Royal Aero Club - Blog

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The Transatlantic Flight of Hawker & Mackenzie-Grieve
Well before WWI, the Daily Mail was planning to offer a prize of £10,000 for the first successful flight to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Within days after the end of WWI, the wartime ban on the Atlantic race was lifted, and the Daily Mail renewed its offer of £10,000. Four entrants made their way to Newfoundland, to attempt a West to East crossing. 100 years ago today, on 18 May 1919, Harry Hawker and Kenneth Mackenzie-Grieve set off (below) to fly a Sopwith modified B1 (bomber) aeroplane. However, they had to ditch part way and were picked up by the Danish ship SS “Mary”. Interestingly, Hawker’s ’plane did not sink and was retrieved by a passing American steamer and brought to England. The Trust’s collection includes a photograph of the wrecked machine (above) - taken when it was displayed on the roof of Selfridge’s store - as well as a portrait painting of Mackenzie-Grieve.