Aviation History Newfoundland & Labrador

Alcock and Brown

by Gary Hebbard, Journalist and Aviation Enthusiast

On June 14, 1919, two young British fliers took off from a hastily prepared field in St. John’s, Newfoundland and, 16 hours later landed in an Irish bog, the nose of their flimsy flying machine buried in the soft mud of Ireland. Astonished by the site, many never having seen a flying machine before, some onlookers refused to believe that they had just flown nonstop across the unforgiving North Atlantic Ocean to arrive safely.

Brushing themselves off after a long, cold and often dangerous journey, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown, late of the Royal Air Force, hastened to assure their skeptical countrymen that, indeed, they had just reduced time to cross the stretch of ocean that, at best, could be crossed by ship in a matter of days, to a matter of hours. As quoted by aviation writer and historian Brendan Lynch in his book by the same name, the two earnestly insisted…”Yesterday We Were in America.”