Looking into my local history I found Sir John William Alcock, the first man to pilot a non-stop transatlantic flight from St.Johns, New Foundland to Clifden, Ireland.

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John Alcock after his successful transatlantic flight

Born 5th November 1892 in  Old Trafford, Manchester. He attended St Thomas’s primary school in Heaton Chapel, Stockport, Which happens to be the same school I attended as a child. He became interested in flying at an early age, his first job was at Empress Motor Works in Manchester and in 1910 he became an assistant of Charles Fletcher who was a Manchester based aviator. He received his pilot’s licence in 1912 from Ducrocq’s flying school.

After serving with Royal Aiforce in World War I, John decided he wanted to fly across the Atlantic. He was partnered with Arthur Whitten Brown an engineer who helped navigate the flight.

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John Alcock and Arthur Brown

On June 14 1919, Alcock and Brown took off in a modified Vickers Vimy aircraft from St, John’s Newfoundland and landed in Clifden, Ireland, 16 hours and 12 minutes later, on June 15 1919. On completing the flight they won a prize of £10,000 from the Daily Mail newspaper and were given the prize by Winston Churchill.

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Vickers Vimy in flight
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Group including Alcock and Brown in front of the Vickers Vimy

A few days after their flight Alcock and Brown were knighted by King George V at Windsor Castle

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Alcock and Brown on the steps of Manchester Town Hall with Lord Mayor and Town Clerk.

On the 18 December 1919, in Paris, John Alcock crashed a Vickers Viking aircraft and died, he was aged 27. His Grave can be found in Southern Cemetery, Manchester.

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Plaque commemorating the transatlantic flight of Alcock and Brown in the offices of RollsRoyce LTD at Derby.
This blog post was written for Archives+ by one of our volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project.