Luc Dunne was a chef on board Shivering Sands Fort, the home of Radio City. He has very kindly written about his time on the station for The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame:
In the Radio City studio. Photo courtesy of Luc Dunne.
“I was was educated at Finchley Grammar Catholic Boarding School and St Ethelburgers Convent in Deal Kent, finishing my education at Thanet Catering College in Ramsgate. My
first job after graduating from Catering College was working as a Chef (cook) on Radio City in 1965.
My very first impression when reaching Whitstable Harbour and meeting the DJs and engineers, waiting to be taken out to the Towers on Shivering Sands, was one of awe, then apprehension coupled with excitement kicked in.
After all, the boat journey on board Harvester Two, the tender, out to Shivering Sands on a cold and stormy morning wasn't what a young naive teenaged boy expected on his first day of hoping to be a fully fledged pirate.
However encouragement from Tom Edwards and Phil Perkins put me at ease with the whole experience, but I did lose my suitcase when it fell off the roped
pallet into the deep cold and rough sea whilst it was being winched up to the Towers.
After a couple of months doing my Chef thing for the guys Tom Edwards thought it may be a good idea for me to go on air with him and be introduced as the Radio City Chef. Tom did his usual background introduction of me
and my first time on air took off. I think that must have been the first of Pirate Radio's cookery lesson programmes. We went on to do a number of shows together as it became rather popular with the listeners. I even
started to get my own fan mail.
I remember the fun times we, the crew, all had, winding each other up and trying to out do each other. Poor Tom Edwards was the one Phil Perkins and I mainly targeted. On a couple of occasions we locked Tom in his room
just before he was due on air to read the news. I can tell you Tom was not too pleased. Having to run so fast from our accommodation tower over the swinging catwalks on a stormy morning into the studio wasn't the best
way to start the day. He made it with only seconds to spare! Even though he was completely out of breath and extremely annoyed, his news reading and programme went ahead with great success. (Such a professional guy.)
Of course Tom gave as good as he got and all this broke the monotony of working under sometimes stressful and dangerous conditions. After all, we were rather vulnerable out there at times - not only to the weather
conditions but to other elements.
Luc on the Radio City fort. Photo courtesy of Luc Dunne.
Our vulnerability was proved after we went off the air as usual one night. Consequently we were raided in the early hours of that June morning in 1966 by a rough gang of guys,
holding us all hostage until Reg was killed (see here). It was rather scary having a couple of tough guys waking you up and being threatened. The raiders mood changed constantly with each TV
and radio report. One minute they weren't too bad, next minute they were threatening us. It all eventually fizzled out when they realised that they weren't going to get what they wanted. But of course the whole
episode moved the Government into action thus the introduction of the Marine Offences Act shortly after. The death of Reg Calvert and his being shot was the most horrific thing to happen to us all. He was such a great
boss, entertainer, impresario and family man. His character and his mark on us all will always be remembered.
Those teenage days shaped my life and I think it put me in a better stead for the years ahead. I went on to do a number of jobs, working as a shipping clerk in Dover, then went on to work at Walmer Castle as a custodian
where my Radio City days really helped me in my job. On a number of occasions I worked on local and BBC radio stations, relating to the history of the Castle. As the Queen Mother was the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
and Walmer Castle being her official residence media interest was constant. I was also involved with TV documentaries for UK, Dutch and American television, talking about the Castle's history and the Queen Mother. So
thank you Reg, Radio City and all the pirate crew for shaping my life during the exciting birth of pop radio.
I have been invited along by the BBC to their radio station Pirate BBC Essex, broadcasting from a light vessel LV18 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Marine Offences Act outlawing the offshore
radio stations. The opportunity of meeting up with some of my old pirate buddies is exciting. I am now retired from the Civil Service and living in Kent. Occasionally I can be found cycling along the seafront with my
wife and grandchildren, of course tuned into one of the pop stations with my Walkman. The children think they have a cool grandfather but I think that I am still a young pirate at heart. Perhaps that's why I have never
moved away from the seaside.”
Luc has very kindly provided some photos and items of memorabilia from his time with Radio City - see here.
With many thanks to Luc Dunne.