The third man on the Moon

RETRO Dateline: November 1969 John Thorpe reports

Apollo 12 astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean made a bulls-eye landing on the Moon, stepped outside and started the first detailed scientific exploration of the Lunar surface.

Their exchanges with ground control had the flavour of a laugh-in and then their TV camera blacked-out – but not before the first colour television images from the Moon's surface had shown them as ghostly white figures shuffling through an alien world collecting rocks and acclimatising themselves to the weird one-sixth Lunar gravity.

Conrad was the third man in history to set foot on the moon.

He and Bean spent 32 hours on the Moon's surface and during that time they made two moon walks which totalled more than eight hours and which took them more than 1,000ft from their lunar module.

They collected 50lb of samples; set out scientific instruments and inspected an unmanned Surveyor spacecraft that had landed three years earlier. When they returned to earth they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean within sight of their recovery ship.


l The Government said it would give "urgent consideration" to a massive metropolitan area with a super council to rule over Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Halifax and possibly right up to the Pennines to the border with Lancashire, believing the case for a West Riding city was strong enough to overcome any difficulties.

l The Government sanctioned a 2d a pint increase in the cost of a beer with immediate effect and the announcement came as a blow to the House, many of whose members believed it would be staved off until the New Year. Leeds brewer Joshua Tetley put up its public bar prices three days after the price rise was announced at Westminster.

l Mr Anthony Wedgwood Benn, Minister of Transport, told the Commons the revised agreed Anglo-French estimate of the development of Concorde was 730m at January 1969 prices. He said building the supersonic aircraft was the biggest international project ever undertaken in the world and was of great importance.

l The Department of Education and Science gave the green light for the extension of Park Lane College in Leeds, and for stage two of the Branch College of Building in Leeds, during the 1970-71 financial year.

l Mr David Ennals, Minister of State for Health and Social Security, set up a Government committee of inquiry to examine the problems of families with only one parent.

the headlines...

l The Duke of Edinburgh told an American TV programme that the Royal Family may have to leave Buckingham Palace in 1970 because the Queen's allowance of 475,000 a year in the Civil List was based on costs 18 years earlier because it was the practice to fix the monarch's allowance at the beginning of a reign. The Duke's comments caused uproar back home among Labour MPs.

l The Army promised to stop the sale of The Queen's ceremonial horses after it was reported many ended up as prime steaks on Continental dinner tables – a disclosure that shocked animal lovers. The RSPCA said it would find homes for Army horses nearing retirement.

l Farm workers, some of the poorest paid in the land, got the promise of a pay increase. Their minimum weekly wage was due to rise in 1970 by 15/- giving them a gross wage packet of 13/3.


l Scotia Investments made a bid to take over Associated Pleasure Parks, owners of Flamingo Park, near Pickering, and the zoo owner Mr Pentland Hick – who had 34 per cent of the shares – was quick to accept the 8s a share offer for his holding.


l Troops and police wreathed a wide area of Washington DC in tear gas when militant anti-war demonstrators marched under red banners to the South Vietnamese Embassy. Trouble flared when extremist groups pelted police lines with bottles and bricks.

l An Army sergeant claimed that US soldiers massacred women and children in a South Vietnamese village.

world of sport...

l Leeds United's millionaire chairman Manny Cussins sold a five-bedroomed detached house called Three Chimneys he owned in Sandmoor Drive, Alwoodley, to the club for 18,000 so that it could be given to manager Don Revie. The house had central heating, a sun lounge, two bathrooms, a four-car garage block, spacious drawing and dining rooms, a playroom and a kitchen and it had an adjoining annex with separate living accommodation. Revie's earnings were reported to be over 15,000 a year.

l Anti-apartheid protesters disrupted the rugby tour by the South African Springbok team at Twickenham but police had expected trouble and had a squad of 400 officers on duty to protect the ground against a mass invasion.

social scene...

l Within hours of his 21st birthday celebrations ending Prince Charles flew to Cheshire to join the Duke and Duchess of Westminster and their 20-year-old daughter Lady Leonora Grosvenor on the Grosvenor Estate near Chester. The dark-haired Lady Leonora, a member of the Royal circle, had been seen at both Windsor and Royal Ascot with the Prince.

l Princess Margaret opened the new Leeds City Museum and paid tribute to the way the city met its responsibilities in providing recreation and culture. She reminded her audience the original museum was one of the earliest foundations of its kind outside London, having been established by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society in 1821.

Inside the building Leeds City Art Gallery director Mr Robert Rowe showed the Royal visitor a sculpture by Henry Moore.


l Pop fans packed New York's Madison Square Gardens to see The Rolling Stones (pictured) in concert.

l Yorkshire Television launched its first colour programmes. Solomon and Sheba starring Yul Brynner and Gina Lollobrigida was the first colour film to be screened from the Kirkstall Road.

l British actress Sally Ann Howes, who co-starred with Dick Van Dyke in the film Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang married American businessman Morgan Marre in Los Angeles.

l Mireille Mathieu, the French singer, was in an all-star line-up in the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium which was attended by The Queen.

l Work began on the National Theatre after over a century of arguments and delays.

and finally...

l The Prime Minister's sister Miss Marjorie Wilson, headmistress of Discovery Infant School, St Blazey, Cornwall, a former president of the Cornwall branch of the NUT, said she wasn't answering her union's call for strike action reasoning she didn't support strike action because she'd always worked with so many others to get teaching accepted as a profession.

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