A remarkable Trowbridge man who was aboard the first ever flight from Scotland to New York is being honoured with a talk on his life with the Navy and RAF.

Jack Northeast was born in Trowbridge in 1900. He was enlisted in the RNAS Navy in January 1918 and was one of the founder members of the RAF in April 1918.

Air Craftsman Northeast was an engineer on the historic R34 Atlantic flight. He lived in Trowbridge all his life and died in 1976. Jack’s achievements were celebrated in Trowbridge on many RAF anniversaries, but he never married, nor had children and this may be why his story has been forgotten. Now a historian has dug deep into the history books, and Wiltshire Times archive to celebrate the true picture of his life and achievements. Jack was living in Yerbury Street, Trowbridge at the time and was on board the first ever Atlantic flight, the R34 on July 2 1919.

The 3,000 nautical mile flight from Scotland to New York took 108 hours and used 97 per cent of available fuel.

On board was Lt. Com. Zachery Lansdowne, a representative of the U.S. Navy battlecruisers, HMS Renown and Tiger, were sent to provide weather forecasts along the route. Half way across a stowaway was discovered, with a cat named Wopsie. Entertainment on board was provided by a gramophone player. Tea and hot drinks were made on an exhaust pipe ‘cooker’ fitted to the forward engine

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at Mineola Airfield in New York to see the airship touch down.

After three days of being feted in New York, the R34 set off on the return leg which took 77 hours, landing at RAF Pulham in Norfolk

Damage caused on a training flight prevented the R34 from being the first air transport to cross the Atlantic. Alcock and Brown crossed from Canada to Ireland in June 1919. Dr Lucy Marten and the Yerbury Street Residents History Group rediscovered the story of Jack and his exploits when they were researching the histories of some of the houses in their street. If you have memories of Jack contact julia.corbett@newsquest.co.uk

She will present the story Trowbridge Town Hall on June 12 at 7pm. Entry is free.