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John William Alcock
Birth: Nov. 6, 1892
Manchester
Greater Manchester, England
Death: Dec. 18, 1919, France

Aviator. He was the first man, in partnership with Arthur Whitten Brown, to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. Born in Manchester, England, he was educated at the parish school at Saint Anne's on Sea. His first job (in 1909) was as an apprentice at the Empress Motor Works in Manchester. The following year, he went to Brooklands, as the assistant to the French pilot, Maurice Ducroq. In November 1912, he obtained his aviator's certificate, then went to work for Sunbeam Car Company as a racing pilot. When World War I broke out, he joined the Royal Naval Air Service as a Warrant-Officer instructor at the Royal Naval Flying School at Eastchurch in Kent. (One of his pupils, Reginald Warneford, went on to become the first naval pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross.) In December 1915, he received his commission as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant, but remained at Eastchurch for another twelve months, when he was posted to the Mudros base in the Eastern Mediterranean. On September 30, 1917, whilst flying a single-seater Sopwith Camel, he earned his Distinguished Service Order for an attack on three enemy airplanes, two of which crashed into the sea. That same afternoon, he left on a Handley Page aircraft for a bombing expedition on Constantinople, Turkey. He had reached Gallipoli when one of his engines failed and forced him to turn back. He had covered sixty miles with his one remaining engine, but had to make a landing on the sea, near Suvla Bay. Alcock, and his crew of two, managed to keep their aircraft afloat for two hours, but their lights failed to attract the attention of the nearby British destroyers. When the aircraft began to sink, they swam for an hour and reached the shore, then lay concealed through the night, but were captured at noon by the Turkish forces. Alcock remained in captivity until the Armistice, then left the Royal Air Force in March 1919. Later that year he offered Arthur Whitten Brown to be the navigator in his attempt to make the first direct flight across the Atlantic (in 1913, The Daily Mail newspaper had offered 10,000 for the first non-stop Atlantic crossing taking less than 72 hours; this had lapsed during the hostilities, but was renewed following the Armistice). A Vickers Vimy bomber, powered by two 360 horsepower Rolls Royce engines, was obtained and sent to Newfoundland, Canada. In May 1919, whilst Alcock and Brown were still in preparation for their flight, the first crossing of the Atlantic was made by the American Naval officer John Cushing Read, but that was ineligible for the prize as he had taken too long and had broken his journey in the Azores Islands before flying on to Lisbon, Portugal. On June 14, 1919 the two aviators' Vimy just managed to take off from the short grass runway at Lester's Field, St. John's, Newfoundland. Sixteen hours and 27 minutes later they landed, in what they imagined to be a grass field, but which turned out to be Derrygimla Bog, near Clifden in County Galway, on the West coast of Ireland. The wing of the aircraft was damaged, but the two men were uninjured. For most of the journey, the airspeed indicator was out of order, because the pitot tube had broken, so Brown had to make his own estimate of the speed, and was able to take his bearings only four times, and only once when it was dark. It was eight years before the next non-stop flight was made. Six days after they landed, both men were knighted at Windsor Castle by King George V. On December 18th of that year, Alcock flew to Paris, France to exhibit a Vickers Viking amphibious aircraft, which was designed to alight on land or water, but was forced to land in a slight mist at Cote d'Evrard, about twenty miles from Rouen. The aircraft crashed slightly on its nose, and Alcock was thrown forward and sustained a fracture of the skull. He was taken to Rouen Hospital, but died without regaining consciousness. (bio by: Iain MacFarlaine) 
 
Burial:
Southern Cemetery
Chorlton-Cum-Hardy
Metropolitan Borough of Manchester
Greater Manchester, England
Plot: Section G, Lot 966
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Iain MacFarlaine
Record added: Mar 31, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10709883
John William Alcock
Added by: Ron Moody
 
John William Alcock
Added by: Iain MacFarlaine
 
John William Alcock
Added by: Iain MacFarlaine
 
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Every aviator needs a strong cup of coffee XO
- A Marine Wife
 Added: Jan. 20, 2015

- R I P
 Added: Jan. 18, 2015

- R I P
 Added: Dec. 18, 2014
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