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Reginald Turnill 1915-2013

Posted: 12 February 2013

Reg Turnill speaks at AstroFest on the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11. Photo: Max Alexander.

We are sad to report that Reginald Turnill passed away this morning. He would have been 98 in May.

Reg was the BBC aerospace correspondent at the dawn of the space age and and raced between Moscow and Cape Canaveral to cover the first spaceflights of Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, Gherman Titov and John Glenn. From then on he commuted between London, Cape Canaveral and Houston to cover every manned American spaceflight, right through the moon landings, and on to the Shuttle flights when they took over in 1981. He officially "retired" from the BBC in 1975, but he continued to cover the space programme for John Craven's Newsround and many space enthusiasts grew up watching him.

Reg was a great friend to Astronomy Now and helped save the magazine during its darkest hour. He was a regular visitor to AstroFest and spoke at the conference twice. Most recently, he joined Patrick Moore and Garry Hunt on the stage to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11.

Reg also wrote for our sister publication Spaceflight Now. In 2000 he created a "retrocast" of the Apollo 13 mission to mark the 30th anniversary of the ill-fated Moon shot.

Reg's reporting career started on Fleet Street aged 15. By the 1930s, he was at the Press Association and would frequently take phone calls from Churchill to make advance copies of his speeches in shorthand.

He was still sharp and active until close to the end. He wrote Astronomy Now's tribute to Neil Armstrong in our October issue. He delighted in being able to say he was the world's oldest working space correspondent. When John Glenn, then 77, made his second spaceflight in November 1998, he told Reg at the post-landing news conference: "I admire you for still working and I hope I'm still working when I'm 83".

Reg is pictured here (front left), as we would like to remember him, at last year's AstroFest dinner. Thank you for everything Reg. You will be sorely missed. Photo: Max Alexander.

The Planets
From tiny Mercury to distant Neptune and Pluto, The Planets profiles each of the Solar System's members in depth, featuring the latest imagery from space missions. The tallest mountains, the deepest canyons, the strongest winds, raging atmospheric storms, terrain studded with craters and vast worlds of ice are just some of the sights you'll see on this 100-page tour of the planets.

Hubble Reborn
Hubble Reborn takes the reader on a journey through the Universe with spectacular full-colour pictures of galaxies, nebulae, planets and stars as seen through Hubble's eyes, along the way telling the dramatic story of the space telescope, including interviews with key scientists and astronauts.

3D Universe
Witness the most awesome sights of the Universe as they were meant to be seen in this 100-page extravaganza of planets, galaxies and star-scapes, all in 3D!


© 2014 Pole Star Publications Ltd.