Around the world this week in 1966:-
- October 16th – The 165 square mile Lochinvar Ranch was acquired by the government of Zambia from brothers Harry Wulfsohn and Edwin Wulfsohn, for 40,000 British pounds, and transformed from a former cattle ranch into a wildlife preserve, which would reopen as the Lochinvar National Park in 1972. The park, with 420 different species of animals, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the southern African nation.
- October 18th – Timothy Evans, who had been hanged in Britain’s Pentonville Prison on March 9, 1950, for a double murder of which he had been innocent, received a posthumous pardon from Queen Elizabeth II after it was discovered that his confession had been coerced and that the chief witness against him, John Christie, had been a serial killer.
- October 18th – The Ford Cortina MK2 was launched in the United Kingdom.
- October 20th – Soviet First Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and his guests (including Fidel Castro of Cuba, Nicolae Ceaușescu of Romania, János Kádár of Hungary, Willi Stoph of East Germany, Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal and the Communist Party leaders of several other Soviet allies) were at Baikonur Cosmodrome to witness Operation Palma 3, the launch of five rockets and missiles. In addition to the powerful N1 rocket that placed a seventh Molniya-1 communications satellite into orbit, the leaders also watched four ICBM launches.
- October 21st – At 9:15 in the morning, shortly after the day had started at Pantglas Junior School in the South Wales village of Aberfan, a slag heap (spoil tip) overlooking the school suddenly collapsed, sending an avalanche of two million tons of rock, coal and mud pouring down the hill. Over the years, the heap had risen to a height of 80 feet, until heavy rains weakened it. The disaster killed 116 children and 28 adults. Most of the deaths were of schoolchildren, ranging in age from eight years old to ten years old, who died in their classrooms.
- October 22nd – George Blake escaped from the maximum security Wormwood Scrubs prison, where he was in the fifth year of a 42-year prison sentence for espionage. Blake, who had been the British vice-consul to South Korea when the North Koreans invaded in 1950, had been a prisoner in the Communist nation until 1953, and became an adherent of Communism during his incarceration, and a spy for the Soviet Union after he resumed service to the British government. After is escape, Blake successfully fled to Moscow.
But here’s what’s occupying Peggy this week:-
Sunday 16th October 1966
Another quite fine day – but haven’t been able to cut the lawns yet. Did another load of washing. Cyril managed to get some of the Chrysanths in! We’ve had a clearing out day!!
Monday 17th October 1966
Cyril and I both had tummy troubles last night!! Philip too was complaining. Quite a nice day. Have worked all day – and booked myself an hour’s driving lesson on Wednesday! Mowed the lawns this evening. Pretty mucky.
Tuesday 18th October 1966
Cyril went off to Cardiff feeling not very well – was a wet walk to the station too. I carried on work at the office today and had a great surprise when Mrs Green from Frimley called for me!! Ernest had a trip to Leatherhead and he picked her up. Tim not here yet. 7:45pm. He arrived later, full of beans!
Wednesday 19th October 1966
Tried to leave work early but it was 11:45 before I got away. Had a driving lesson this afternoon – the instructor wasn’t terribly thrilled with my prowess as a driver. I quite enjoyed myself. Tim left at quarter to two. Cyril home at 3pm.
Thursday 20th October 1966
Worked until 12:15pm
Out again after lunch and played badminton all afternoon – until nearly five o’clock. Fair wore myself out. Baked Gill’s marble cake. Joan rang.
Friday 21st October 1966
Last day of term.
Dental 11:30 – me.
My dental trip was a waste of time – had to wait 20 minutes too! Mr Ross didn’t do a thing. So I shopped in the village then went to the cycle training (test) until 2:45 – back for an hour’s work. Great surprise to find Molly and Ted waiting for us! They stayed an hour. Very busy evening.
Appalling tragedy in Aberfan, Wales. Slag heap descended onto the village school – about 200 children buried alive – Horrible.
Saturday 22nd October 1966
Rob & Maggie arrived about 2pm. We had a hectic morning – shopping, washing, cooking lunch and so on. The party was a great success even though it poured with rain after tea and Cyril got soaked lighting the fireworks. Gillian has had an exciting day – twenty-four cards and lots of gifts – she likes the Spirograph we gave her.