It is a commonly held belief that there has never been a British man – or woman – on The Moon. This is not so, according to a recently published book “From Guildford to Ganymede…Almost” by Surrey astronaut Clacket Lane. Lane lifts the lid on what really happened during the race to be the first man on The Moon and his story makes for great reading.
According to Lane, the original Apollo 11 flight to The Moon had not 3 but 4 men aboard. As well as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, Lane says he was also on board the 1969 mission. Lane’s claims are likely to be flatly denied by the US, NASA and the original astronauts themselves. But why has Lane stayed silent for over 40 years?
“Basically I was threatened,” says Lane. “The US didn’t want it known that a Brit was the first man to step on The Moon, not an American. Soon after we landed I was visited by men in black suits who told me I must never mention the truth.” He stares up into the sky. “I suppose they didn’t think ‘Congratulations Paul and Linda’ was as memorable as the one step thing.”
Lane also claims that Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins shunned him on their return to earth and refused all attempts at contact. “It was as if I was never there,” he says. “We shared such a unique moment, something only a handful of other men have ever experienced and I thought we’d be mates forever.” Instead, Lane returned to land, to Guildford and to obscurity.
Lane says he became a little over-excited on landing and did stray from the intended landing party order of Armstrong, Lane, Aldrin, Collins. “Well, it looked so big out there. And, if I’m honest, I wanted a bit of glory for Britain. Plus I tripped and barged Neil out of the way, so really it was an accident I touched down first.”
Is Clacket Lane telling the truth? With confirmation of his claims most unlikely, judge for yourself whether his descriptions of Moon rocks, G-force facial constrictions and being ignored over 300,000 miles from home are real or pie in the sky.
But maybe there is something in his story. They did name the M25 services after him.
Inspiration: The Moon Landings (and Neil Armstrong's death)