Bleriot and his plane at Dover.
The first person to fly the English Channel
in an aeroplane was a Frenchman called Louis Bleriot. The
flight took place on 25 July 1909 and won Bleriot a prize
of £1,000 from the Daily Mail. An earlier attempt five days
earlier, by Englishman Herbert Latham, had ended when he had
ditched in the sea.
Bleriot, a motorcar headlamp manufacturer, had injured his
foot and walked to his plane with the aid of crutches. He
took off at 4.37am and, guided by smoke from a French destroyer,
he spotted St Margaretís Bay. Turning towards Dover he was
caught by the wind and made a crash landing in Northfall Meadow,
behind the Castle
breaking the undercarriage and propeller. The whole journey
had taken 20 minutes.
A memorial in the form of a stone silhouette of Bleriotís
plane is set into the ground at the place where he landed.
The Bleriot Memorial.