Part Forty-Two

The big sporting occasion of the year 1966 was England winning the football World Cup (at least it was for all Englishmen but I’m not so sure for the rest of the countries that make up the United Kingdom!)  There was fright before the tournament started, when the actual cup was stolen from Westminster Hall where it was on display.  It was found a week later when a Thames Lighterman’s dog was spotted tearing at an object wrapped in newspaper, to everyone’s surprise, and delight the bundle contained the solid Jules Rimet Cup which sixteen countries were preparing to do battle for in July.

 Battle was the right word in some of the games too. England’s manager Alf Ramsey (who was later knighted for steering England to victory) referred to some of the Argentine players as ‘animals’ in the game against England. The whole country was drawn into the football fever which spread throughout the land. England eventually won through to the Final and I well remember that magical July Saturday at Wembley Stadium as when England’s Captain, Bobby Moore led out the England team to face Germany in the Final. Millions throughout the country were glued to their Television sets willing their heroes on. The match was fiercely fought as you’d expect between our two countries. Despite some controversy over one of England’s goals, the match ended in England winning 4-2.

The names of the English team on that glorious day went into the history books and even today in the year of 2019 there are many old-timers like me who still remember Captain Bobby Moore, the brothers Jack and Bobby Charlton, Gordon Banks, Martin Peters, Nobby Stiles, George Cohen, Ray Wilson, Alan Ball, Roger Hunt, and thankfully, Geoff Hurst who scored a hat trick for which he was later awarded a Knighthood. It should also be noted that Bobby Charlton also received a Knighthood for his services to football.

Another reason why I remember the match so well is because our next-door neighbour at the time was a German lady, a very nice friendly person who had married an Englishman after fleeing from Germany at the end of the Second World War and settling in England.  As she and her husband weren’t interested in football at all Kathy and I watched the match in our house. This enabled me freely to shout out such rallying cries as ‘Come on England’ without fear of causing any offense or annoyance to our neighbours.  

The 1960s saw many changes throughout the world. For instance, America’s President John Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963 as he was driven in a motorcade through Dallas Texas was one of the most remembered events. I recall the utter shock which reverberated around the world as we watched this horrific murder on our television screens. People still to this day recall what they were doing on that particular moment in time. I, as usual, was at work.  

In 1966 as well as the British Public seeing England winning the World Cup via their television screens they were also able to watch the State Opening of Parliament when that was televised for the first time. Talking of Parliament the Death Penalty and the two highly contentious and different issues of Abortions and Homosexuality were both changed through Acts of Parliament. 

History was made on December 1967 when South African Surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the First successful Heart Transplant on another human being.

The recipient of this new heart was another South African by the name of Louis Washkansky who survived the operation and lived for another 18 years.

The year 1968 saw two horrific murders. In April the leader of the American Civil Rights Movement Doctor Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee and in the following month, the late President John F. Kennedy’s brother Robert (Bobby) was murdered in Los Angeles. This came five years after his brother; President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas Texas.

The last year of the decade will forever be remembered as the year when Man landed on the Moon for the first time. American Astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man to actually step onto the lunar surface followed by his partner Edward (Buzz) Aldrin. The third member of the crew making this world shattering event was Michael Collins who manned the Space Capsule as it orbited the Moon whilst Armstrong and Aldrin were examining the Planets surface, taking photographs and recording material which was transmitted down to Mission Control in Houston Texas.   It really was an awe-inspiring feat of ingenuity, bravery, and discovery for the World.  There were many people, myself included, who couldn’t help wondering if these three brave men were going to be successfully returned to Mother Earth. Thank goodness they were and the world breathed a gigantic sigh of relief and admiration. 

I only include these historical facts in my story because I lived through them and not only can I recall the shock horror at some of the tragic and evil events which occurred during these periods but I can also consider how lucky I am to remember some of the wonderful feats performed by many men and women in the fields of medicine and science and how much we all owe to them for their work and dedication which has benefited mankind now and for future mankind.     


--End of Part Forty-Two-

Add a comment

* Comments must be approved before being displayed.