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Imagine that you played a key role in or were an observer of a major historical event or well-known occasion. Describe the event, its background, your role in it and the reactions to it

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Introduction

Imagine that you played a key role in or were an observer of a major historical event or well-known occasion. Describe the event, its background, your role in it and the reactions to it It was the summer of '68 and I was working as a boat mechanic on Coniston Water in the Lake District. In July I got a letter informing me that Donald Campbell and his famous Bluebird boat would be coming mid-week to try for the water speed record. I was so excited because we had never experienced anything like this in the remote part of The Lake District. He already held the world record, but this time he was going to try to break the 300km/h record, which had never been achieved before. After I had read the letter I went about setting up the lake so that it was capable of hosting a record attempt. This involved moving all of the boats out of the water, because they would be sunk by the huge waves produced by Bluebird, and setting out a line of buoys, which Donald Campbell could drive between and keep in a straight line. ...read more.

Middle

He finished his run and pulled the Bluebird up to a jetty by the lakeside. He opened the top and had a big smile on his face which showed that the run had gone well. I asked him what speed he got up to. "It was only a test run, so I didn't push as hard as I could have done. The boat is handling and responding well so I believe the record is well within our reach," he said to me. The sense of anticipation was huge now with every second passing representing another second closer to the world record attempt run later in the day. Between 11:40 and 1:30 the mechanics and crew members worked busily on their computers, sifting through all the data they had collected in the first trial run. Donald and I kept away as he said we would only get in their way and slow the improvement and modification time down. We went into the waterside cabin, which I used as my office, and he told me about how he got interested in boats and record attempts. He told me that it was his father who inspired him to break records because he held the land speed record with the road version of the Bluebird. ...read more.

Conclusion

There was a speed counter on the lakeside by me so I was able to see what speeds he was achieving. As he got nearer and nearer to the miracle 300 km/h mark, his acceleration was decreasing so the speed was increasing slower and slower - 288 km/h....291 km/h....297 km/h....303 km/h. He had made it! The counter kept on increasing - 314 km/h....327 km/h....347 km/h. Then, at 359 km/h the boat rose up beyond its normal height and flipped. The boat was totalled and completely wrecked. My heart pounded, along with thousands of others, like the beat of a drum. Immediately we rushed out on our boats to aid the probably close to death Donald. As we got closer to the wreckage there was a trail of debris and a large mass of scrapped blue metal. After hours of work we finally lifted the lifeless body from the bed of the lake. We were in shock because we realised in that split second we witnessed the death of one of the most famous record breakers in history. The next day we held a memorial service in the lake and we lowered the body of Donald Campbell slowly into the lake. It was a terrible occasion to witness. We never saw a record attempt ever again on Coniston Water. ...read more.

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