On This Day
1924 – The first aerial circumnavigation is completed by a team from the US Army.
The first aerial circumnavigation of the world was completed in 1924 by four aviators from an eight-man team of the United States Army Air Service, the precursor of the United States Air Force. The 175-day journey covered over 26,345 miles (42,398 km). The team generally traveled east to west, around the northern-Pacific Rim, through to South Asia and Europe and back to the United States. Airmen Lowell H. Smith and Leslie P. Arnold, and Erik H. Nelson and John Harding Jr. made the trip in two single-engined open-cockpit Douglas World Cruisers (DWC) configured as floatplanes for most of the journey. Four more flyers in two additional DWC began the journey but their aircraft crashed or were forced down. All airmen survived.
In 1930, Australian Charles Kingsford Smith with a team of three others completed the first circumnavigation of the world by flight traversing both hemispheres, including the first trans-Pacific flight, from the US to Australia, in 1928. Kingsford Smith flew a Fokker F.VIIb/3m trimotor monoplane.
Born On This Day
1868 – Evelyn Beatrice Hall, English writer best known for her biography of Voltaire, and wrote under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre (d. 1956)
Evelyn Beatrice Hall (28 September 1868 – 13 April 1956),[Note 1] who wrote under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre, was an English writer best known for her biography of Voltaire entitled The Life of Voltaire, first published in 1903. She also wrote The Friends of Voltaire, which she completed in 1906.
In The Friends of Voltaire, Hall wrote the phrase: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” as an illustration of Voltaire’s beliefs. This quotation – which is sometimes misattributed to Voltaire himself – is often cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech.
Hall was born on 28 September 1868 in Shooter’s Hill, Kent, the second of the four children of the Reverend William John Hall (1830–1910), Minor Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, and Isabella Frances Hall (née Cooper). Her elder sister, Ethel Frances Hall (1865–1943), married the writer Hugh Stowell Scott (pseudonym Henry Seton Merriman) in 1889. Evelyn Hall was to become an important influence in the life of her brother-in-law, with whom she co-authored two volumes of short stories, From Wisdom Court (1893) and The Money-Spinner (1896). Upon his death in 1903, Scott left £5,000 to Hall, writing that it was “in token of my gratitude for her continued assistance and literary advice, without which I should never have been able to have made a living by my pen”.
Hall never married, and died in Wadhurst, East Sussex, on 13 April 1956, aged 87.[Note 1]
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