Welcome to Wilfred Salmon and the first blitz

November 30th 2017 marks the centenary of the first flight of the Vickers Vimy, a plane that would go into aviation history as the first to cross the Atlantic in 1919.

It was designed and built by Vickers in Crayford with the aim of creating a plane that could bomb Berlin and seek revenge for what Londoners came to call the First Blitz.

Few people realise that the impetus to build this revolutionary plane also has a link to the local area. It arose from the death of a brave Australian RFC pilot, 2nd Lt Wilfred Salmon, who took off from Vickers’ airfield at Joyce Green to take on an armada of 22 Gotha bombers single handed.

His Sopwith Pup crashed in Crayford at Slade Green on July 7th 1917. Salmon’s demise came at the end of a deadly raid over central London, that prompted the formation of the Royal Air Force, the Royal family to change their name and the commissioning of a plane that could seek revenge, the Vickers Vimy.