In early January 1960, the British Polaris missile was being tested using its own internal guidance system for the first time. This was the period of the "Cold War".

Meanwhile in competition with the Western powers was the Soviet Union. They were testing ballistic projectiles of their own over the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. They "politely" advised other nations not to route their ships across certain areas of the ocean until the middle of February while testing their warheads etc.

While on the subject of competition, on a more local theme, the football team from St Martins on Saturday 9th of January 1960 enjoyed great success when playing an away game against Clee Hill United. The home team managed to put the ball in the back of the net three times but the away team who had travelled 56 miles for the game managed two more than that, gaining entry into the quarter finals.

For those not interested in football there were various films to be seen at Oswestry in January 1960. Showing at the Century cinema in Oswestry was the film Night We Dropped a Clanger starring Brian Rix. At the same time the Granada was projecting Ask Any Girl with the main stars in this film being David Niven and Shirley Maclaine. At the Granada in Shrewsbury the great Norman Wisdom starred in a film called Follow a Star. In competition with the Granada in Shropshire's county town was the Empire cinema then showing Rough and the Smooth starring Tony Britton and Nadja Tiller. Come to think of it I was experiencing the "rough and smooth" myself in 1960 when learning to ride my first bike. Smooth when travelling on it but rough when falling off it! A week or so later at the Oswestry Granada was showing Last Train From Gun Hill starring the famous Kirk Douglas while the "sister" cinema at Shrewsbury had F.B.I. Story with James Stewart being the main star in this film.

January 8 1960 was when the Soviet Union welcomed Lee Harvey Oswald. (However, it appears according to records that he was not allowed to defect to the Soviet Union on a permanent basis). This was of course the man apparently involved in the assassination of President Kennedy a year or so later. Although there has always been controversy of who actually killed the American President. As a child I remember the actual day of the assassination. November 22nd 1963. The car park attendant told us at the English Walls car park in Oswestry of the sad tidings when we returned to our car on that evening. We had just been to see the film The Longest Day.

While on the subject of Oswestry and the then American tragedy, in January 1960 a certain Mr J G V Owen from Hampton Road decided to make his home in Minnesota USA. Mr Owen was educated Oswestry Boys' High School. His father, Mr H E T Owen died in 1936. Upon the death of his father J G V Owen was appointed assistant manager of the family firm becoming a director in 1943 when the company actually became Thomas Owen (Oswestry) Ltd. In 1960, the local firm was involved in the wholesale grocery business. (Until 1939 the production of candles and soap was its main concern. Certain locals in the 1960s still referred to the business as "Owen's the chandler."). Mr Owen had two brothers involved in the company. Mr H Ellis Owen was managing director while Mr Arthur E Owen was also a director. Arthur E Owen must have been quite a busy person due to being an industrial chemist at Port Sunlight with Lever Brothers. The mother, Mrs Esta Owen has been recognised as being the very first woman to have the position as a JP in Oswestry. I am of the opinion this Owen family were people of immense talent.

During the Second World War J G V Owen served for three years overseas with the Royal Ordnance Corps. His leisure activities included being a member of the Oswestry Hockey Club and after the war the Victoria Badminton Club. He played leading roles in quite a few of the full length productions put on by the Oswestry Arts Club since 1937. He was also a member of the Oswald Road Presbyterian Church. It was stated J G V Owen had relatives in Minnesota so probably that was the main reason he immigrated to America. Undeniably this must have been quite life changing for him at that time. Quite an upheaval.

As the 1960s dawned, the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev decided to reduce the manpower of their armed forces 3,623,000 to 2,423,000. Their intention was to spend more on their nuclear capability. This Communist country seemed to be taking an aggressive stance towards other nations. I am of the opinion they did not trust other countries especially when what they had experienced from the surprise attack exercised by Nazi Germany in 1941.

A well known car dealership and service centre selling cars manufactured by the Rootes Group was Roy Evans of Willow Street in Oswestry. My father would have his car serviced here during the 1960s and was well pleased with their servicing ability. Roy himself was known for taking part in the Monte Carlo during the 1950s. On the front page of the Advertizer (Wednesday 20 1960) is a photograph of Mr Roy Evans standing by a rally prepared Sunbeam Rapier (No 252) entered for the 1960 Monte Carlo Rally. The newspaper report quoted that Roy had mixed feelings because he was not actually taking part in the rally himself for apparently the first time in years. On the photograph are the driver Mr Roger Stephens and his co-driver Mr Tony Bennett. In 1959, when Roy Evans took part, his co-driver who is also on the photo was Mr Walter Watkins. The Mayor of Oswestry (Councillor A A Beauclerk) unfortunately could not attend the rally car's "send off" due to a previous engagement.

Shropshire Constabulary placed a note of regret in the Oswestry Advertizer informing readers that tickets for their Oswestry police ball had been sold out. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, with another police force, certain members of the Chicago police in the USA had more serious regrets of their own. A number of Chicago cops were arrested for abusing their position to commit their own robberies on local businesses etc. The Mayor of Chicago was absolutely disgusted by the actions of these officers expressing it as one of the worst scandals in the history of Chigago PD.

When the Advertizer was on display in the newsagents of Oswestry with the local reports etc on January 20 1960 there was other news "half" way across the world in the Pacific Ocean. The Soviet Union must have been congratulating themselves. This superpower was enjoying the success of testing it appears the first Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. This deadly weapon had a range in excess of 7,760 miles. This would have given the Western powers grave cause for concern. The explosion of this projectile in the Pacific was clearly seen by the crew of a Quantas aircraft.

The next day in South Africa was described at that time as one of the most tragic mining disasters ever. No less than 437 coal miners perished at Coalbrook North Colliery. A mining section caved in and to make matters even worst, the mine was filled with lethal methane gas.

On a more pleasant note that week, a monkey was placed on board a rocket which reached a height of around 48,900 ft. This was obviously a test for the future of human astronauts. The monkey landed safely which more than can be said for 37 passengers that were killed on a passenger plane which crashed on a flight when en-route from New York to Montego Bay. (There seemed to be more air disasters then than in present times. Obviously, due to constant development over the years, aircraft are much safer and more reliable now).

Other reports in that final week of January 1960 included the political unrest in French Algeria. Also on a more agreeable note is one the brave experiences in my opinion of a certain Jacques Piccard and a Lieutenant Don Walsh. They boarded a U S Navy bathyscaphe Trieste and travelled to a depth of more than seven miles in the Pacific Ocean. Journey to the Bottom of the Sea comes to mind here!

While it appears some people want to journey underwater others want to travel by train. First you have to find a station to climb aboard the train. In late January the Advertizer reported on a "bone" of contention between local train travellers and the then British Rail. It seems that many stations and halts were to be closed between Shrewsbury and Chester. As we all know many have now been closed and during the 1960s many railway lines in the UK have been decimated much to the dismay of many. (If only the line between Gobowen and Llynclys could still be used. But of course the level crossings would not be practical on the A5 and A483!).