‘Invaders’ take fort in war of pop pirates 

28 June 2024 tbs.pm/81569


Sunday Mirror masthead

From the Sunday Mirror for 10 October 1965

A BATTLE between rival pop pirates is raging in the Thames estuary.

The prize — the last remaining wartime anti-aircraft fort not already broadcasting pop music.

The “war” between men from Kent and Essex is for high stakes and is being fought out of sight of land.

After changing hands several times the fort – known as Knock John — was yesterday securely in the hands of the men of Essex, led by 44-year-old Mr. Roy Bates, of Avenue-road, Southend.

He intends to set up Britain’s first “local” commercial station there. It is to be called Radio Essex.


A two-legged sea fort

Radio Essex’s fort



A seafort

Shivering Sands fort, home of Radio City

The men of Kent, who run the Radio City pop station from Shivering Sands fort, four and a half miles away, get their supplies from Whitstable, Kent.

Last month Radio City put two men on Knock John as the first step in taking it over.

Eight days ago Mr. Bates sailed from Southend and also put two men on Knock John.

Radio City hit back on Monday by sending a supply boat from Whitstable with ten men. They “removed” the two Southend men and brought them into Whitstable.

Then Radio City reinforced its garrison on Knock John and set up a transmitter ready to put out a pop programme.

Their stay was short lived. On Tuesday Mr. Bates sailed again from Southend with a large party of helpers. They scaled the 1OOft.-high [30m – Ed] steel legs and recaptured the fort.

They took three Radio City men off, ferried them to the Shivering Sands fort, and left them there.

The three Radio City men, Dick Dickson, Jerry Pitcher and Chris Cox, were waiting yesterday to be taken back to Whitstable.


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