In June 1970 the tiny island of Tonga, whose Queen Salotte endeared herself to the British public when, despite the heavy rainfall, she attended Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1953, gained its independence from Britain.
Also in June, Britain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway started talks on their entry into the Common Market. This was a plan for the European Countries to form a common trading organisation between each other with each country retaining all their own independence and sovereignty.
As I write this now it is December 2019 and that original dream of European Unity went, for Britain, badly wrong. It descended into chaos with thousands of unelected politicians making many unpopular decisions which were unacceptable to us. We wanted the right to make our own decisions and our sovereignty.
There was a General Election in June 1970 and Ted Heath became Prime Minister with Alec Douglas Home as Foreign Secretary.
On the sporting front Golfer, Tony Jacklin became the first Briton for 50 years to win the U.S. Open when he won the title in Minneapolis. He had already won the British Open and thus he joined two of the all-time greats of golf, Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan as the only ones to have won both Opens in the same golfing year.
The year also saw the Methodists announce that they were allowing women to become full Ministers in their Church. Some cynics said women have been preaching for years and without many methods but I wouldn’t dare to make such a comment nowadays with all this women’s lib and P.C. around.
A sad loss occurred when Sir Allen Lane died. The name may not be familiar to many but his brainchild will. He was the man who made paperback books ‘famous’ by thinking up the idea of calling his books Penguin and although there are many different paperback books around today there is only one Penguin trademark.
On Sept 12th four airliners destined for New York were hi-Jacked. The attempt on one, an EL AL Boeing 707, was thwarted when the crew overpowered the two hijackers one of whom was killed. The other one, a girl named Leila Khaled, was handed over at Heathrow to the British Police. Her arrest caused the hijack of a BOAC VC10 and that aircraft, along with the other two hijacked planes, a Swiss and an American one were flown to Jordan where 255 passengers were released before the planes were blown up in the desert but the hijackers, believed to be members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, held 56 British passengers as hostages at a secret location. They were eventually released on Sept. 20th.
Another sad loss occurred when Field Marshal William Slim died. He was the man who led the British 14TH Army, the forgotten Army, throughout the Burma campaign in the Second World War. History books record, quite rightly I might add, the epic struggle in the Middle East when General, later Field Marshal, Montgomery led the 8TH Army to victory over Rommel at El Alamein but the desperate and largely unsung struggle endured by the 14th Army under General Slim, as he was then, in the steamy unrelating jungles of Burma were every bit as heroic and deserving of the nations gratitude.
To finish on a lighter note, you may like to know that on October 20th missiles were thrown at the stage during the Miss World Beauty Contest in London to which I can only add, in true cockney style, ‘Blimey, they must have been an ugly lot of gals that year’
-End of Part Forty-Six—