from the sea comes freedom
formal education for nation building. His father and his grandfather both had a military background so he was keen to follow their path. He had already told the school careers officer that he wanted to go to Sandhurst. “Just because we do what we do doesn’t mean we’re not patriotic,” he says. “My father would have gone out to fight for Queen and country until his last breath – as we all would.”
ichael brought youth and vitality to the project. He quickly learnt how to make homemade Molotov cocktails from rum bottles and petrol. The tricky bit, according to Michael, is knowing when to throw it. Out of necessity, he quickly became adept with firearms and is not intimidated by a gun: “a gun is just a tool, like a car, or a hammer.” Roy had two distinct leadership qualities: a belief in his own indestructibility and good connections. Roy was close friends with the chief of police in Essex, and helped the officers with firearms training. It seemed only natural that one of his friends would also have a helicopter – something which would prove useful in 1978 when some business associates of Roy executed a coup on the island. One day when Michael, then 27, was alone on the island, a helicopter arrived
with several German businessmen who wanted to turn the island into a leisure spot. He recognised them from previous projects with his father but was still reluctant to let them land. He decided to let them land anyway and was quickly tricked into imprisonment. Michael explained that “Germans being Germans thought ‘oh, this is a country, we better take it over’. A bit like Poland.” He was transported to Holland in a fishing boat but made his way back to England as soon as he could. Once he returned there was no doubt the only way forward was to retake the island by force. Roy’s network of friends mobilised behind them. They received donations of guns, the use of a factory for training and most importantly, their very own helicopter. Roy, Michael and as many of their friends as they could muster flew out to the island at night, travelling into the wind to avoid detection. As the helicopter hovered overhead, Michael slid down a rope, holding a gun in his hand. “We didn’t even have lifejackets,” he says. The enemy guard was drunk, the island was quickly retaken and the German invaders were imprisoned. The German government pleaded with the British government to assist them with the return of their nationals. Whitehall renounced all responsibility for the former Major’s micronation, so the German
Published on Jun 21, 2013
Published on Jun 21, 2013
A new quarterly magazine that offers a ‘meander away from the mainstream’ by documenting the more unusual and offbeat people, places and ide...