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This is where we post our important updates and news that we think you should know, and that you will be interested in!

*Current most information will appear at the top of the page

We have all got new shirts showing both the Lightship and the France-HayHurst!

Lightship Shirts


This last twelve months has been quite a year for our team of Planeteers on the Planet Lightship

In the beginning of the year we began organising the centenary of remembering the loss of the Lusitania which was sunk in the first world war.

We wished to establish a second wireless room in the after room of the Lightship, together with control systems to co-ordinate logging facilities between the two radio positions, This we accomplished before the incorporeal date of the 7th May 1916.
We were very pleased to receive the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Erica Kemp and her sister who opened our event. We established over 3000 contacts throughout the world during the month long event, which was very good considering the poor communication difficulties due to sun cycle disturbances..

In May we had a shock to be told that the Lightship was in dept to the Canal and River trust for Dock dues and she was to leave Liverpool. We all pulled together and with help from others tried in vain the stop this terrible act occurring. A donation fund was set up, down under (Aussie), to try and raise the funds required, we only managed to raise £1200, which was not sufficient and on the 21st September our beloved Lightship was towed away to await her fate in Sharpness. Prior to sailing those who seized her allowed us to obtain most of our communications equipment (not part of the Lightship) which the crew of the tall ship “Kathleen & May” allowed us to store aboard her prior to finding a New Home (until the Planet return). It was still though a very sad day.

On the 30th June we lost our great friend and beautiful QSL card maker “Bill Newman! Call sign M0BNN. He died at home in his sleep. He made all our splendid QSL Cards

Also in September we had the sad task of dismantling the Wireless Room at Fort Perch Rock having been informed earlier that it was no longer required there. The new curator did not see its presence in the future role of the historic Fort. It was a very sad task for us all, but it was good to know that our endeavours to save it was to continue in several parts of the UK and also in Malta. This was accomplished on 15th September.
The Titanic room still was in place as no discussion had yet been made on its future.

Due to the generosity of Tug Boat Cathy, (Catherine Roberts – well know book seller and Children’s story teller on Radio Merseyside) we have a new home on the “France-Hayhurst”. A 1937 ex British Waterways tug now berthed in the Albert Dock.

It has kept our small team together and gives us hours of joy fitting her out with aerials and our communications equipment. We have also got stuck into carrying out light repairs and adjustment aboard to say thanks to the lovely lady who has provided our new home.

We still have a future and are together – what more could be want.

We will keep our old web site : , to remember our past triumphs and give us Hope for the Future.

The sale of the Lightship was stopped on Friday 16th December but after a court case on Monday 19th in Chester and we believe no sale will take place until March 2017. And a strong lobby is under-way and I for one will still hope she will be returned to yet again grace our Port of Liverpool.

A Happy New Year to you All.

Stan McNally &
Ex Planeteers
Marine Radio Museum Society

The France Hayhurst:

To Whom it May Concern

I have been connected with the Planet Lightship for a very long time.

I serviced her Radio Beacon in my working days for Marconi through the sixties and seventies.
right up to her removal to join Trinity House.

When the Mersey Light vessel preservation Society was formed I was put forward and accepted as the Chairman of that society, a charity which strived to raise the funds to buy the vessel
Luckily for us , as far as I am concerned, we did not win . I for one would have been dead through stress with all the problems the new owners have been presented with.

Luckily for us, two others stepped forward and took on the challenge .

Gary McClarnan was the first to take the helm.

After carrying out changes and repairs to the vessel he finally sailed it into the Albert Dock, I was there, it was the greatest day of my life. He put his all into the task and managed to keep going for two years –.
The powers in charge wanted to know what a Lightship was doing in the Albert Dock, Little did they know it and its sisters had been the gateway to the Port of Liverpool.

He gave up and put it up for sale.

When it went up for sale we were so worried that it would end up in some distant port.

We even wrote a letter to the Town hall, and you would not believe the trouble we had to hand it in,
Thankfully the guys on the door where ex seafarers and passed it through.
But nothing happened

Luckily for us a new guy took up the challenge because he was a Liverpudlian and he passionately wanted it to stay in Liverpool. This was Alan Roberts, a Steel preservation specialist, Property owner plus a taxi Business.
Gary could have received more for the Planet but believed Alan was the best choice. He was a Liverpudlian to the core and believed in the symbol of the Lightship.
He was supposed to have a partner but they disappeared soon after he took over. Alan and his family battled through on their own.

Alan has survived for eight years, gone has his property business and his Taxi outfit, the stress has broken his marriage, he now has his house up for sale. What more can a man do to try and keep our Lightship. It costs him nearly five thousand a year to keep the ship in the dock, for this he got Nothing, No Water, No Electricity, No Sewerage or Garbage disposal. All has to be paid by himself.

It is shown on publicity for the Port of Liverpool and was in the original plans for the Albert Dock and it was the gate way to the Port.
All this has not taken into consideration. He never received any help.

He has fallen behind with the berthing dues, for which they wanted nearly ten thousand pounds.
He has tried to the best of his ability but the stress and the ability to raise funds had gone, the strain has wrecked his health.

I went to a Sunday Sea Service recently, luckily for us Cannon Bob Evans was there and he told us about the new seafarers , there are so few of them on board that they have their meals on their own. The majority are from the Philippines, but other nationalities from the Third and Fourth world are there. They are very lonely.

They don’t have the facilities we had with crews of 35 on a five thousand ton tramp and the like. eating together in the saloon or mess room and the camaraderie we had
We sometimes did long trips, normal 18 months or two year articles but we saw the world and the team worked together. If the Cabin Boy was missing it wasn’t the same.
Our predecessors saved us twice during two world wars.

We would like to remember these things before we pop off this planet and leave some history of what it was like. The Planet Lightship was to be that link to future generations to remember the “British Merchant Navy”

Do we throw in the towel now and forget and be dynasours of the past and loose that vital link to a service that built this City and the United Kingdom.

Please have a good think!

Stan McNally
Planeteer President

P.S. And the last owner “Alan Roberts “ if he is not to carry on, be given the Cities extreme thanks and a golden hand shake for all his hard work. Not many people would single handedly strive to save such a symbol of our past.


RIP Bill Newman - You Will Be Greatly Missed

On Monday night (30th May) we lost a great friend and beautiful QSL card maker "Bill Newman " call sign M0BNN.

He passed away peacefully in his sleep.

He was renowned, all over the world, for his many destinations to remote light houses, which he operated nearby, with calls over the Radio and subsequent beautiful commemorative cards he sent to remember the contact and its position.

He was given a Gold Certificate by the Russian Amateur Radio organization but sadly not by our own.

The cards he made for the Lightship (GB2LBL) and Fort Perch Rock (GB2FPR), together with the many ships that called and those who are gone, are second to none.

We will greatly miss your passing Bill

Thanks you very much for all you have done


***Bills funeral will be held at Landican Cemetary, near Arrowpark, on Wednesday 15th June at 10.30 am***

Bill Newman

Bill is on the left, at the front of the image, joined by Doug, John & Bob, near the Planet.


Plans were made for a special event station, commemorating the planned visit to the Port of Liverpool by the three Queens, Mary. Victoria and Elizabeth commemorating the 1st sailing by Cunard to New York 150 years ago. This happened during the Bank Holiday weekend in June.
With special QSL Cards being dispatched to contacting stations.

We also assisting the Radio Officers Association on our Lightship with their special event to remember the sinking of the Lusitania 100th anniversary in May. Lost in 1914. Two stations were operated, one on CW and the other on Voice. These stations were manned during the period of both events.


On the 3rd of October, the Planeteers had the pleasure of showing the cub scouts of the fourth Allerton group ("Drake Pack") around the Lightship for an inspection and a radio event.

scouts 1

They were given a talk about the Lightship in the bar area before being taken around the ship by Dennis Cooper and Bob Bunker to see the cabins, mess room, washing facilities and a glimpse into the engine room from the engine room door.

Stan McNally told them about the fog horn and radio beacon. He also told them that Father Christmas came out to the ship every Christmas to present presents, a Christmas tree and a big hamper to the Crew.

Bill Cross showed them the Radio facilities and demonstrated his Morse skills. He allowed them all to try using morse with the leaflets they had been given. Bob, our language expert, demonstrated his skills by calling foreign stations and allowed the youngsters to also have a go.

Ken Buckle, the Scout Leader, called us later and said they all had a wonderful time and asked if we could take a larger, older group who also wished to come. This is something we are very willing to do!

scouts 2


merchant navy day q card

Big news for Merchant Navy Day - 3rd September
Check out our video tribute and see the Planeteers talking about their careers and giving thanks to the Merchant Navy on this special occasion!


Lusitania Event

7th MAY 1915

Our team on the Lightship Planet were pleased to take part in this above centenary.

Prior to this , we put together a second Radio Station and computer link between our already fitted station
We were assisting the Radio Officers Association who's members were taking part and had obtained the classic callsign of GB100MFA , GB is for Great Britain, 100 for the 100th anniversary, and MFA which was the callsign of the Lusitania. There was also a special QSL (Acknowledgement card) which is available to commemorate each contact.

front of lusitania qsl card

back of lusitania qsl card

On the 1st May it was opened by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Erica Kemp CBE, after being welcome aboard by the owner Alan Roberts and thanked by the Life President of the ROA Professor Brian Cotton, C. Eng who then presented the Mayor with the ROA Plaque

The Mayor was shown over the ship and told of the communications going on after which there was a buffet when she circulated amongst us.

We all enjoyed her company, together with his sister who was also present.

lusitania event mayor and president

The event took place over the month of May with over 3000 contacts being made throughout the world.

Stan McNally
President M.R.M.S.


Alan Roberts, the owner of the Planet has kindly invited us to return to the Planet lightship. The Lightship is open daily from 10am till 10pm. Do try and visit.

On the 5th September 2014 we set up our Amateur Radio Station to take part in the week end event of Lightships and Lighthouse on the air and also to remember the Merchant Navy. It was so great to be back on the air.

There was a memorial service carried out at St Nicholas's, the sailors church, on Sunday 7th September, followed by an orderly procession to the Merchant Navy Memorial at the Pier Head. There we held a short service to commemorate those lost during the 1st and 2nd World War. There was 2 minute silence began and ended with a Bugle call. Before we left the Deputy Lieutenant Pamela Brown MBE called on the Parade Marshall to ask for ''Three Cheers'' for the Merchant Navy. This was very proudly executed.

We are working on the Planet at the moment to improve our aerial system. On Friday 19th September contact was made from the Planet Lightship GB2LBL with over 50 amateur's from the UK and Continent over a short period while testing our improved aerial. At this end we had our QSL manager Bob Bunker ably assisted by Alan Waddington. Assistance was provided by Dennis, Stan and Dave. A good time was had by all. Our Amateur station has improved tremendously with extra battery and charging facilities. We even have blinds on the windows to keep out the ''Costa Merseyside Sunshine'' which was ''dazzling'' the operators.

Plans are being made for a special event station, commemorating the planned visit to the Port of Liverpool by the three Queens, Mary, Victoria and Elizabeth. It will be commemorating the 1st sailing by Cunard to New York 150 years ago. This is due to happen during the Bank Holiday weekend in June, with special QSL Cards being dispatched to contacting stations.

We are also assisting the Radio Officers Association on our Lightship with their special event to remember the sinking of the Lusitania 100th anniversary in May. Lost in 1914. Two stations will be in operation, one on CW and the other on Voice. These stations will be manned during the period of both events.

Titanic Wireless Room Task

We are very excited to announce that, to mark the 100th anniversary of the TITANIC disaster next year (2012) we have been given the task of recreating the wireless room on board the ship TITANIC.


wireless room on board the 'titanic'

The TITANIC replica wireless room is now completed and was opened officially by Mr. Peter Bibby of the Bibby shipping company, Liverpool on 30th March 2012.

A very big THANK YOU to all the volunteers who worked immensley hard to achieve this finish date on time.

THANK YOU also to all the people who kindly donated through this website and also via the buckets in the radio room at the fort!

Without these donations the project would not have been possible!

Here are some more photos of the wireless room on board the Titanic replica, at Fort Perch Rock:


Stay tuned for more updates!