Thursday, December 08, 2016

John Glenn (July 18th, 1921 – December 8th, 2016)

I just need to note the passing of John Glenn today, at the age of 95; one of the Legatus' childhood heroes.  Although it may seem peculiar to those who know about my attitude to flying today but I really wanted to be an astronaut when I was little.  I followed all the space missions and got every book from the library I could about rockets and space. This was all before the Apollo programme and for me American spaceships were always carried by Atlas rockets, as was Glenn's first American orbital space flight. Later, as I started to grow (nearly six foot by the age of twelve), I realised that I was going to be too tall to be an astronaut (and wasn't American or a pilot or had any ability in science!) but the height thing seemed to be the biggest problem in those days.

We used to get Brooke Bond tea because I loved collecting the cards and albums.  Transport through the Ages, issued in 1966, was the first complete set of cards I collected and had this splendid painting of an Atlas launch on the cover.  Sadly, this set was followed by the tedious Trees of Britain and the ongoing disappointment of getting the Rowan or Mountain Ash card yet again.  Still, just the sight of these pictures takes me back to another world; a world of which John Glenn was an important part.

 John Glenn is launched in Friendship 7 on February 20th 1962


  1. The Mercury and Gemini astronauts were truly heroic individuals and John Glenn was the foremost amongst them. In these safety-obsessed days, we have little concept of how very dangerous those early spaceflights were and yet the crews went about their work with a stoic, dignified professionalism. As a fellow child of the early Space Age, I was hugely fortunate to attend a talk by Neil Armstrong (and Gene Cernan) only about 18 months before his death. PS. Judging by your much appreciated neighbour's attire, it must be unseasonably warm in Surrey at the moment?

    1. Indeed so!
      Taken in Dubai earlier in the year. She has just told us she is having a baby in May so she won't look like this for much longer!

  2. This is sad - I was reading the latest Guinness Book of Records with Hugo last night and at the time of publication John Glenn held a couple of records.