Sunday, July 19, 2009

Flying Enterprise

I just came across an account of the last days of the Flying Enterprise in 1952.

Apart from its own inherent drama, this was one of the greatest radio events of its day. At eight years of age, I followed the story every day on my granny's old Philips valve radio. The ship was in trouble, listing and about to sink. The few passengers had been evacuated. The captain refused to leave his ship. The Tug Turmoil secured a line and began to tow the crippled ship from the west Atlantic to Falmouth. Unfortunately the ship sank before reaching land and the gallant captain had to take to the sea.

This, and Ronnie Delany winning a gold medal at the the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, are my greatest memories of radio.

My own radio recollections and contemporary newspaper pictures of these events are etched in my mind as firmly as any modern TV coverage.

Hopefully, radio will always remain a great medium of communication. It has not been eclipsed by TV, Cinema or Internet, so far.

Radio enthusiasts are inclined to promote radio on the basis that "the pictures are better". In other words, the pictures you conjure up in your mind in response to sound radio are better than those brought to you by the visual media. I heard a new one the other day, when an advocate of radio praised the medium as it "taught you to listen". Now, this is a much needed attribute in today's crowded world of clips and soundbytes.


Four Pin said...

And environmentally friendly. We replaced the blown valves rather than throw out the whole radio set.

When will they ever learn. Modular my arse.

Steamradio said...


While your comment reminds me of a de Valera joke, I will desist, for now.


You are right, though. Radio is essentially a visual medium, and a lot cheaper to deliver than tv. But it is not easy, and it needs dedicated and intelligent people, who understand the medium, to put the message across.

Póló said...

Ronan Kelly has done a nice little shortie harking back 60 years - live radio footage guaranteed.

Póló said...

Ronan's programme has now been picked up by a Danish site which hightlights the Flying Enterprise.

The site's author has written a book on Captain Kurt Carlssen life story, including, of course, the saga of the Flying Enterprise.