MILLIONS of Britons are prepared to mark the passing of would-be space traveller Guy Fawkes, who strapped himself to a rocket on November 5, 1605.
Fawkes’s crude rocket ship, Pope Paul V, exploded spectacularly above London, to the amusement of a gathered crowd that responded with a collective ‘ooh’.
Historian Roy Hobbs said: “Fawkes’s spacecraft was really just a 30ft tube of gunpowder with a pointy top and a fuse, on a pole.
“His plan was to visit the sun and find out whether God lived there.
“Fawkes was lashed to the main body of the rocket. He carried a leather bladder full of beer, a block of cheese and spare tights.”
Fawkes was encouraged in his ill-fated venture by his friend Robert Catesby.
Hobbs said: “While strapped to the shaft of the rocket, Fawkes repeatedly asked Catesby, ‘Are you sure this is going to be alright?’
“‘It’s fine,’ replied Catesby, who lit the fuse before running off to hide behind a house, ‘you might be cold for a bit but as you approach the sun it will warm up.'”
Catesby reputedly had a childish fascination with crude gunpowder-fuelled vehicles, which ended after his sister Catherine tragically spun to her death while strapped to a cartwheel.