John William Alcock
Sir John William Alcock (1892-1919), aviator. In 1913 the Daily Mail, whose proprietor, Lord Northcliffe, was keen to promote aviation, had offered a prize of £10,000 to the 1st person to cross the Atlantic non-stop. Competition was suspended during the war, but Northcliffe renewed the offer in July 1918. While imprisoned by the Turks during 1st World War, he resolved to attempt to fly the Atlantic. On demobilisation in March 1919 Alcock approached the Vickers firm at Weybridge, who had considered entering their Vimy bomber but had not yet found a pilot. On Saturday 14th June 1919, Alcock flew with, Arthur Whitten Brown, a former Royal Flying Corps observer as navigator, coast-to-coast (1890 miles) in 15 hours 57 minutes. Winston Churchill presented Alcock and Brown with the Daily Mail's prize of £10,000 for the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic. Alcock returned to Vickers at Weybridge as a staff pilot, testing, and delivering new aircraft. On 18th December 1919, aged 27, he set out to fly to Paris to deliver a Vickers Viking amphibian aeroplane. Flying solo in fog, he crashed near Rouen, and died the same day without regaining consciousness.