Statue Honouring Pioneers of Flight Unveiled at Brooklands Museum

11 February 2020

The historic Alcock and Brown statue commemorating the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic over 100 years ago is unveiled at Brooklands Museum, Surrey by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

The unveiling took place in front of a special crowd of local dignitaries and people connected with the inaugural flight, including the niece and nephew of Sir John Alcock; Anne and Anthony Alcock. The statue, along with a commemorative plaque, was unveiled by HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO, Royal Patron of the museum.

Between the 14th and 15th June 1919, Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown became the first people to successfully fly across the Atlantic non-stop. This historic crossing was made from Newfoundland, Canada to Clifden, Ireland in a Vickers Vimy biplane, built at Brooklands.

Anthony Alcock, nephew of Sir John Alcock recalled the early career of his uncle and the friendship that formed between Alcock and Sir Arthur Whitton Brown. He said:

“Their time spent together at Brooklands was such a happy and rewarding time of their lives. The statue of these intrepid aviators is symbolic of their partnership and I’m delighted it has finally been reunited with Brooklands. It completes the Vimy story at Brooklands Museum.”

Anne Alcock, niece of Sir John Alcock said:

“I attended the first unveiling of the statue at Heathrow Airport in 1954 and so I’m pleased to be here today and see the statue standing in such an important and special place such as Brooklands. “

A statue of the pilots was commissioned by the British Government and created by sculptor William McMillen.  It was unveiled at London’s Heathrow Airport in 1954. Since the centenary last year of that ground-breaking flight, the statue has been part of the celebrations in Ireland and is now at Brooklands, the home of British aviation and the site where over 2,500 Wellington bombers and 3,000 Hawker Hurricanes were built.

Chris Garton, COO of Heathrow Airport said:

“We’re all really pleased the statue has moved here, to Brooklands, the birthplace of aviation. It’s the rightful place for it and hopefully, it will be here for many years, if not forever. It’s been great working with Brooklands Museum to move the statue here, and I’m looking forward to building on the collaboration between Heathrow Airport and Brooklands Museum. “

The museum’s exhibition dedicated to this chapter in aviation history called The First to the Fastest features the museum’s own replica Vimy aircraft which itself, has re-enacted the three pioneering Vimy flights that originally took place shortly after the First World War – to Australia, South Africa and across the Atlantic. It has been seen in air shows and is still maintained in ground-running order by a dedicated team of museum staff and volunteers.