I remember going to the Science Museum in London when I was small and seeing the Vickers Vimy that Alcock and Brown used to make the first non-stop Atlantic crossing. Until today it had never actually struck me on which day the crossing had taken place. Admittedly it was on the 14th/15th June. You can read about some of the trials and tribulations of the flight on their Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_flight_of_Alcock_and_Brown
A couple of things I didn’t know about the flight:
- John Alcock had been a POW in Turkey in the First World War while flying with the Royal Naval Air Service – while a POW he dreamed of making the Atlantic crossing.
- There was a very real competition between Vickers and Handley-Page (among others) to win a 10,000 GBP prized offered by the Daily Mail. The Handley-Page team were still testing their aircraft when the Vickers team arrived, assembled their aircraft and took off.
- Alcock approached Vickers suggesting they use a modified Vimy bomber for the attempt. Vickers were impressed and made him their pilot.
- Arthur Whitten-Brown was apparently unemployed and approached Vickers looking for a job.
It’s amazing how a series of chances came together. One would say it was a very British undertaking.