Thursday, 30 January 2014


Delving deep into the stern and taking away some rotting wood, the rudder tube was exposed. The uneven top is the result of hammering it down so that the new aft deck plating could be installed. I have included a ‘key’ so that the various bits can be identified. (Photos)

Some more history. Lego Legere put me on to a bit of European legislation from 1966, designed to curb the activities of pirate radio stations. Lady Dixon was destined to be ‘Great Britain OK’ (probably ‘OK Radio’ for short) and is specifically mentioned, along with more famous stations like Radio Caroline etc. The document is in French and I hope my translation is reasonably accurate!

The Suppression of the broadcasts by stations outside national territories. - National legislation and European Agreement.  1966
Great Britain OK has a radius of action covering the French and British coasts. It emits a wavelength already in use by stations in Stockholm, Spain and the Soviet Union. The station is installed on a vessel, the 'Lady Dixon', off the coast in the mouth of the River Thames”.

Of course Lady Dixon never made it out to her intended position as Customs & Excise seized all the radio equipment before she could be moved there. Spoil sports!

Amongst the documentation from the National Archives was a 1944 minute confirming that Cormorant had been registered as Lady Dixon (Photo).

The word ship is not used. There was a discussion going on about whether a vessel ‘not used in navigation’ could be called a ship. According to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, Cormorant was a lighthouse! (Photo)

This was eventually fudged by allowing Lady Dixon to be registered as a ship so long as this did not imply that the matter was resolved.

Other discussions concerned the use of the Pilots’ toilets by officers of the crew, and whether Belfast surveyors could claim special allowances if travelling to Dublin could be classified as ‘going abroad’. 
Plus รงa change.