Let three men set out in a boat from Ireland and the consequences are their own. Let the three whirl a propeller in the dim mist of an Irish morning, eat nibbly breakfasts, wave carefully courageous goodbyes and set off into the West as though frightened by the rising sun, and the wheels of the world are set churning with their own.
Hope, adventure, romance, work, love & hate, tragedy follow in the trail of their wake. The effect of their flight is felt in the farthest corners of civilization. To some it brings fame and money. To rivals it brings disappointment. To the daring it brings danger. To the glib it brings endless speeches. To one, needlessly, it brings death. To many, sorrow.
During those fretful days when two Germans and an Irishman bent over maps in the mess hall of Baldonnel Airdrome, little did they reck the possible consequences of their flight. Theirs at that moment must have been a single-tracked mind. They meant to fly from Dublin to New York; they were taking all the risks, facing the supreme danger with shining faces. They asked no man to do what they were doing.
Reporters, telegraphers, editors, printers were the first to feel the effect of their flight; to them it meant just another day of newspapers. Skippers of steamships next craned their necks, scanning the leaden skies for some sign of this fleeting Bremen.* But when Baron Ehrenfried Gunther von Huenefeld, Capt. Hermann Koehl and Maj. James C. Fitzmaurice dropped onto the frozen waste of Greenly Island in Southern Labrador, far off their expected course, they gave Lighthouse Keeper Le Tempier a torch with which to light the fires of the world.
A hurried tramp through the snow, excited taps on the key at Point Armour, and William Barrett transmitted word that the flyers had landed safely, first to cross the Atlantic by airplane from east to west. Erwin Stuart Davis, an amateur wireless operator of Manchester, N. H., caught the message, and gave it to the Associated Press for broadcasting.
With commendable enterprise, newspapers fought for airplanes. In amazing time, the first got through; C. A. ("Duke") Schiller and Dr. Louis Cuisinier risked their lives in the flight, almost as dangerous in that stormy maelstrom as the plunge across the Atlantic. More planes started up, with insanely jealous cameramen, writers, mechanics, until the frozen corner of Canada began to bulge.
The Hotel Savard, in snowy Murray Bay (La Malbaie, the French-Canadians call it) became jammed with men & women; two slept in a bed and cots filled up the dinky corridors, just as though a notorious murderer were to be tried. Sleighs were requisitioned, as recklessly as planes. More men, more money, were poured into the northland. ... In New York, hawkers sold flags and buttons, carpenters started building grandstands.
. . . In Beauceville, Quebec, a young girl wrote her first mashnote, to an Irishman.
. . . On the westward-bound liner Dresden Mrs. Koehl and Mrs. Fitzmaurice started an eventful voyage. . . .