The story of the improbable micronation of Sealand – The Independent

Posted: April 15, 2021 at 6:41 am

R

emember pirate radio? And its heyday in the early 1960s? Ocean going vessels or abandoned sea forts off the coast of England were used to broadcast a daily diet of rock/pop music in contravention of the BBC monopoly. These floating stations, their playlists and off the wall presenters were hugely popular with listeners.

Step up Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major and engaging entrepreneur. Bates set himself up as DJ supremo of Radio Essex on HM Fort Knock John, a disused anti-aircraft platform built during the Second World War off the coast of, you guessed it, Essex.

With a grappling hook and rope, he hoisted himself up onto the platform of Fort Knock John and singlehandedly evicted the pirate broadcaster in residence. Bates subsequently lived on this isolated outpost from 1965-1966, subsisting on tinned food, pumping out tunes 24 hours a day. But the whole operation was stymied when he was fined 100 for a violation of the 1949 Wireless Telephony Act.

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The story of the improbable micronation of Sealand - The Independent

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