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21-09-1955

Rockall in the Atlantic is claimed for the UK

Didn’t They Sing ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’? (No, Sorry, That Was Rockwell)

BBC Radio 4’s Shipping Forecast has a devoted legion of fans who love the poetry and mystery of strangely named places such as Cromarty, Dogger and Fastnet. But one the forecast’s regions made the news for other reasons on this day in 1955, when a couple of Royal Marines landed on a barren lump of granite in the North Atlantic Ocean and claimed it for the United Kingdom. The rock in question is the aptly named Rockall, as it is all rock and nothing else. No gift shop, no vending machines, not even a Netto. But it didn’t matter, because now it was ours.The reasons for claiming Rockall for her Majesty wasn’t to do with Commonwealth pride, but was all politics. The government feared that the Russians could use it as a spying location while the navy undertook missile tests nearby. So we dropped some servicemen on there, raised a flag and stuck a plaque on it. And we still own it. It is now officially part of Inverness-shire in Scotland. Though those Ruskies still have their eyes on it, in my opinion.