On 14 June 1919, a modified Vickers ‘Vimy’IV, twin-engined bomber powered by two Rolls-Royce Eagle engines, piloted by Captain JOHN ALCOCK,born in Seymour Grove, Old Trafford, took off with his navigator, Lieutenant ARTHUR WHITTEN – BROWN,who lived in Oswald Road, Chortlton cum Hardy,from a makeshift runway at Lester’s Field in Newfoundland,Canada, and crash landed, 16 hours later in an Irish bog on Derrygimlagh Moor.They had flown 1890 miles (3040 km) in 15 hours 57 minutes, at an average speed of 115 mph (185 km/h).Their altitude varied between sea level and 12,000 ft (3,700 m) and upon take-off they carried 865 imperial gallons (3,900 L) of fuel.
Their historic flight not only marvelled the people of the City of Manchester, but amazed the rest of the world.It was as significant an achievement and can be compared to the first journey into space – public reaction was similiar to Yuri Gargarin’s first historic space flight.
Amazement at the feat grew as details of the journey become fully known.Every minute of the journey proved to be a battle against the elements – extremely poor visibility from fog and ice were constant hazards – Brown, several times, climbed along a wing to chip ice from off the engine air intakes –  and  snow filled the open cockpit.

Alcock and Brown were treated as heroes on the completion of their flight. In addition to the Daily Mail award of £10,000.fulfilling the challenge of being "The aviator who shall first cross the Atlantic in an aeroplane in flight from any point in the United States of America, Canada or Newfoundland and any point in Great Britain or Ireland" in 72 continuous hours" They also received £1,000 from Lawrence R. Phillips for being the first British subjects to fly the Atlantic Ocean. Both men were knighted a few days later by King George V.  On 17 July 1919,Alcock and Brown flew to Manchester where they were given a civic reception by the Lord Mayor and Corporation and awards to mark their achievement.

 A month after Alcock and Brown’s achievement,British airship R34 made the first double-crossing of the Atlantic, carrying 31 people (including a stowaway); twenty-nine of this crew, plus two flight engineers and a different American observer, then flew back to Europe. A small amount of airmail was carried on this flight. The government of the Dominion of Newfoundland overprinted stamps for this carriage. They are valuable, while the envelopes used on the flight are particularly rare. 

The Vimy made its final flight on 15 November 2009 from Dunsfold Park to Brooklands and retired from flying for the foreseeable future. It is on public display in the Bellman hangar at Brooklands Museum,Weybridge, Surrey.




  1. so instead of 500 words opf comment we get refs to other web sites – not sure that is progress. Cassies item is a tad more interesting than mine although neither mentioned Whitten Brown was a naturalised Englishman from north america.

  2. trouble is that you get told your comment is too long now if you submit more than a small paragraph

  3. I haven\’t noticed that our comments were being censored or cut off. Are you cert

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