The April meeting was entitled ‘The Chairman’s Afternoon’ in the current programme. However John (having given several displays in the past, including last year as Chairman and also as Chairman in previous years) elected to ask our Secretary Barry Feltham to give a display on his behalf. We can only thank John for his insight, for what an afternoon we all had!
Barry accepted John’s invitation, and on the day entertained everyone present with a most outstanding, informative and enthralling presentation on the ‘Apollo’ moon landings.
Barry took us from the programme’s conception on May 25, 1961, when President John F. Kennedy announced his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade to just over eight years after the speech, when on July 20, 1969, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission landed the first humans on the moon.
Starting with the exploratory Saturn missions, Barry’s presentation then took us through the entire Apollo programme which ran from 1961 to 1972, with the first manned flight in 1968. We learned, or for some of us remembered, that five subsequent Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972.
In 1972 NASA achieved its goal of manned lunar landing, despite the major setback of a 1967 Apollo 1 cabin fire that killed the entire crew during a prelaunch test. This was a very moving sequence in the presentation, and I think it bought home to us all in the Barn Hall just how brave these men were.
In all, during six spaceflights, twelve men walked on the Moon. This momentous achievement, including the drama of Apollo 13, was brought to life with Barry’s presentation, in which he used all sorts of material from covers, stamps, photos, postcards, original mission patches, film clips, and even pieces from the actual Apollo spacecraft themselves, all of which was on display during the afternoon.
Some of the above material was actually acquired from Apollo astronauts’ personal collections, whilst much was obtained from other specialist Apollo collectors and various websites. During his narrative, which was expertly read out (a difficult skill in itself), Barry guided us through the entire Apollo programme to its ultimate culmination with the Apollo 17 mission, in an informative and entertaining way and his audience’s applause and appreciation was richly deserved.