Paddy Roy Bates

Paddy Roy Bates
Paddy Roy Bates
Born 29 August 1921
Died 9 October 2012
Service Number: 156190

Bates served with the 1st Battalion of Royal Fusiliers, rising to the rank of Major. He had served with the 8th Army in North Africa and at the Battle of Monte Cassino, being injured on several occasions.

He is more well known for founding a pirate radio station on a Maunsell Sea Fort in the 1960s and later an independent principality which he called ‘Sealand’. The sea forts had been built off the East coast of England during WW2 to protect merchant shipping.

Bates conducted his initial broadcasting operation- Radio Essex- with old American radio equipment on Knock John Tower. After being fined £100 by the UK government for illegal broadcasting, he relocated to Roughs Tower where he declared it to be the independent principality of Sealand in 1967.


Members of the pirate radio station Radio Caroline tried to storm Sealand but were resisted using guns and petrol bombs. The Royal Navy went to Sealand to investigate but received warning shots as it was claimed that Sealand’s territorial waters were being trespassed.

Although Bates and his son were arrested, the UK government brought no charges against them as Sealand/Roughs Tower was out of the UK’s territorial waters. This was then considered by Bates as defacto recognition of Sealand’s independence. Bates later established a flag, an anthem, a constitution, currency and a football team.

Bates passed away on 9 October 2012. His son, Michael, is the current Prince of Sealand.

Research undertaken by Research Volunteer David Ingle.

Famous Fusiliers

Famous Fusiliers

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