1940 - 2021

Christopher Moore, who died on 2nd January 2021, a few weeks after receiving a diagnosis of oesophageal cancer, is best known for his role in setting up the pirate radio station Radio Caroline, along with Ronan O’Rahilly and Ian Ross. This was one of the key events in pop culture in 1960's UK.

Christopher was born in Washington DC on 16th April 1940 and was brought over to England at the age of 8 by his American mother. He was technically an American, and very little is known about his mother or his English stepfather whom she married. He was soon packed off to boarding school. Little is known about his early life - his mother seems to have had different careers, one as a diplomat for the United Nations . One old friend was tantalised by tales of encounters with contacts of his parents, some of whom were household names from the world of diplomacy and espionage of the 1950’s. They lived in a large flat in Knightsbridge.


In the early 60’s he was a DJ at a club in London’s Curzon Street called the Crazy Elephant. This was part owned by James Bond co-producer Benny Fisz, which was why it was always full of Bond Girls, “wannabees”, actors, models etc. Chris was very much a part of that scene, and was in fact offered the role of Bond post-Connery and before George Lazenby. He was what was generally known as a Kings Road Cowboy in swinging 60’s and was a larger than life figure in every way - very good looking and attractive to girls who literally threw themselves at him.

As one of the founding trio of Radio Caroline he hired DJ's who later became national figures on Radio One which was set up by the authorities as a more mainstream alternative to Caroline. He also helped to keep the precarious pirate radio station afloat and outside territorial waters, and safe from prosecution by the UK government.

His 6 foot 6 inch frame dominated most situations and, thanks to that and his deep bass voice, you would get the feeling, when in his presence, of being on a radio show with him as DJ and you as a guest.

By the mid 1970's Chris was tiring of the stress involved in helping keep Caroline afloat and chanced upon Barcote Manor in rural Oxfordshire - a splendid gothic mansion and sort of semi-commune, when visiting a girlfriend in a nearby village. He took up painting and photography and moved into a tiny room at Barcote where he worked, with self parodying humour, on a prolific range of projects. He was to remain based at Barcote until its owner, James Tenant Eyles, decided to sell up in 1993/4, generously moving his by now good friend into a tiny cottage nearby, where Chris spent the majority of the rest of his life.

During the Barcote period Chris became a frequent visitor to La Gomera in the Canaries and he introduced many friends from those days to a place that had changed considerably since he originally arrived by private boat years earlier. Then, he had spent several months living in a cave by the Valley Gran Rey. He was the first outsider to stay in what was to become an exclusive hippy holiday destination rivalling Goa and Ibiza.

After leaving Barcote he acquired a sort of rough wooden bungalow on the hillside overlooking Carswell Bay on the so-called Welsh Riviera and for the next 25 years, he would spend the summer months there, swimming and climbing back up the cliff. He would trundle down there in Spring on an ex police BMW motorbike and enjoy employing “Heath Robinson” wood butchery to keep the rain out of his rough dwelling. Basic accommodation was his domain, the rougher the better. Yet he could inhabit squalid accommodation as if it were palatial, holding court amongst a dwindling coterie, seemingly very comfortable with increasing solitude. His summer jaunts became more challenging as floorboards failed in
Carswell and his motorcycle gave him problems. Two years ago he gave up going down to Carswell altogether. Simultaneously, he had the good fortune that two women moved into his adjoining dwelling. Becka and Nay became great friends and kept an eye on him. He was becoming more and more sedentary and his health gently failing. When Covid hit town, they did all his shopping. In October his throat was giving him trouble. Becka and Nay organised his medical care, driving him to appointments and caring for him at a time when he really needed it.

He died peacefully on the 2nd January and was cremated on the 22nd.

Mike Plumley