Despite the introduction of the Marine Offences Act in August 1967, Radio Caroline continued broadcasting from its two ships. During the months that followed the station appeared
to be carrying a lot of advertisements. However what few listeners realised was that most of these were unordered, unpaid for, and merely there to camouflage the few genuine adverts. Caroline began
to depend more and more on payola, the playing of certain records for a fee, especially those released by the Major-Minor label owned by station director Philip Solomon.
With the ships being supplied and crewed from Holland, the financial problems were exacerbated when the UK devalued the pound in November 1967. With only a limited income, bills weren't paid on time
and, as the months passed, a substantial debt built up with the Wijsmuller tug and salvage company. They were responsible for crewing and servicing the two radio ships and, as the money owed reached
£70,000, one of the Wijsmuller brothers decided that enough was enough. In an effort to get his money, he ordered his men to impound the two Caroline vessels.
Caroline North was boarded after it had closed down for the night on 2nd March 1968. The final show, as usual on a Saturday, was “Daffy” Don Allen's Country
& Western Jamboree. The station never returned to the air.
Don Allen opening and closing the Country & Western Jamboree on Caroline North, 2nd March 1968, not knowing that it was to be the final programme on the station (duration 2 minutes 28 seconds)
On the mv Mi Amigo, the crew of Caroline South were unaware of the happenings on their sister ship. Their station closed down as normal at 2am on 3rd March with Andy
Archer playing Cinderella Rockefella by Esther & Abi Ofarim as his last record. The Sunday
morning programmes commenced with non-stop music three hours later. As Roger Day was preparing to kick off his Breakfast Show at 5.30, a similar boarding party intervened. The
station was silenced before he could say a single word on air.
The studios were locked, the anchor chains cut and the two broadcasting ships were towed away by the tugs Utrecht and Titan. Radio Caroline was gone. There was silence on 259. And the listeners were totally
in the dark about what had happened to their favourite radio station. There was additional confusion because Caroline South had previously announced that the station would be off the air on Monday 4th for
Roger Day on what turned out to be his last Breakfast Show on Radio Caroline South, 2nd March 1968, warning that the station would be off the air on Monday 4th (duration 1 minute 31 seconds)
The Fredericia under tow.
Both pictures from Skyphotos,
courtesy of John Thomas.
Part of the same photo with a magnified view of the tug to show its name, Titan.
The ships were taken to Holland (there are some fantastic photos of the Fredericia being towed into IJmuiden harbour here) and there they stayed.
The station's management demanded their return. Wijsmuller demanded its money. Neither side was prepared to back down. It was stalemate - and Caroline remained silent.
On this and the following pages, we look back at how the station's demise was reported. Firstly with three cuttings kindly provided by Stuart Russell:
On to the next page of press cuttings.