Letter received from Mr. Monckton’s son on 17/2/10.......
I read your article on the internet with interest. I remember talking with Dad about this at the time and I had a few conversations with him about it subsequently. Unfortunately, he passed away a couple of years ago but he remained very lucid till the end so you would have been able to verify all the facts. I was only 19 at the time so some facts are a little fuzzy but some things I can verify. Trouble is everything was classified and I doubt if you would be able to access the files even now.
The parts that I can verify are that Dad was involved in the space program at the time of the moon landing, was coordinating and directing communications and he was in daily contact with NASA in Canberra and with Huston in the States. I know he was involved in coming up with the wording that Neil Armstrong would use at the time of the landing because I understand NASA had asked a number of people to suggest a text to quote. I know Dad was agonising over this for some weeks.
Dad told me that he provided words for Neil Armstrong but I do not remember if he provided them directly to him - I would have thought that unlikely until I recently was told that Neil Armstrong gave an interview where he said that he had spoken directly with Dad and he discussed what words he should use. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a copy of this interview. I would have thought Dad would have given the wording to NASA and the most likely person he would have given them to is Walt Larkin who was NASA's rep in Canberra and a close personal friend of Dads. They remained in contact until Walt died about 10 years ago. Walt has a son Blake who lives in the States - he is a solicitor - he may be able to supply more information.
As to who supplied the most famous part of the quote "One small step..." Dad never claimed to me that they were his words but he said he did supply this as part of a longer piece. I gather he wrote some of the material but I vaguely remember Dad telling me about Gary Peach (don't remember the name but do remember him talking about an English scientist with whom he was particularly impressed) and him supplying the crucial first words. Dad was a very honorable man and never claimed work that was not his own. He never told me that the words he gave Neil Armstrong were entirely his own but I do know that he did supply suggested wording for Neil Armstrong to use - how much of the original text was used I do not know but it seems a large of it.