Public Speaking: Written on 03 February 2019
Today is the 59th anniversary of the start of my commissioning course at RAF Jurby on the Isle of Man. One of the first things we had to do was prepare a 10-minute ‘news bulletin’ to be delivered, in BBC fashion, in front of all the staff and students as part of the Public Speaking element of the course. The news had to be accurate, and we were recommended to end our bulletin with a ‘light-hearted’ item. I have just come across my notes for my speech in a small pocket notebook amongst my archives. Here is a brief selection from my February 1960 News Bulletin:
According to a News Agency report the American Venus Probe launched last year (1959) and destroyed almost immediately afterwards by the Range Safety Officer was fed with the wrong information due to a typist’s error. The programme’s equation apparently had a hyphen missing and that caused the rocket to veer off course. Cost: $6.3 million.
Fiji has banned the import of gambling machines on the grounds that they are a social evil bringing distress to many and undermining family happiness.
Last Monday, HM the Queen presented No 83 Squadron at RAF Scampton with its Standard. The CO of the Squadron is Wing Commander Slessor, son of Air Marshal Sir John Slessor who was present at the ceremony. This was the first time a Squadron Standard has been presented to an officer whose father is still serving.
Rear Admiral Richard B Lynch, the US Naval Attaché in London, said yesterday: “If Commander Ivanov was a spy, he certainly fooled me! I would have said he was just like any other Naval officer.” The Attaché could, perhaps, have made his point a little more tactfully.
Viscount Ward, the former Air Minister paused from weeding his vegetable garden to tell reporters: “I have never to the best of my knowledge ever met Christine Keeler.” (If you are not familiar with this story, you may read it on my main website here.)
America has no wish to see any more European nations with their own independent nuclear deterrent. The Multi-Lateral Force (MLF) is said to give all participating nations a chance to participate in a nuclear war. America is very keen – almost desperate – to get Britain to join the MLF. Without the UK, it is unlikely that other small European nations such as Holland, Belgium and Italy would join in. To make the whole thing more attractive for Britain, we are being asked to pay only £5.1 million a year plus base and port facilities. This appears a small price to pay. It would mean, however, that the whole defence of Europe would always come under the command of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) – who would always be a serving US general.
It has just been reported that the Italian government is installing a clock in the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The reason? What good is it if you have the inclination but not the time?
Finally, a US technician at the Fylingdales BMEW (Ballistic Missile Early Warning) radar site gave the Scarborough Fire Service a nasty shock when he held a barbecue in his garden. A thick fog descended early in the evening and the combined effect of this and the red glow from the BBQ charcoal gave a passer-by the impression that the whole house was on fire. Three fire engines quickly turned up. The Senior Fire Officer told the technician: “You could have given us early warning!”