In July 2003, Caroline South's Keith Hampshire contacted us. He had discovered this photo of a sunbathing colleague from 1966. Keefers thought he was an American
newsreader, possibly called John, but couldn't remember his surname. We asked, on his behalf, if anyone could identify him.
It isn't John Aston and the only other newsreader called John from that era that we could recall was John McDonald (or MacDonald?) but we have no information about him
at all and he doesn't sound American on this recording from 13th August 1966.
After hearing the bulletin, Keith agreed that he didn't sound American. He wrote: “Seems to me my guy used to say ‘noos’ instead of ‘nyews’, if you know what I mean. I guess that's why
I thought he was American. Your guy says ‘nyews’ so that kind of makes me think perhaps he isn't the guy we're looking for.”
After seeing the picture Caroline engineer Carl Thomson wrote: “it looks like Robbie Dale to me”. However that can't be right because Robbie
and the mystery man appear together in another of Keith's photos, below, along with an engineer known as ‘Wombat’ and the ‘curly-haired kid in the third row’ Steve
Caroline's news supremo at the time was Graham Webb but he could not remember hiring any American news readers. He wrote: “Old age and memories play tricks but
while I don't have definitive memories of John McDonald, he is there way in the back of my memory. As I was News Director of the two Carolines at the time of his employment, I would've taken him on. I don't recall
putting on an American as we didn't want to compete with the others (the DJs) who went for the ‘mid-Atlantic’ accent.”
And there the matter rested until October 2008 when correspondent André de Raaij got in touch with The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame. He wrote: “There was a newsreader on
Caroline South in 1966 - a one-shifter named Al Singer who sounded a bit American. Not a John, but it seems Al Singer never gets a mention and so it may be him...”
We didn't have any contact details for Al Singer but - nearly eight years later - in February 2016 he got in touch. Some friends had been searching online for his offshore radio career and found The Pirate
Radio Hall of Fame. Unfortunately Al was able to confirm that the photo isn't of him. So the mystery continues. Can anybody identify the sunbathing newsman?
Our thanks to Keith, Carl, Graham, André and Al.