Members will recall the talk given by space engineer Keith Wright, on the occasion of our Christmas Luncheon, during which he revealed that US astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had unwittingly placed a Union Jack flag on the moon, during their Apollo 11 mission in July 1969.
Interviewed by Carol Vorderman recently for BBC’s The One Show, Keith repeated the story he told Lentune Probus members, describing how he and other British engineers had briefed Armstrong and Aldrin on the apparatus they were taking with them, to conduct a series of experiments on the lunar surface.
“There were two brackets on the apparatus which held the solar panels folded while travelling to the moon. We got a ball pen and signed our names. Then I thought I’d draw a little Union Flag. So we had a little Union Flag sketched on there, installed it on the experimental package and it went to the moon.”
The first steps on the moon were undertaken by Armstrong and Aldrin on 20th July, when they planted a US flag on the moon’s surface. A little later, the solar panels were unfolded, revealing the Union Flag and the names of the 26 British engineers involved. As Keith put it: “I wanted to give the Brits a bit of credit”.
Keith’s story has since gone viral, with reports in newspapers including the Times, Telegraph and Sun.