Saturday, 27 August 2011

Coronation Day 1953

Daily Mirror dated Wednesday 3rd June 1953

Seems the good folk at the Mirror couldn't decide which was the happiest picture of them all.

George VI had died in February 1952 and his eldest daughter Elizabeth had succeeded him.  In June 1953 she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II and she’s still is.

Not a lot else to say really.

Well this was before HD TV. And colour TV. And wide screen TV. And flat screen TV. And digital TV.  And 625 line TV.  It was black and white 405 lines probably watched on a 12 inch or 14 inch screen, so you’d be lucky to see anything at all.

The only other story to get a look in was the Conquest of Everest.  Although Hillary and Tensing had reached the summit on May 29th, the news came through from Nepal on the eve of the Coronation.

This extract from an article in the previous day’s Daily Mirror mentions Everest climber George Mallory.  Some people now claim that Mallory, whose body was found perfectly preserved on Everest in 1999, may have reached the summit in 1924.  

They may be indecisive but could never be accused of modesty

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Man on the Moon

Daily Mirror dated 21st July 1969

                                                                                                 Click to Enlarge

Only 12 men have ever walked on the Moon - Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John W. Young, Charles Duke, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.  The last walk was in December 1972. 
Neil Armstrong retired from NASA in 1971.
Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, a Freemason, carried to the Moon a special depusition from Grand Master J. Guy Smith, with which to claim Masonic territorial jurisdiction over the Moon on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Texas.  A Tranquillity Lodge was later set up and meets in Texas until such time as it can hold its meeting on the Moon.
The 3rd member of the crew, Michael Collins never got to walk on the Moon as he had to pilot Apollo 11 in orbit until the Lunar Landing Module re-joined it. He left NASA later in 1969.

This summary of the TV coverage of the Apollo 11 mission foreshadows the 24-hour news coverage that we take for granted today. 

Senator Edward Kennedy, brother of JFK and Robert Kennedy, was regarded as a good possibility for US President until he crashed his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and Mary Jo Kopechne died.
On July 25th he was sentenced to 2 months in jail but this was suspended.
In January 1970 an inquest into the death suggested negligent driving (by Kennedy) was a contributing factor.
A Grand Jury in 1970 issued no indictment and Kennedy carried on with his life until 2009 when he died of a brain tumour. 

Why is it that the name 'Crown Topper' just doesn’t conjure up the idea of a good quality discrete toupee?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Nuclear Nightmare

Today dated Wednesday April 30th 1986

The World hears about the Chernobyl Nuclear accident, which had occurred on the 26th April at the nuclear plant in the Ukraine just outside the city of Prypiat.  53000 people were evacuated from the city the next day.  They were told it would be for only 3 days so many left all their possessions behind.  The city lies within the 19 mile exclusion zone that still surrounds the Plant and is still empty except for those processions.  The journalist Dom Joly has a very good chapter in his book ‘The Dark Tourist’ in which he describes visiting Prypriat.
31 deaths were directly attributed to the accident at the time. This figure rose to 64 by 2008, but if deaths from cancer and other illnesses brought on by radiation exposure are taken into account the figure could be as high as a hundred thousand.
Suprisingly the other reactors not wrecked by the accident were kept in use, the final one being shut down in December 2000!

The story at the bottom of the page was the final chapter in the saga that began with the death of George V in 1936 and his son Edward VIII deciding that marrying divorcee Wallis Simpson was more important to him than being King.  After Edward’s abdication the couple became The Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  He died in 1972 and she followed in 1986. 

This appeared on the Astrology page.  Quite good on the past (1960’s) – not so good on the future (1990s).  I wonder how he got on with predicting the by-election results.

Spot the mistake.  Yes, that’s Robert Hardy in the top picture and probably Bill Jordan in the bottom picture.

If only today’s youth problems could be solved so easily.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

German's Announce Hitler's Death

The Daily Telegraph dated Wednesday May 2nd 1945

Adolph Hitler, the Fuehrer or Leader, of Germany from 1933 to 1945, committed suicide by cyanide poisoning and pistol shot on the 30th April 1945 along side his new wife Eva Braun.  German radio announced the death on the evening of May 1st and it appeared in the British daily papers on the morning of the 2nd
Many people in Britain had been waiting for this news for nearly 6 years, but it is now thought by many historians that it happened at the right time.  Any earlier and Germany could well have found a new, stronger and possibly saner Leader who could have changed the course of World War II.
I recommend Stephen Fry’s novel ‘Making History’ in which he explores an alternative history in which Hitler was never even born.

The whole issue is taken up with the same news so I post 2 subsequent Daily Telegraph headlines from a few days later

VE Day or Victory in Europe Day was held on Tuesday May 8th 1945.  Celebrations, particularly in America were, tempered by the fact that fierce fighting continued in the Far East against the Japanese, and in fact it was another 3 months before VJ Day and the final end of War on August 15th