A man who was born hours after the 1969 moon landing has revealed how his family named him after the legendary Apollo 11 astronauts.
Aldrin Armstrong Collins Wilding-West’s mother Diana West was nine months pregnant when she huddled around her tiny TV with her family to watch the momentous lunar event.
Her husband Edgar and eight children – like the rest of the world – were utterly captivated, and the excitement even prompted mum Diana into first twinges of labor.
Two days later her youngest son was born, and proud parents Diana and Edgar said their other kids could choose his name.
Space-crazed, the children named their new brother Aldrin Armstrong West – and he lived up to his name by being enchanted by space travel as he grew up.
In adulthood, the man, now a dad-of-four, added his own third name – Collins – after Michael, the third and often forgotten astronaut on the Apollo 11 team.
Wilding-West from Barry, Wales, is now celebrating 50th birthday and the anniversary of the moon landings with a party at the National Space Center this Saturday.
Though he’s never made a big deal of his unique name, he’s now reaching out to his namesakes Buzz and Michael publicly, in a hope they’ll get in touch.
“The family were space mad. I was the last of nine kids, and my eldest brother was very nearly 15 at the time of my birth,” Wilding-West, an aircraft dismantler, said. “They were watching and following the space race avidly from the Mercury mission, all the way through to Gemini, and then Apollo.”
“A couple of days after, I was born, and my sister asked if she could name me after the first men on the moon,” the 49-year-old revealed. “Neil was her first choice but that was a little posh so they scrapped that and went for Aldrin Armstrong.”
“It was much later – about five years ago – when after much procrastination, I finally decided to add Collins,” he divulged. “It’s not fair to miss out Michael Collins. It was a three man mission and he’s not often remembered. I wanted my name to reflect that too.”
Decades ago, Wilding-West’s family gathered around the TV in the living room of their village home in Theberton, Suffolk, England, on July 20, 1969 for the big event.
“All the family were there, apart from the toddlers, because it was late at night,” he said. “It would have been very exhilarating for them, as it was for everyone else. My dad was a TV engineer so thankfully they had a TV to watch it on.”
“The story goes, the excitement brought on mum’s labor and I was born a couple of days later,” Wilding-West detailed.
“My sister Irene chose my name. It was when I went to school really I realized how special my name was,” he mused. “I’m not as space mad as you might imagine. I’ve always been very hard working, so work has been a big focus for me.”
“But I have always had a great interest in all things space,” the dad said. “You won’t often see me out at night, without me craning my neck to look at the sky.”
The 1969 moon mission saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin leave in the Apollo Lunar Module to make the first crewed landing on its surface.
Wilding-West, who is married to wife Jayne, plans to celebrate his birthday, and the anniversary of the landings, with a visit to the National Space Center in Leicester, with his son Charlie, 14.
The birthday boy is also hoping to hear from anyone with Apollo 11 related names via his Facebook page “Apollo 11 – People Named After the Moon Landing.”
This story was originally published by SWNS.
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