He stayed with the station until November but, with the seas getting rougher and the finances looking somewhat uncertain, decided that it was time to move on.
He wrote a fascinating article about his time with Radio Invicta for the December 1999 issue of the Reading and District Amateur Radio Club journal, from which most of this information and the photograph have been taken. Des Howlett of the Reading and District Amateur Radio Club wrote in July 2003: “Eric died last year.
Amongst the Radio Amateurs of Reading he is sorely missed.” (Thanks to Des Howlett and Chris Catt for their help.
We previously reported that Eric had also broadcast as Tony Silver. Our apologies for this error.) At the age of 16 John Brench embarked on a stage career.
Alongside Bob Monkhouse, he worked as a comedian using the professional name ‘Johnny Lark’.
In June 1964 radio amateur Eric Davies was tuning around the dial when he discovered a very distorted signal on the 160 metre band.
After listening closely he discovered that it was a new offshore station testing on a medium wave frequency but also sending out this unwanted harmonic as well.
Eric telephoned the number he heard mentioned, intending to complain about this intrusion onto the amateur band. Pepper was the boss of the new station, Radio Invicta, and he offered Eric a job as an engineer.
Soon after, Eric found himself on Red Sands Fort in the Thames estuary helping to get things ready for the station's July launch.
Once Invicta was on the air, all members of the team were expected to present programmes, including the engineers.
Each used a number of different aliases in an effort to make it appear a bigger operation than it really was.