Cliff Cuttelle's Radio City photo album - part two

In September 1965 Reg Calvert, the owner of Radio City, sent some of his staff to investigate another fort in the Thames estuary - Knock John. Cliff Cuttelle was one of the team. The photos on this page, and some on the previous one, were taken on that visit to the other fort.

Knock John
On the way to Knock John for the first time.
Knock John
Arriving at Knock John.
Cliff Cuttelle
Cliff and a saucepan.
Cliff Cuttelle
Cliff out on deck.
The Thames from Shivering Sands
The Thames from the fort.

Man overboard!
The upper part of the fort
The top of Knock John.
Cliff Cuttelle
Cliff, taking a break on deck, watches the world go by.
Cliff on the walkie-talkie
Cliff reports back to Shivering Sands on the walkie-talkie.
Knock John
On board Knock John.

Cliff remembers his visit to Knock John:

“It had been decided by the management that we needed to get the Knock John up and running and (General Manager) Eric (Martin) asked me if I would go out for two weeks to clean, along with Jerry. £30 per week in 1965 was to me GOOD MONEY so you did not have to ask me twice. At various stages we had meetings at Eric's assistant's flat to discuss what we needed and all the requirements of setting up a new home and how to get it all there. On a couple of occasions, the boss came to the meeting. When the big day came there must have been ten from the station, all the gear, water, paraffin, you name it, we had it.
Getting on to the fort was an act in itself but we all did it, including the boss. The sea was OK so we were able to haul everything up without too much trouble. It took about two hours before they all left. Jerry and I were left to start to find a clean place to sleep and get some food. This was the first visit to the Knock John by anyone, I believe, since 1953. I seem to remember some writing on the walls. We had to clean up as much as possible so that the technical team could come on board two weeks later. The place was, as you can appreciate, somewhat dirty and we did have a lot to do. Still we got it done and handed the fort over to the next crew.
I remember getting back to Whitstable, went to the Record Centre, got paid £30 per week, so sixty notes in my pocket came in very handy. I had taken two weeks holiday from my apprenticeship so, in effect, got paid double.
You could eat all you wanted (on the fort) but no booze. Some days the sun came out and it was nice but on a couple of others we had some real storms and, if the fort had gone over, that would have been it.”

There was a dispute over ‘ownership’ of Knock John and occupation of the fort alternated between two groups - the Radio City team working for Reg Calvert and some people working for Roy Bates, who wanted to start Radio Essex:

“I was not on Knock John when Roy Bates came out. I was asked to go but did not have the time available. I remember that there were meetings and the boat did go out on a number of occasions. I seem to remember that we did throw them (Bates's men) off once, and they did it to us again, but I am not sure of the details as I wasn't there.”

There are more memories of Radio City's occupation of Knock John in Dick Dixon's biographical entry. In the end, Roy Bates won possession of Knock John and started Radio Essex from there. Radio City continued to operate from Shivering Sands.
Photos courtesy of Cliff Cuttelle, reproduced with kind permission. Back to part one.
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