As part of my research into the 1961/62 period of the lightship’s life – the period when she nearly became the first pirate radio ship in the UK, I have been trying to discover who brought her over from Belfast. The information I have is that at some stage she was owned by Peter Horlock and moored at Mistley on the River Orwell. Well that’s a bad start as Mistley is on the River Stour, not the Orwell. I wrote to the only Peter Horlock I could find in the area, but have had no response.
In the early 1990s the ship was owned by Graham Reeve and moored at Milton Creek, near Sittingbourne. This is credible as we have photos of her moored there – one showing her painted bright red (Photo 1451) and one from a Google aerial photo taken in 1991 (Photo 1452).
Now I found seven Graham Reeves in the area and I wrote to all of them!
I have had only one reply and although the chap is very interested, he is not THE Graham Reeves.
Next came Terry J Middleton who took the ship to its current mooring at Hoo. He lived on the ship for a while and later on another vessel, Scorpio at the same Marina. His last known address is in Sevenoaks, but when I sent a letter there, it was returned ‘gone away’.
So my fellow sleuths in the South East of England, can you find any of these gentlemen living in your area? Peter Horlock would really be a prize as he might have bought the ship from the GBOK people and that might lead to who bought the ship from G.A. Lee Ltd of Belfast.
Meanwhile Simon popped over to Chatham to see how LV16 is getting on. Readers will remember the big hole in the stern which had been made by gouging out rotten timbers. Repairs are in hand, but instead of felling an ancient oak and employing woodcarvers at 3p a day, a rather more modern technique is being used (Photo 1453).
The planks are caulked; the bolt holes sealed (Photo 1454); and then, before the copper plating is applied, Hessian and tar seal the whole thing in (Photo 1455).
I think Simon is hoping that all this will not be necessary when it’s his turn to put his ship into dry-dock!!