One of Britain’s heroic failures

by
31 May 2019

May 30th, 1919.

THE tradition that the Englishman is phlegmatic is long a-dying, but the sight of King’s Cross and Regent-street on Tuesday evening was a signal proof to the contrary. The dense, orderly crowds, numbering certainly tens of thousands, who welcomed home Mr Hawker and Commander Grieve had reason to be enthusiastic. They had followed with keen interest the preparations for an enterprise which may in a year or two become commonplace, but in which the pioneers of today must be prepared to take the gravest risks. They had hoped until hope seemed idle during the days of silence which followed the start from St John’s, they had acclaimed with intense relief the news that the aviators had been picked up in the Atlantic. It was natural that the journey from Thurso should take on the character of a triumphal progress. We shall not object that the rejoicing was disproportionate to the achievement. The country may well rejoice that the men who have staked all to win for England the honour of being the first to fly the Atlantic have not lost their lives; the unsuccessful flight was one of those high failures which overleap the bounds of low successes, and the King expressed the mind of his people in conferring decorations upon those who made it. We hope that the Danish seamen who effected the rescue with real skill and at no little risk will have due recognition, and we note with appreciation the generous sympathy of the American Press during the anxious days of last week and the rejoicings of this week.

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