Victory roll for Portsouth’s radio station 40 years on

Radio Victory presenter Steve Campion and Dave Gamblen (on the grey) at the Country Music Festival at Portsmouth Airport in August 1980
Radio Victory presenter Steve Campion and Dave Gamblen (on the grey) at the Country Music Festival at Portsmouth Airport in August 1980
jpns-19-08-17 retro Aug 2017

Victory - Passengers line the rails of Viking Victory

THIS WEEK IN 1980: Ferry passengers insist compensation

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It will be 40 years next week since Radio Victory went on air in the Portsmouth area.

The much-loved and fondly-remembered independent station started broadcasting on October 14, 1975.

Radio Victory's Dave Gamblen with Carl Perkins signing a pair of his blue suede shoes

Radio Victory's Dave Gamblen with Carl Perkins signing a pair of his blue suede shoes

Named after Nelson’s flagship, it served south Hampshire, part of West Sussex and the Isle of Wight for 10 years.

Dave Gamblen kept photographic records of events during the station’s history which he has loaned to me.

His career with Victory started with him presenting the Pompey Rock programme before he became a sport and outside broadcasts producer.

For most of its life, Victory transmitted from 6am to 1am Mondays–Fridays, 6am to 2am Saturdays and 7am to midnight on Sundays. This increased to 24-hour broadcasting from the start of the Falklands war in 1982.

Radio Victory's Dave Gamblen enjoying himself with Miss Southsea  contestants

Radio Victory's Dave Gamblen enjoying himself with Miss Southsea contestants

In 1985 the Independent Broadcasting Authority failed to renew the station’s licence, and it ceased broadcasting on June 28, 1986 at 12 pm after 10 years and 257 days on air, despite a local campaign to save it.

Fratton Road was jammed with traffic, drivers blaring their horns in tribute as the airwaves fell silent for the last time. Victory was the first ILR station to lose its franchise (although two others, Centre Radio and Gwent Broadcasting, went off air after going bankrupt).

The station was replaced by Ocean Sound which was given a licence for a larger coverage area including Southampton.

n One of the ships which became a Falklands war veteran was the LPD (Landing Platform Dock), HMS Fearless which served the navy from 1965 until 2002.

Radio Victory staff gathered together for the last time as the plug is pulled on the station on June 28, 1986

Radio Victory staff gathered together for the last time as the plug is pulled on the station on June 28, 1986

I’ve been contacted by Doug Munro who served in her from 1976-1978.

He is trying to trace a former colleage, Jimmy Green, who, like Doug, was a radio operator in Fearless.

Doug, from Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, says: ‘Jimmy was originally from Nottingham, had ginger hair and must now be between 55 and 60.

‘I’ve been told by a few people that he is living in the Portsmouth area and might be working for Network Rail Balfour Beatty.’

If Jimmy reads this, please contact me and I’ll pass on Doug’s details.