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Looking back to the days of pirate radio and our very own Radio Scotland that was anchored at the entrance to the River Forth.

I have over the years gathered some memorabilia from those days.. two copies of the 242 magazine, a pin badge, photographs taken when the Comet came into Methil Docks, other material and the last hour broadcast by Radio Scotland that I recorded with a reel to reel recorder.

I have recently bought two cassette tapes of a programme produced by Radio Clyde in memory of Radio Scotland. This and other sounds from that time and the Comet will be broadcast again on this web site. (watch this space for any announcements).

Tomy Sheilds the man behind Radio ScotlandIn charge of the organisation was Tommy Shields, a former employee of DC Thompson publishing. Shields had previously been involved with several abortive attempts to launch land-based stations in Scotland, dating back to 1947. He was also involved with the formation of Scottish Television. He was obviously a man determined, in one way or another, to bring local broadcasting to the north of the UK!

December 1965: The 500-ton Comet was towed to Dunbar. It was originally planned for the station to be in position on December 27th, but it was delayed by three days after the towlines
                                              broke several times.

Radio Scotland

Carrick Folk Four 45 record
The Radio Scotland song recorded by the Carrick Folk Four
Thistle TM90 (1965).A tribute song about Radio Scotland, by this folk group comprising lead singer George Stevenson, his brother William and Eric Arnold. George Stevenson, became a solo artist following the break up of the group in 1969.
(I managed to pick up this copy from e-bay)

Radio Scotland business card
The above card was left by John Baxter with the staff at GW Harvey, Photographer, Leven,  where I worked as a photographer. Now, John came in a wee while before Radio Scotland was to be taken off air. He asked if someone would be willing to come out to the ship to take some photographs. The staff said that no one would be interested. You can imagine how I felt when I was told about this later that day. I would have gone out to the ship happily, but it was not to be and all I have to remember this close call is the above business card.

Radio Scotland car/window sticker
Car or Window sticker

Radio Scotland QSL card
Wherever you were and you contacted Radio Scotland to let them know you had received their signal, then you would have received one of these QSL cards above.

Cover of 242 Mag June
242 Monthly Magazine all about our favourite station.
Below are some of the images from the 242 Magazine above
The first three are from a Clan Ball
Radio Scotland Clan Ball

Radio Scotland Clan Ball

Radio Scotland Clan Ball

Lulu makes an appearance in this issue
Lulu tries out a new hair style

Adam Faith interviewd by Stuart Henry
Adam Faith interviewed by Stuart Henry

The Chevlons

The Section

Goodbye (with a yo-heave-ho)
to the pirate Top Twenty
They gave their pirate radio a decent burial. The valediction came from senior disc jockey Ben Healey. He said: "We have all enjoyed being a pirate team. Life at sea had some drawbacks but was a great experience."

The disc jockeys gathered on the deck of Radio Scotland, the pop pirate ship moored off the Fife coast, yesterday. The consigned the Top Twenty to the deep. Then, as the last disc bubbled beneath the North Sea, they prepared to abandon ship.
At midnight tonight the Marine Offences Bill becomes law.

Radio Scotland's disc jockeys left one colleague and an engineer to play out the station with the closing shows, tape-recorded in their Glasgow studios. The Sun, which was the first newspaper to board the converted lightship Comet when it started broadcasting on New Years Eve, 1965, became the last visitors when our tender made the six-mile journey to bring the disc jockeys ashore for the last time.

Disc jockey Stevie Merik, from Sussex, said as he left: "Even a petition from two million fans could do little more than delay the end." He continued: "I have fixed myself with a job playing discs in a club on the South Coast - but that could never have the kick of live broadcasting."

Local disc jockey Jack McLaughlin, from Hamilton, Lanarkshire, said: "Next week I go to see my agent... at the labour exchange. "I'll be floored if he has anything suitable on the books."

Said Ben Healey: "I couldn't face the prospect of going back to a routine job. "As soon as the station closes I start preparing a touring pop show."

Tonight the Radio Scotland stars will join 2,000 fans at a close-down ball in Glasgow to hear the last show relayed from the ship. It will be a final message from Radio Scotland managing director Tommy Shields. The last tune will be Auld Lang Syne.

Mr Shields said yesterday: "This is the saddest day in my life. I tried everything to keep the station on the air. "I even offered the Government a controlling interest. I appealed for a trial licence to broadcast from land and meet any tax demands the Government wanted to impose." In 22 months Radio Scotland played thousands of records, employed about 20 disc jockeys, and won more than two million regular listeners.

Mr. Shields added: "I intend to keep our organisation together as much as possible in the hope that some time in the near future we may have a chance of getting back on the air. "The studios on land will be maintained, possibly used to launch a new record label. "And we will keep up our successful fringe activities. "But the radio ship will be towed to a port in Fife, stripped of her equipment and sold for scrap."

Disc jockeys will today quit the pop ship Radio Caroline North. One of them, Tony Princek said: "We are not prepared to risk prosecution." The stations chief, Ronan O'Rahilly, claims that at least two disc jockeys will be aboard the ship after the midnight deadline.

Article printed in the Sun newspaper
Monday August 14, 1967. Written by Gerry Brown

The nine images below are of the Comet arriving at Methil Docks.
Pictures taken by my younger brother William Hamilton
Radio Scotland at rest in Methil

Radio Scotland moves into the docks at Methil

Close up of Radio Scotland

Tugs move Radio Scotland into the docks at Methil

Radio Scotland tied up at Methil Docks
I took this photo of Radio Scotland, tied up at Methil Docks.

Radio Scotland
Radio Scotland operated from the converted lightship the LV Comet from 31st December 1965 until 14th August 1967. The 500 ton Comet was built by John Browns on the Clyde in 1904 for use off Dun Laoghaire in Dublin Bay. Designed specifically as a lightship, the Comet made an ideal base for offshore radio as it was intended to be permanently anchored in a stationary location. The strong central mast which had originally supported the navigation light being an ideal base on which to mount the aerial mast. However the lack of engines meant that tugs had to be hired whenever it was required to move the ship. Following de-commissioning by the Commissioner of Irish Lights the ship was taken to Guernsey where she was fitted out as a radio station in the Autumn of 1965 and then towed to international waters off Fife Ness, approx. 25 miles east of Edinburgh

A great web site with many photographs of the ship, well worth a visit.

Radio Scotland 242
Radio London and Radio Caroline are often the first stations to come to mind when considering 60's offshore radio, but Radio Scotland was a force to be reckoned with, north of the border.

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