Rock and Roll... and Snap
In the early hours of 25th November 1987, deejay Pat Brooks was presenting his show as normal, despite a North Easterly force 8 gale blowing. However at 02.51, midway through the record "Satellite" by the Hooters, Caroline suddenly left the air. One of the aerial feeders had broken, this combined with the heavy battering the ship was taking during the storm and the tide turning, loosened some of the guy wires. Shortly after this the ship was hit by an enormous wave, making it roll to 55 degrees, this was directly followed by a series of bangs as all the guy wires on one side snapped and then a crash as the 300 foot aerial mast came down. Luckily, it missed the bridge and accommodation, only causing a few bruises to those aboard and little damage to the ship. BBC Radio Kent reported on their 08.00 news that "a helicopter has been standing by overnight to come to the aid of the pirate radio station Radio Caroline. The station which broadcasts from the Ross Revenge off the Kent coast has been buffeted by storms though the night and its main transmitter has been blown over the side. However the vessels anchors are holding and Dover coastguards say none of the 12 people on board is in any immediate danger". Invicta Sound, who also didn't seem to know the difference between a transmitter and an aerial mast, reported that the Ross Revenge had "almost lost it's transmitter" and added that it was "hanging by a thread" over the side of the ship. By daylight it could be seen that the large ceramic insulator on the deck was broken and that the mast and was left hanging over the side of the "Ross Revenge". This was causing some instability to the ship, the coastguards were still on call, but to have cut the remaining guys and let the mast fall over the side would have been dangerous as the whiplash as the guys were cut could easily have injured someone. At first light on the morning of Thursday 26th, the tender crew did cut the remaining guy wires and let the mast dispatched itself to the depths of the North Sea.

Eight And A Half Days Off
Nothing more was heard until the afternoon of Thursday 3rd December 1987 when test tones and later continuous Motown music were heard. The next day, Friday 4th, a very low power carrier was heard on 558 in the late morning. This continued until the early afternoon when "Caroline" by the Fortunes was played, followed by "Satellite" by the Hooters, the record they'd left the air with the previous week.

Laundry Baskets
A temporary aerial had been rigged up, by welding some posts to the ships funnel and rigging a tee aerial between this and the front ships mast, Caroline was able to get back with the 558 service, a plastic laundry basket was put to duty as the aerial insulator. The signal was very poor and in London was really only listenable, even then with some difficulty during daylight hours, after then, listening, even on the coast became almost impossible. 

Broken mast

Broken Mast

Broken Mast




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Complete Radio Caroline and Radio Monique News as published in OEM 70


Ross Revenge end of 1987

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