WHEN Jan Whitehouse spotted an article about Colchester’s link to the 1969 moon landings it sparked a memory for her.

Reader Bob Cross remembered some of the moon rock bought back at that time arriving in Colchester via a former NASA employee and appealed at the time of the 50th anniversary of the event in the summer for any information on its whereabouts.

He remembered meeting German-born Horst Mueller while on a photography course at the North East Essex College and School of Art in the town in the 1960s.

Horst had settled in Great Horkesley, where he had later married a local woman, having been a prisoner of war during the Second World War andwas working as a steward at the college where he would set up and look after the equipment.

And Bob, who now lives in Tollesbury, says Horst would often talk about his life before the war when he had been a technician on the V2 rocket sites in Germany and had even shown Bob and other students old photographs of his time there - including one recording a visit by Adolf Hitler.

“He worked under Werner Von Braun, the man behind these missiles, and after the war he

was taken on by the American government to help run the NASA space programme,” explains Bob.

Horst had kept in touch with his former boss at NASA and they would regularly send him things in the post which fed his continued interest in astronomy.

“From time to time large cardboard tubes, postmarked Cape Kennedy, and marked for his

attention would arrive at the college,” recalled Bob.

“Not long after the actual landing had taken place, a package arrived.

“Included was a small, transparent, plastic container with a message attached.

“It contained some pieces of rock, brought back from the actual moon landing.

“Horst proudly showed us his amazing gift; little brown pieces, with small pin-prick like holes, as I recall.”

Bob was not sure what exactly happened to the moon rock after this and was appealing for information about where it may have been.

He did know they had gone on to be exhibited, possibly after Horst had passed away, but was appealing for help in finding out what happened then.

Many people who saw the original appeal got in touch as they too remembered Horst as one of their favourite staff at the college at the time.

Jan, who lives in Copford Green, says she did not know Horst but many years ago a neighbour had given her a small lump of rock he said was part of that delivery of moon rock originally shown to the students at the college.

“His name was Steven Green, I lost touch with him but I think he worked at the college too.

“Since then it has been in a frame but it was probably twice the size when I first was given it and I have actually looked at it under a microscope and it really is beautiful. I won’t ever part with it.”

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