A FLAMBOYANT showman who pioneered flight in the UK will be remembered today in the Merseyside field where he crash landed 100 years ago.
Colonel Samuel Cody, the first man to conduct a powered flight in Britain, aborted an attempt to fly non-stop between Liverpool and Manchester on December 29, 1909.
He set off from Aintree Racecourse at 12.16pm but, hindered by thick fog, he landed on Eccleston Hill, St Helens, close to Prescot at 12.37pm.
Now, 100 years later, his historic flight is going to be re-traced by pilot Martin Keen, of Liverpool Flying School, who will fly in his original Tiger Moth plane and land in the same field where a commemorative plaque will be unveiled.
Chris Coffey, secretary of St Helens Heritage Network, said: “Cody was the first man to fly over St Helens and the first to fly a plane in Britain; he was a legendary aviation pioneer.
“Originally from the USA, the first mention of Cody in Britain is when he brought his touring Wild West show, The Klondyke Nugget, to the Theatre Royal, in St Helens.
“He used to play a villain and styled himself on Buffalo Bill. He would plunge 15ft into a chasm on stage and fire pistols in an exciting stage show which had thrilled audiences across the country. But, less than a week into his run at the Theatre Royal in 1899, it burnt down and he lost all his props.”
He added: “The Wright brothers are credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first flight, on December 17, 1903. The first flight in Europe was in 1906, but it was not until 1908 that the feat was achieved in Britain, at Farnborough, by Cody, in a machine he had made himself, the Nulli Secundus.