding down as the day was coming to an end when a terrific downpour of rain started. No problem as we were safely ensconced in the crews mess until I remembered that whilst we had been running the generator on the other berth the forward hatches had been opened to let the heat & fumes out, the trouble being that one of these hatches was directly above the transmitter so out on to the slippery wet deck went myself accompanied by Dave Foster to make them secure. Very dangerous when one has had more than two standard units of the jolly old falling down water. The wooden deck was very slippery indeed but we still managed to close the hatches & get inside within less than a minute but you remember I did say a terrific downpour, completely soaked through in fifty-five seconds, ah well fun on the Ross.

Day Eight Saturday.

Here we are on my last day as crew member, chef, tour guide, cleaner, washer upper & all duties various. Saturday was a very busy day tour wise with a constant stream of visitors & friends of Caroline coming on board. Thank goodness a recent delivery had arrived from Caroline sales as the shop was starting to look a bit on the thin side. At the weekend the shop would move from the chart room behind the bridge down to the crew’s mess in order to accommodate the larger volume of potential customers. Customers they certainly were as I don’t think any one person left the ship without buying a poster or a CD or two, brilliant as all profits go back into the upkeep of the ship. The shop at the weekend was usually run by Mike’s wife Rosemary Weston who managed things well but it meant that the poor lady never saw daylight for the whole day though I never did hear her complain. Not everybody would have been happy to spend that amount of time stuck below deck so it goes to show the dedication of the Caroline family members. Long may it remain so in order to keep the Ross Revenge afloat.
 

Nothing spectacular happened today, no divers searching the seabed, no troublesome teenagers & no people in suits to frighten the natives. We did have two uniformed visitors today, members of the port authority police who having observed us all week decided to come aboard & see what we were all about. They were welcomed, given a private tour then offered the opportunity to sample my coffee making skills, which they accepted. These two officers stayed for quite some time chatting & even purchased items from the shop, I believe a couple of CDs of sixties & seventies music plus a poster. They then offered to return the following evening to give a tour of the docks, which, although I missed it believe it was very interesting & these officers plus others returned on several occasions during the RSL which can only help when you are negotiating to stay in their dock. What does happen however is that at the weekend the visitors tend to come from far & wide as opposed to in the week where there were a lot of people from the surrounding areas plus those who stumbled upon us by accident when disembarking from the ferry, though I must say all who came aboard left pleased & some delighted with what they had seen.
 

My last time to see 1800 & the gangplank closing for the day during my stay on the Ross. Then it was down below to freshen up have a drink & then get down to the business of sorting dinner, a combined effort between Nigel & myself. After all had eaten it was a case of relaxing with a few cans of the falling down stuff then off to turn in after another busy day. I was quite pleased to position in the horizontal as the bite on my left leg had swollen considerably & what with being on my feet all day zooming up & down ladders, diving through hatches & generally moving about the ship had not helped it one bit. The swelling had extended down the leg & into the ankle making it a bit painful to walk. Not what you want when setting off for home the next day via train, tube, bus & then aeroplane.

Day Nine Sunday.

This morning started a bit more leisurely for me as all I had to do was have breakfast, shower, pack my barrel bag, leave my cabin as I had found it, unfortunately I could not find enough dust or any essence of mould to complete the job. The next thing on my travel agenda was to say numerous goodbyes & then find John Patrick who had kindly offered me a lift to Tilbury Town station.
 

Leaving was all a bit strange because although I had only arrived a week before it seemed like much longer & I mean that in the best possible way. As JP drove away I did look back at the ship with a touch of sadness & I think unless you have ever been to sea working on a ship you might not appreciate the feeling. You see every ship has a heart & a living feel about it & the Ross Revenge has a very big heart & has certainly been lived in having such a varied & exciting history.
We arrived at the station where JP & I exchanged email addresses said our goodbyes & promised to keep in touch, we had a lot in common both being aviators it also turned out that we had mutual friends within the world of flying, small world is it not. I only had a short wait before the CtoC train arrived smack on time, a quick one stop on the tube then a small delay before the bus to London City airport arrived. All seemed to happen in record time something that I had not expected being a Sunday. I arrived at the airport only to find it closed. It turns out that due to the area being noise sensitive the building does not open until 1230 with flying not taking place until some time after that.
 

My time waiting at the airport gave me the opportunity to reflect on the last nine days also to think about some of the people that I had met onboard during that period. The Caroline family does attract a very wide & often diverse mix of characters some of them very complex. That said however the whole thing would surely not function without that mix to make it so interesting.
 

I must admit that I had thoroughly enjoyed my time on the ship with it’s varied duties & varied people & would if asked no doubt pack my trusty barrel bag again. What I do know is that I have made some new friends, people who have one aim in common & that is to keep ‘Radio Caroline’ alive & preferably transmitting from the Ross Revenge, which if the funds become available could & should become a working museum as part of Britain’s history, for that is surely what it is. After all Caroline’s existence ruffled the feathers of the British government enough to make that government introduce new, & to change existing laws. If radio had not been pushed into moving on perhaps we could all still be listening to the ‘Light Programme’ How about that then guys & gals.

The End.

This short diary is a reasonably accurate account of my time aboard the ‘Ross Revenge’
The true home of Radio Caroline during the RSL (restricted service licence) granted in The
year 2004 spanning the dates 07 08 04 (my birthday) to 03 09 04 I hope it made an enjoyable
read. My thanks to Mike Weston for inviting & welcoming me into the Caroline family.

 

Author, Clive Pearce. crpearce@jerseymail.co.uk

 

Clive Pearce as "Hedley" videos