The CM’s origins go to back to a short-lived magazine the Caroline Newsletter. First published in early 1977 the magazine was produced in by Caroline supporter and journalist Stephen Francis. The magazine was advertised on-air by Radio Caroline.
The first issue was produced in Spain to get around potential problems with the Marine Offences Act but the cost was prohibitive and June Sutton in Crawley took over producing edition number two and running a PO Box Number 35. The newsletter provided a forum for fans to get together and organise themselves. One fan Geoff Baldwin set up a box number (BCM BRFM) for fans to obtain car stickers which were advertised in the newsletter. In Issue number 4 (Winter 1977/1978) he set out his ideas to form the Caroline Movement and in early 1978 the newsletter became the official magazine.
A formal organising team, based in Essex was created in May 1978 and started to recruit members from that autumn.
The perils of producing a newsletter in the UK became apparent in on 23rd October when newsletter distributor June Sutton was visited by Scotland Yard and Geoff Baldwin the next day. Whilst the production of the newsletter was legal under UK law on the 6th December the printers received a similar
visit and abandoned the edition. After a year the authorities got the PO Box number in Crawley closed down. Ironically, the mail still arrived and, the Post Office found themselves in the position where under UK law they were obliged to deliver any mail sent to PO Box to June! As the PO Box had been closed she didn't have to pay for the service!
Later that year The Caroline Movement Bulletin was published – this dealt with the society and The Caroline Newsletter was for Radio Caroline news. Both publications used printers in Scotland due to problems with the authorities in England. In 1979 both publications merged – the authorities having shut down the Crawley PO Box number.
In the late 1970s the Caroline Movement covered the dramatic events of the MV Mi Amigo in her latter days as well as the ups and downs of Radio Mi Amigo and Radio Delmare. Throughout the late 70s and into the 80s the Caroline Movement developed extending into a wide range of merchandising and various Regional Group Meetings were set up.
After the MV Mi Amigo’s sinking the Caroline Movement was a focus not only for Radio Caroline fans but for other offshore radio developments throughout the early 80s. The CM had their first major convention Offshore 81 at West Malling and set-up a telephone information line. In 1982 this moved to Surrey and was operated by Dennis Jason. In 1983 interest in the society and membership grew greatly with the return of Radio Caroline offshore and Chris Wheeler (East Surrey Regional Co-ordinator) took over the responsibility of the CM Infoline.
The 1980sThe Offshore Radio boom of the 80s saw the return of Caroline, a new rival Laser 558 and a Dutch daytime sister station Monique. Whilst the CM was officially a supporters ‘club’ gradually the lines became blurred as the enthusiasts, ran sightseeing boat trips, helped run the Caroline Roadshows, and some naughtily became members of the broadcasting crew.
The Caroline ship Ross Revenge was forced to move position due to the implementation of the Territorial Sea Act. The new location was far less sheltered and in November 1987 the 300’ mast collapsed.
After the traumatic raid on Caroline in August 1989 the loyal fans came to the rescue and assisted the station getting back on the air. Many donated record collections and electronic equipment. Ex ILR equipment was also donated and ‘found’ its way onto the ship. Letters were written to MPs, the House of Lords and the media and a protest march was made on the Houses of Parliament. A Caroline Legal Fund was set-up and monies were also spent on critical safety items for the ship via the Ross Revenge Support Group which was initially part of the Caroline Movement.
After the 1990 Broadcasting Act became law on 31st December that year the Caroline Movement was allowed to tender the vessel provided that such items were to do with the safety of the vessel at sea and engage in repairs where they could. Meanwhile Radio Caroline tried to get a third world licence but this did not eventuate. In November 1991 The MV Ross Revenge broke her anchor and was salvaged and towed into harbour. The CM / RRSG paid off a substantial part of the salvage dues and assisted in repairing the ship.
Without the assistance of the Caroline Movement, France Radio Club and Caroline fans, it is unlikely that Caroline could have continued for long after the raid as all advertising and sponsorship had ceased. Via the Caroline Movement nearly £13,000 was paid to solicitors Richards Butler and £12,000 to assist the ship at sea. A further £9,000 was raised by the RRSG before the RRSG split from the Movement. In addition France Radio Club (Offshore Echos) also provided substantial vital financial and practical assistance during this period.
At this time the RRSG was solely dedicated to renovate and preserve the radio ship Ross Revenege and has now become the Caroline Support Group.
The CM Central Organising Team decided that with the closure of Northern Europe's last true offshore station and that as the RRSG was now responsible for the maintainence of the ship that the time had come to close. Regretfully the Caroline Movement disbanded in Spring 1993 however the various remaining constituent branches continued. The CM Thanet branch turned into Horizon Sales Other Radio Groups, CM Southampton became the RRSG Other Radio Groups the CM West London morphed into The West London Group, and finally the Leeds Branch became known as theThe Northern Repair Group Other Radio Groups.
Meanwhile the East Surrey branch retained its Caroline Movement title. Myself having become the CM East Surrey Branch Co-ordinator after Ken James moved up north, I was somewhat surprised after coming back from holiday in 1997 that members had voted to change our name to the Surrey Anorak’s Society.