Sunday, 12 February 2012

U-2 Spy Plane Trial

Daily Express dated Thursday 18th August 1960
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On May 1, 1960 a United States U-2 spy plane was shot down over the airspace of the Soviet Union.
The United States government at first denied the plane's purpose was to spy on Russia, but was forced to admit its true role when the Soviet government produced its intact remains and surviving pilot, Francis Gary Powers, as well as photos of military bases taken by Powers.
A couple of weeks later the Paris Summit meeting between president Dwight Eisenhower (USA), Nikita Khrushchev (USSR), Harold Macmillan (UK) and Charles de Gaulle (France) collapsed, mainly because Eisenhower refused to apologize to Khrushchev for the incident. The Russian leader left the talks in a huff.

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At his trial Powers pleaded guilty and was convicted of espionage on August 19th. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment and seven years hard labour. He served one year and nine months of the sentence when, on February 10, 1962, he was exchanged for the Russian spy known as Rudolf Abel who had been arrested in 1957 and was serving a 45 year sentence.

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Formerly a member of the Nazi party, a commissioned Sturmbannf├╝hrer of the paramilitary SS and decorated Nazi war hero, Werner von Braun was responsible for the deadly V-2 long-range rocket during World War II. 
After the war, he and some of his team of scientists were spirited away to the United States as part of the then secret, and highly controversial, Operation Paperclip.

Von Braun worked for the US Army and later  NASA, under which he served as director of the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Centre and as the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon.  He died in 1977.

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1960 was the year my parents first had a TV.  I was 14 and had been brought up listening to the radio, and, looking at the programmes on offer on the Home and Light services, I imagine the TV was a Godsend.  Two TV programmes I would definitely have watched that evening were ‘The Adventures of Hiram Holliday’ a comedy starring Wally Cox, and ‘No Hiding Place’ a Scotland Yard crime show starring Raymond Francis.  I also note ITV at 4:15 was showing the series ‘Ivanhoe’ which starred someone called Roger Moore.

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So this was what he was doing before he came up with Lord of the Dance etc.
I like the idea that the clothes drier not only dries and airs clothes but also ‘dries the pots’ and ‘warms the room’.  What more could you ask for and just 1 penny under £6 (or a week’s wages for many people).

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I can remember when we only ate chicken at Christmas but can’t remember when eggs came without shells. Maybe that was before my time. 

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That’s 9 week’s wages and no HD!

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This is before the James Bond films started which may explain why Bond looks more like Bill Haley (with his ‘kiss-curl’) than Sean Connery.  I assume the villain is the eponymous Dr No.

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Anyone who has followed this blog will realise that I know nothing about football. I can now reveal that I know even less (if that’s possible) about cricket. I don’t even understand the scoring, so this chart might as well be in Chinese.  Someone might find it interesting though.

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The book “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D H Lawrence was originally published in 1928 in Italy but banned in the UK.  It tells of Lady Chatterley's passionate affair with Mellors, the family gamekeeper, and details their erotic meetings.
In 1959 the UK Government introduced the Obscene Publications Act that said that any book considered obscene by some people, but that could be shown to have "redeeming social merit", might still be published.
In 1960 the publishers Penguin printed and stored 200,000 copies, sending 12 copies to the Director of Public Prosecutions and challenging him to prosecute. He did.
The six-day trial at the Old Bailey began on 27 October. The defence produced 35 witnesses, and the prosecution was unable to make a substantial case against the novel.
Famously the prosecution counsel Mervyn Griffith-Jones shocked the jury by asking: "Is it a book you would wish your wife or servants to read?"  It goes unrecorded whether he prefixed this question with “By Gad, Sir...”
The jury returned a verdict of ‘not guilty’ and the book went on sale officially on the 10th November 1960 amid a great deal of publicity.


The 12 books sold in August in Nottingham must have come from the 200000 copies stockpiled by Penguin pending the trial. If the buyers had some proof that the books were bought when they were, I reckon they’d be worth a bit on E-bay by now.





















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