David Rollo (politician)
Born in Lenzie, Rollo studied at Lenzie Academy and played for Lenzie Rugby Club. During World War II, he joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and rose to become a sergeant, completing more than fifty parachute jumps. In 1943, he gained admittance to the University of Glasgow to study electrical engineering and, although his time was interrupted by a year recuperating from tuberculosis, he qualified and spent the remainder of his career in the industry.
Rollo joined the Scottish National Party (SNP) and was elected as its treasurer in 1953, serving until 1965. This was a difficult time for the party's finances, and he often used his personal funds to pay the office secretary.
Believing that the BBC was biased against Scottish nationalism, Rollo used his electrical engineering experience worked with Alvaro Rossi to build a radio transmitter which broadcast sound on the BBC Television frequency. In 1956, they used this to launch "Radio Free Scotland", based in Rollo's home town of Kirkintilloch. It broadcast a mix of political comedy and patriotic music after the BBC finished at 11pm. Rollo stood for the party at the 1959 general election in Hamilton, by which time he was head of the SNP's broadcasting committee. After the SNP was not given the opportunity to make an election broadcast, he used the radio station to make party political broadcasts to Hamilton, He stood but his campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, taking only 6.2% of the vote. The radio was considered a success, and he built a similar transmitter for Plaid Cymru to use for "Radio Free Wales".
Rollo stood again for the SNP in Glasgow Woodside at the 1970 general election, taking 8.4% of the vote, then in Paisley at the February, October 1974 general elections, achieving 21% and then 33% of the vote, although he was not elected. He stood a final time in 1979, but his vote share fell to 15.7%.
- "David Rollo - the quiet patriot", Scots Independent, November 2006
- The Times House of Commons 1959, p.209
- "History of the SNP", Aberdeen SNP
- Gordon Wilson, SNP: The Turbulent Years, 1960-1990 : a History of the Scottish National Party, p.2
- Kenneth Roy, The Invisible Spirit: A Life of Post-War Scotland 1945-75
- "Kirkintilloch ‘pirate’ was a pioneer for independence on the airwaves", Kirkintilloch Herald, 14 July 2012
- "UK General Election results 1970", Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources
- "David Rollo: as his local activists knew him", Scots Independent, 6 October 2006
- "UK General Election results May 1979", Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources
- "Lockerbie: a bum rap?", Airways: A Global Review of Commercial Flight, Vol. 9, pp.12, 67
|Party political offices|
| Treasurer of the Scottish National Party