Bexley marks centenary of first trans Atlantic flight

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 January 2019

The pair land nose first. Photo: Wiki Commons

The pair land nose first. Photo: Wiki Commons


A celebration has been organised to mark the first time an aircraft flew non-stop across the Atlantic.

The daring pilots load the mail. Photo: Wiki CommonsThe daring pilots load the mail. Photo: Wiki Commons

The incredible flight was made by John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown.

They used a modified Vickers Vimy bomber, originally designed and built in the Vickers factory in Crayford.

Now to celebrate that momentous crossing’s 100th anniversary, a local appreciation group is putting on shows and exhibitions throughout the year.

To help pay for it, they won a grant of £39,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Alcock and Brown Centenary Project Group (Crayford) is made up of members of the Crayford community, local historical and community groups as well as businesses. It is also supported by Bexley Council.

Thanks to the funding, the Alcock and Brown – Knights of the Air projects will continue throughout 2019.

The historic flight left Newfoundland, Canada on June 14. It took the audacious pair 16 and a half hours to arrive at Clifden, on the west coast of Ireland for an unceremonious landing on the Vimy’s nose.

To mark the occasion, commemorative plaques designed by local schoolchildren and community groups will go up and two exhibitions plus a special free family celebration day will be held at Hall Place and Gardens on Sunday, July 21.

That will include a model plane flying a Guinness Book of Records attempt.

The project will also include the opportunity for people of all ages to take part in the fun by either volunteering or participating in some of the aviation themed activities.

Cabinet member for places, Cllr Peter Craske said: “This grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help us to ensure that local people will be able to learn more about the vital part that our borough played in an event that shaped the future of world aviation. We are committed to offering our full council support for this project in celebrating this fantastic local achievement.”

The council said the HLF funding will cover part of the cost of the project with the rest coming from donations from local groups, businesses and individuals.

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