A TRAFFORD man who piloted the first ever non-stop transatlantic flight a century ago, has been honoured for his bravery.

A commemorative plaque has been unveiled in memory of Captain Sir John Alcock, who flew over 2,000 miles from Newfoundland, Canada to Clifden, Ireland in June 1919.

The blue plaque was unveiled at a ceremony at the daring pilot's former school in Heaton Chapel, Stockport on Wednesday, July 18.

The tribute was sponsored by Manchester Airport as part of its 80th birthday celebrations and it is hoped it will inspire young people in the area to pursue a career in aviation.

Sir John was born in Basford House in Seymour Grove, Stretford in 1892. He served in the RAF during the First World War, where he led bombing raids on Constantinople.

After one daring raid, Sir John 's engine failed near Gallipoli.

He courageously continued flying on a single engine for more than 60 miles, before that engine failed and the aircraft ditched into the sea.

Sir John and his comrades were unable to attract nearby British destroyers, and when the plane finally began to sink they swam for over an hour to reach the enemy-held shore.

Sir John was captured next day by the Turkish forces, where he remained prisoner of war until the Armistice a year later.

After retiring from the Royal Air Force in March 1919, he returned to his hometown as a test pilot for Metropolitan Vickers.

Working at the Trafford Park engineering firm, Sir John was inspired to take up the challenge of being the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic.

Sir John's transatlantic adventure was to become legendary.

Messenger Newspapers:

Captain Sir John Alcock (right) with Sir Arthur Whitten Brown. The pair were the first men to fly non-stop across the Atlantic in 1919.

He piloted the flight, alongside Sir Arthur Whitten Brown, in a bid to win a lucrative £10,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail newspaper for the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic.

The hair-raising flight was affected by bad weather, turbulence and instrument failure soon after the intrepid duo took off from St John’s, Newfoundland on June 14, 1919.

But the pair survived and landed near Clifden, Ireland over 16 hours later.

A few days after the flight both Alcock and Brown were knighted by King George V at Windsor Castle.

Hailed as an hero upon his return to Trafford, he died just six months later in an air crash in France.

On December 18, 1919, Sir John was piloting a new Vickers amphibious aircraft, the Vickers Viking, to an aeronautical exhibition in Paris when he crashed in fog near Rouen in Normandy.

Sir John suffered a fractured skull and never regained consciousness.

He is buried in Southern Cemetery, close to his Stretford birthplace.