Graham 'Spider' Webb

April 1936 – April 2024

Following an extensive career in Australian and European broadcasting, Graham signed up to be a watery wireless DJ aboard Caroline's south ship, Mi Amigo, in 1965. Eventually, he became news director for both Caroline ships.

Tribute by Mary Payne; Photo, Martin van der Ven; all other photos, Mary Payne

The Radio London website was barely a year old in May 2000, when Graham emailed and told us about the difficult situation in which he had found himself. He became one of the first offshore DJs to have a dedicated page on the site and many former shipmates (most, sadly, no longer with us) read his story and sent messages of support.

Chris and I first met Graham in 2002, at a major offshore radio reunion we were involved in organising in London. The reunion was to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the enforced offshore radio close-down by the passing of the Marine Offences Act. It also marked the start of the struggle for survival by the broadcasters from Caroline North and South, who defied the government and battled on.

By 2002, the internet was becoming well established and we were gradually establishing contact with many of the offshore radio pioneers and connecting them with each other. This reunion was the first time that many of them had met since their watery wireless days.

The day after the reunion, Graham accompanied a small group of us who were still in in the city, on a tour of former pirate haunts, including 6 Chesterfield Gardens, Mayfair, formerly known as Caroline House. Like many visitors from overseas, Graham was horrified by the high price of everything in London!

(Front Row, Left to right) Caroliners Mick Luvzit, Dave Lee Travis, Keith Hampshire, Graham (Back Row) David Williams, John Aston, Gord Cruse, Nick Bailey

Outside Caroline House: Gord Cruse, Graham, Mick Luvzit, Kenny Tosh, Bud Ballou, John Aston.
Sitting in front, Mary Payne, Alan Hardy

The Red Lion, Mayfair (sadly no longer a pub) just around the corner from
Caroline House, was the favourite watering hole for station personnel

In 1966, Graham had famously broadcast a live commentary from the Caroline North ship, Fredericia, covering the onboard wedding ceremony of Canadian DJ Mick Luvzit. In 2004, when Mick, by then living in Vancouver, heard that Graham was due to visit the city in July, he had the idea of organising a North American Offshore Reunion. This event marked the 40th anniversary of the Fredericia sailing north to broadcast to a new audience in the north of Britain, from Ramsey Bay off the Isle of Man.

Gord Cruse, Mel Howard, Mick Luvzit, Tony Prince at the Vancouver reunion.
Flying the Manx flag for Caroline North

A trio of Aussie pirates:
Graham with John Kerr (left) and Bryan Vaughan

Flying the flag!
Graham was back in the UK in 2007, to participate in the Radio Academy Celebration of Sixties Offshore Radio, in London

The Caroline panel at
The Radio Academy Celebration of
Sixties Offshore Radio
, Sugar Reef, London

Left to Right, Keith Skues, Bryan Vaughan, Nick Bailey, Roger Day and Graham

A few days later, Graham met many other ex-pirates who were participting in the Pirate BBC Essex broadcast from Harwich. He joined us for fellow-Caroliner Bud Ballou's 60th birthday party in the Pier Hotel.

Left, with Chris Payne

In 2017, Graham raised funds to finance his final trip to the UK to attend Offshore 50. The reunion, co-organised by ourselves, Jon Myer and the late Alan Hardy, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the demise of offshore radio. Graham made the long trip with the assistance of his friend Allan Quinn.

Left to right, Caroliners Robbie Dale, Patrick Starling, George Saunders,
Graham and Keith Hampshire

It's sad to think that we shall have no more reunions with Graham. Every time we met, he always seemed delighted to see us and he expressed genuine gratitude for our organisational efforts.

Graham's presence has greatly enhanced the world of broadcasting. He has left a huge impression on many people and will be greatly missed.

Links to:

Graham's page from 2000

Doggett's Reunion 2002

Vancouver Reunion, 2004

Radio Academy Celebration of Sixties Offshore Radio 2007

Offshore 50

Pirate BBC Essex 2007

The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame tribute has photos from Graham's offshore career