The Cuban Missile crisis 50 years ago.

#1
I was fifteen at the time and about to leave school at Christmas. I was watching TV news showing pictures of Russian ships carrying what looked like covered missiles en route to Cuba. This was getting serious and noticed my Dad keeping an eye on events. Next day a Policeman came to our door (only phone them days was at the end of our street) and asked my Dad (a Master Pilot in the RAF to return to RAF Northolt ASAP), he was on leave at the time. The next day at school (in Rutland) at break I told the RAF lads from RAF Cottesmore that Dad had been recalled and told them that on my way to school (on the train from Stamford to Oakham) that the Thor missiles at RAF North Luffenham had been raised, all three of them. RAF kids from Cottesmore said the Victors had been taking off and landing all night. I could hear the Vulcans at RAF Wittering had been doing the same all night too. Dad left me instructions that under the stairs would be best to shelter if he never came back. He did come back when it was all over but he wouldant reveal anything about his orders.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#2
I was in Cuba at the time, languishing in a jail cell in a prison called La Cabana, but was released after 6 weeks when a large fine was paid on my behalf and I was deported to Jamaica. The crisis erupted in the beginning of my sixth week, so I was rather pleased to be chucked out.
Having said that, I adored the Cubans, warm and lovely people, or the ones I met were.
 
#4
I remember as an 8 y.o when the news broke & the nuclear drills at school.

"Sit with your head between your knees & kiss your arse goodbye".
 
#5
There was a lot of very bad bluffing from both sides but (luckily for us as he was crap at it) JFK was getting an inside edge from an MI6 spy called Oleg Penkovski. He was a very brave man (at least our side thought so) who was called on to do more than was safe and was arrested and (finally) shot.
 
#6
I was fifteen at the time and about to leave school at Christmas. I was watching TV news showing pictures of Russian ships carrying what looked like covered missiles en route to Cuba. This was getting serious and noticed my Dad keeping an eye on events. Next day a Policeman came to our door (only phone them days was at the end of our street) and asked my Dad (a Master Pilot in the RAF to return to RAF Northolt ASAP), he was on leave at the time. The next day at school (in Rutland) at break I told the RAF lads from RAF Cottesmore that Dad had been recalled and told them that on my way to school (on the train from Stamford to Oakham) that the Thor missiles at RAF North Luffenham had been raised, all three of them. RAF kids from Cottesmore said the Victors had been taking off and landing all night. I could hear the Vulcans at RAF Wittering had been doing the same all night too. Dad left me instructions that under the stairs would be best to shelter if he never came back. He did come back when it was all over but he wouldant reveal anything about his orders.
I was a 10 year-old brat at the RN primary school in Malta.
I can remember the entire Med Fleet sailing to get away from the island which would have been a major target. There were V-bombers at RAF Luqa and, apart from the strategic military position of the island, there was also a key "Cable & Wireless" set-up there.
At the time my father was teaching at the school, so I recently asked him whether the staff had been given any specific instructions for dealing with a school population of in excess of 1,000 5 - 11 year-olds whose fathers were all RN, attached units, or C & W. The same must have stood for the two Army primary schools at St Andrews and Tigne, the RAF primary at Luqa and the secondary school (RN-run) at Tal Handaq.
Father said he could not remember any specific instructions, but did remember that the Headmaster - a Lt Cdr RN - was included in command briefings.
Nor, it seems, was there any provision for evacuation of dependents. I suppose it wouldn't have made sense: too many people, too short notice.
 
#7
How does the fact that your dad told you to 'hide under the stairs' in case of nuclear attack make you feel?
Ha Haa yes this goes back to Granny hiding under the stairs whilst Luftwaffe droned overhead on its way to Bristol. I later found an UXB firebomb in a corner of a field when I was eight. Called the local RAF bomb disposal at Hullavington who took it off us kids who were playing 'Dam Busters' with it on the way home.
 
#8
We were in Hohne at the time,11H, we had a bit of a talk one morning on first parade about situation looking a bit tense,then 'carry on'.We were always on 2 hour stand-by anyway.No doubt there was quite a bit of scurrying around higher up the chain of command,think a couple of lads were brought back off leave from UK.
 
#9
I was in Cuba at the time, languishing in a jail cell in a prison called La Cabana, but was released after 6 weeks when a large fine was paid on my behalf and I was deported to Jamaica. The crisis erupted in the beginning of my sixth week, so I was rather pleased to be chucked out.
Having said that, I adored the Cubans, warm and lovely people, or the ones I met were.
So it was YOUR fault you b*****d!
 
#10
Why do we call it the Cuban missile crisis when the missiles were never there, iirc they were on boats on the way? It's like calling a crash on the m1 at Nottingham the London pile-up!
 
#11
I was in Cuba at the time, languishing in a jail cell in a prison called La Cabana, but was released after 6 weeks when a large fine was paid on my behalf and I was deported to Jamaica. The crisis erupted in the beginning of my sixth week, so I was rather pleased to be chucked out.
Having said that, I adored the Cubans, warm and lovely people, or the ones I met were.
so you nearly started it then?
are you sure you were not in south america?
whats your surname, hitler?
 
#12
Why do we call it the Cuban missile crisis when the missiles were never there, iirc they were on boats on the way? It's like calling a crash on the m1 at Nottingham the London pile-up!
Because the missile sites were in Cuba and 'some cargo ships somewhere between Murmansk and Havana missile crisis' doesn't roll off the tongue.
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
I would have been 5. Typically we were told sod all and some family idiot would have pedalled off to Stormont to ensure there were enough sandbags to protect Carsons statue.
 
#15
Why do we call it the Cuban missile crisis when the missiles were never there, iirc they were on boats on the way? It's like calling a crash on the m1 at Nottingham the London pile-up!
I am not an expert on the subject, so I say this very tentatively.

I thought there were missiles on the island at the time but that the americans were not privy to this info at the time of the crisis.
 
#16
I am not an expert on the subject, so I say this very tentatively.

I thought there were missiles on the island at the time but that the americans were not privy to this info at the time of the crisis.
Yup.

Think the Sovs had a wee bit of a sweat over getting them back too.
 
#19
I was in Cuba at the time, languishing in a jail cell in a prison called La Cabana, but was released after 6 weeks when a large fine was paid on my behalf and I was deported to Jamaica. The crisis erupted in the beginning of my sixth week, so I was rather pleased to be chucked out.
Having said that, I adored the Cubans, warm and lovely people, or the ones I met were.
So that's where Warren Zevon got his inspiration from;

"Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Warren Zevon - YouTube, which one is you?

My nearest connection to the crisis, other than being alive, albeit little at the time; in the 70s working for Barkers of Kensington, the floor manager gripped me, and pointed at a man coming down the escalator, and told me that was Greville-Wynne, Penkovsky's contact, who did a spell in the Lubyanka prison. Little bits of history.
 
#20
We were attending my uncle's funeral in Uppingham during that week and I recall my Dad (ex 1 Leicesters and 8 Worcs) saying lugubriously "We'll probably be joining him before the end of the week!"
 

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