Paddy Roy Bates

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Paddy Roy Bates (29 August 1921 - 9 October 2012)  was a former British pirate radio broadcaster and founder of the Principality of Sealand, styling himself H.R.H. Prince Roy, The Prince of Sealand.

Sealand prince

Roy and Joan Bates

Bates served in the British Army, rising to the rank of Major. He then became a fisherman before moving into pirate radio. In 1965 he ousted Radio City staff who had occupied Knock John Tower, a Maunsell Sea Fort (a World War II British anti-aircraft defence platform) in the Thames estuary. From there he ran Radio Essex from 1965 to 1966. The station changed its name in October, 1966 to Britain's Better Music Station (BBMS), shortly before going off the air on Christmas Day of 1966.

After being convicted of violating British broadcasting law, Bates moved his operation to the nearby Roughs Tower, another Maunsell Fort further out beyond the then boundary of the United Kingdom's territorial waters. Roughs Tower had earlier been claimed by Jack Moore and his daughter for Ronan O'Rahilly of Radio Caroline. On learning that Bates had set up there, O'Rahilly sent men to land on the tower, but their boat was driven off with petrol bombs and (according to O'Rahilly's men) gunfire.

The radio station never began broadcasting from the new location, but Bates nonetheless decided to stay, and proclaimed Roughs Tower to be the Principality of Sealand in 1967.

On 9 October 2012, Bates died quietly at a care home after having suffered from Alzheimer's for several years. His funeral is expected to take place at Southend-on-Sea Crematorium. His death left his widow Joan, Prince Regent Michael, and his daughter Penny.

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