1989 Dutch Raid
19th August 1989 saw the fateful day that the Ross Revenge was raided by Dutch officials to shut down both the 558 and 819 broadcasts, and to remove anything that would enable broadcasting to continue.
Initally it was portrayed by the authorities that the focus of the raids were targetted at Radio 819, but this was soon to be discounted once the 'removals men' were onboard ..... both Radio 819 and Caroline 558 broadcast equipment were targetted - taking both of the air almost immediately.
In the days preceeding the raid a number of incidents indicated that something big was about to happen, but no-one could have envisaged the sheer destruction that the joint Dutch | Anglo task force was about to embark upon.
17th August - Around 30 premises across Holland and Belgium were raided by authorities, most of which had some form of association with the radio stations broadcasting from the Ross Revenge. Of particular interest to the authorities were those associated with Radio 819.
British Coastguard vessel 'Landward' circled the Ross Revenge and anchored close by. Via VHF radio, the Landward informed the Ross Revenge crew of the arrests carried out on shore, that all transmitters were to be closed down and that the crew were required to leave the ship.
Ships engineer - Peter Chicago, currently on shore leave, makes his way back to the Ross Revenge and spends time hiding critical spares.
18th August - broadcasts from Caroline 558 and Radio 819 continued but the first indication that something was seriously wrong was when three tracks were played continously - thought to be a coded message to the management on shore. WMR broadcasts ceased after midday.
On the evening of the 18th August Radio Caroline annnounced that the Leaward had been joined by the Dutch tug Volans, whose crew included the Dutch Police and Dutch Radio Regulatory Department.
Ross Revenge crew note that British representatives from the Department of Trade & Industry are also onboard the Volans.
19th August - Via VHF radio the Landward advised the Ross Revenge that all crew were required to leave the ship by midday. Their requests were declined but when Peter Chicago noticed the Volans approaching he contacted North Forelands Radio for Coastguard assistance. His request was not acknowledged.
With the Volans now alongside the Ross Revenge an official from the Dutch Police asked to see the ships registration papers. After a succession of refusals from Peter Chicago the paperwork was eventually handed over and the crew of the Ross Revenge were informed that the Volans 30 strong task force ` were onboard to dismantle the transmitters and studios.
The whole process was captured on film and listeners were kept informed throughout - however both stations were silenced at 1:08pm.